It comes to no surprise that this summer’s radio airwaves were dominated by up and coming star The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye).
Many found it difficult to change radio stations without hearing the Michael Jackson infused “Can’t Feel My Face” or the bass heavy “The Hills.” Notably, both songs are currently on the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100.
With summer coming to a close, the Weeknd released his sophomore album “BBTM,” which is arguably one of the best R&B albums of the year.
“BBTM” marks a huge landmark for The Weeknd, as it is hisfirst step into mainstream music.
The album consists of songs that take after modern R&B, but also ones that have The Weeknd’s signature dark and moody atmosphere that fans know from his “House of Balloons” and “Echoes of Silence” days.
“BBTM” also has the most musical features of all The Weeknd’s work. He brought along singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, alternative artist Lana Del Rey, and British singer Labrinth to add some flavor to his much-anticipated album.
Most remarkably, this album shows a softer and, at times, more loving version of The Weeknd than his fans are use to.
Songs like “Earned It,” show him being willing to love and to work for affection. “You make it look like it’s magic/‘cause I see nobody/nobody but you,” he croons in the more romantic song.
“As You Are” depicts choosing an emotionally hurt woman, and accepting her for being herself. “Show me your broken heart / and all your scars / baby I’ll take you as you are,” he sings over a smooth synth.
It wouldn’t be an album from The Weeknd without songs about drugs and sex. One of the album’s highlights is the Kanye West co-produced “Tell Your Friends,” in which he sings about being reckless and braggadocios. He is blunt about the things he is known for: “I’m that n**** with the hair/singing ‘bout poppin’ pills / f***ing b***hes / living life so trill.” However, it’s that sense of confidence that appeals to listeners everywhere.
The track features a mellow beat that is sure to be a fan favorite.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the entire album is the dark and moody, guitar driven duet with Ed Sheeran called “Dark Times.”
The song is a story about late night drunken bar fights and failing to keep one’s promises. It paints the bleak picture of a man stuck in a bad part of his life, unable to move out of this moment in time.
“Drunk too much / you know what I’m like,” Ed Sheeran sings reinforcing the fact that he spends his nights out, causing trouble.
“In my dark times / I’ll be going back to these streets / promising everything I do not mean,” The Weeknd moans over the atmosphere set in by the guitar.
“BBTM” surpasses The Weeknd’s first album, “Kiss Land,” with ease. It is a more cohesive album that is sure to please both old fans and newcomers alike. There is something for every R&B loving enthusiast out there. The Weeknd is shaping the new ear of R&B with his unique voice and songwriting abilities.