After Starboy, fans of The Weeknd were left in the dark about the elusive figure’s actions. Relatively silent since his 2016 smash album, people hung on Abel’s every word, whether it was through features like “Pray For Me” with Kendrick Lamar and “Unfazed” off of Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage 2, or through his very public relationship with pop icon Selena Gomez.
Now, we have a substantial body of work from the man since we last saw him, and it is the best thing he’s done in a while. My Dear Melancholy, sounds like a open ended letter to a former lover, with it’s confessional lyrics and dynamic instrumentation that calls back to his first three EPs he released as the Trilogy.
The 6-track “album” opens with “Call Me By Your Name”, a song with an explosive chorus and sports several heartbreaking lines including “I almost cut a piece of myself for your life”. The song showcases The Weeknd’s amazing songwriting chops and ability to write slow burners with brilliant hooks.
The record then progresses to it’s poppier side with tracks “Try Me” and “Wasted Times”. It might just be me, but the vocal inflections in the beginning of “Try Me” are insanely catchy and something Weeknd excels at. These muffled vocals and the booming trap beat make it one of the most memorable songs on the record. The Weeknd also pushes his instrumentation with two collaborations with Gesaffelstein, who collaborated with Kanye West on Yeezus. His influence is apparent, with the better song of the two, “I Was Never There”, featuring a bombastic beat filled with steady 808s and a looming sound effect that sounds like a siren.
Although filled with great songs, a lot of the best moments on The Weeknd’s newest release are buried within sometimes boring songs. There are definitely highlights here, but I’m still waiting on Abel to put out something as iconic as the Trilogy.