Returning with his third mix-tape and the finale to his trilogy of previous releases House of Balloons and Thursday, R&B project The Weeknd is back with his most mature, well-produced and daring release: Echoes of Silence.
This, without question, could be The Weeknd’s most recommendable release yet by a long-shot. Where House of Balloons was an experimental R&B release, there was a slight requirement to keep an open mind and a bit of patience to appreciate the complexities of the album. On Echoes of Silence, we’re given a perfectly structured mix-tape where old and new fans can fall into The Weeknd’s immersion and intoxication almost immediately.
The mix-tape opens with “D.D.”, a phenomenal cover of Michael Jackson’s classic pop track “Dirty Diana”. Comparisons between The Weeknd and Jackson have always floated around, but this cover blows all possibilities way out of the water. The Weeknd gorgeously updates the 80’s hit, honoring it with a bold musical treatment by building bigger, darker and sadder beats along with a production style that’d give Nine Inch Nails a run for their money. It almost seems like The Weeknd even goes so much to improve on Jackson’s version by giving a focus on the storytelling where Jackson only used it as a vehicle for his abundant style. The Weeknd keeps both style and substance intact, and then some. It’s such an accurate cover, I could put money on the fact that if you played it for your parents, they’d think it was an unreleased Michael Jackson B-side or a remix of the original.
The rest of the album glides through with all of the elements The Weeknd is known for while also presenting a lot of new themes and ideas. The romance found in the lyrics is devastatingly sadder, mournful and gorgeously decaying. The drugs, the nightlife, the alcohol, are now a realized evil. There is an overshadowing darkness that gives everything the past two Weeknd releases were about a mirror to show how horrifying the party really was. By being the most mature mix-tape out of the three, Echoes of Silence makes sure not to make past releases seem inferior. Instead, it gives all of the Weeknd’s work a certain closure, making the themes come full circle and seem like it had been liked this all along; right from the release of House of Balloons. It was almost like reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the succession between the two series are similar.
This release alone not only works as the most successful Weeknd release that can be appreciated individually, but also credits the past two releases dramatically and places it in a more interesting context.
House of Balloons welcomes to the party of your life while warning you of the dangerous and intimidating high you’re about to encounter. Thursday explores the experience and provides the wishful thinking associated with that high. Echoes of Silence is what it feels like the morning after. The painstaking reality, the pain, the sadness, the sorrow, the regret of everything you just went through. You want to experience this. I don’t suggest you wait. It’s a critical musical experience for our generation for this year.
This album was my dad. (10/10)
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