The Weeknd – Thursday
Given how stark and refreshing House of Balloons was, it’s not totally surprising that its follow up sort of came and went. “High For This” was just beginning to being circulated on Entourage commercials when Thursday dropped. The portions of the zeitgeist that House of Balloons managed to capture was paying attention just around the time Thursday came out. For those of us that had already been bumping HoB for months, Thursday landed with a tepid “whoa”. I don’t think there was an HoB fan on Earth who didn’t like it. It just lacked the stark, immediate freshness. It’s a tad less hazy than its druggy counterpart. The Birds Pt. 1 contains an unrelenting drum-corps stomp and the vocals are decidedly clearer. There’s a Drake verse tucked into this thing. But the departure doesn’t last long. It serves, if nothing else, to prove to us that Abel is perfectly capable of operating outside of HoB’s insular aesthetic(which he proves again on Drake’s Crew Love). And then, for much of Thursday, he largely returns to that aesthetic. And that’s fine with me.