Following his ground-breaking mixtape trilogy of 2011 – ‘House Of Balloons’, ‘Thursday’ and ‘Echoes Of Silence’, subsequently collected for commercial release as ‘Trilogy’ – was always going to be challenging for Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd.
While many fans will always prefer the rawness and originality of ‘House Of Balloons’, Tesfaye’s debut album ‘proper’, ‘Kiss Land’, invites us to an even darker world. And emerges from it triumphantly.
The subject matter focuses on tour life, the fame that the self-proclaimed camera-shy singer is now experiencing, and the horror that comes along with it. Accompanying the words, the formerly spacious production has been layered to become an epic, cinematic score.
Rather than upgrading to studio album status by hiring an all-star cast of contributors, ‘Kiss Land’ sticks to the familiar formula of 10 tracks, as per the mixtapes, with a single guest appearance from previous collaborator Drake.
Tesfaye hasn’t turned to gimmicks for ‘Kiss Land’. Instead, he’s managed to transcend his previous efforts via the scaling up the sonics and simply maintaining the quality of this excellent record.
Words: Grant Brydon
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