The Weeknd returns to his old style on “My Dear Melancholy”

The Weeknd has almost returned to his old self with “My Dear Melancholy.”

About a month before The Weeknd dropped “My Dear Melancholy,” Travis Scott’s tweet already got fans of the “old” Weeknd excited.

When The Weeknd released “House of Balloons,” “Thursday,” and “Echoes of Silence” in 2011, he was a gripping mystery.
His first songs, which center around depression, nihilism, sex, and drug use, have a distinct, almost heart-wrenching mood. As he has entered the limelight and mainstream music, The Weeknd has become more pop-oriented. “Starboy,” which brought the Weeknd radio hits like “Party Monster” and “Starboy,” was criticized for its manufactured songs. His songs started to sound devoid of emotion, estranged from his old music. In his new six-song EP, “My Dear Melancholy,” The Weeknd has returned to the art house vibe— the hazy, dark, and alluring music that made him unique. The title of the EP itself could be alluding to his “Melancholy,” the style of music which his success was rooted in. Pitchfork calls the title “a love letter to the aesthetic past he left behind.”

Like “Trilogy,” “My Dear Melancholy” is sample-heavy, downtempo R&B. On “Try Me,” my personal favorite on the EP, The Weeknd cries out, “Are you alone, baby? If he ain’t around, pick up your phone, baby.” You can imagine him desperately yearning for a love interest during the late night, a similar mood to “Echoes of Silence,” or “XO/ The Host.”

While “My Dear Melancholy” resembles “Trilogy,” the Weeknd added more of his new style by incorporating electronic beats. Gesaffelstein, the French techno artist who worked on Kanye’s “Yeezus,” collaborates with The Weeknd on “Hurt You” and “I Was Never There.” The beat on “Hurt You” is almost identical to the beat on “I Feel It Coming.” “I Was Never There” has a more original sound, with an eerie ring punctuated by 808 drums.

Whether The Weeknd has really shifted away from his mainstream pop style, or this EP is just The Weeknd making a few songs that resemble his old style, “My Dear Melancholy” is definitely worth a listen.

Click here to listen.

Beatrix Geaghan-Breiner is a senior and this is her first year writing for the Chronicle. She is interested in writing music reviews and opinions. Beatrix is looking forward to writing about M-A and learning more in the process.

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