Review: The Weeknd – ‘Thursday’ (Mixtape)

In an era where mixtapes are a dime a dozen and usually thrown together without any true concept or appropriate progression, Abel Tesfay, better known as The Weeknd,  stunned the R&B game in late March with his debut mixtape House of Balloons. The 21-year-old Canadian singer/songwriter wasted no time dropping his next project Thursday. In clever fashion The Weeknd dropped an image for the mixtape Wednesday night, which set his fans into frenzy. All day fans just like me sat around patiently waiting for Thursday and when it dropped around 11pm that night The Weeknd’s website subsequently crashed. It stayed down for a considerable amount of time proving that he’s already gained a substantial following off of only one mixtape and co-signs from Drake.

Unfortunately with such high expectations and a pretty good new mixtape, The Weeknd’s Thursday could not surpass the perfection of House of Balloons. Yet, Thursday still delivers a quality of songwriting and harmonizing that I’ve yet to find on many studio albums never mind a free mixtape.

After 5 or 6 hours of listening to Thursday since late Thursday night, three songs definitely have stood out to me as instant-classic material. Oddly enough two of the favorites were the singles from the mixtape, “Rolling Stone” and “The Birds Part 1”. With Rolling Stone, Doc McKinney and Illangelo, the producers responsible for the whole project, use an ingenious acoustic remix of Andre Nickatina’s Ayo For Yayo, which plays right into the theme of the song. A rolling stone’, which refers to smoking weed while rolling on ecstasy, is the basic idea of the song, but The Weeknd also sings of a girl he hopes will love him before he’s famous. He sings, “Cause getting faded too long/ Got me on this rolling stone/ So I take another hit/ Kill another serotonin/ With a hand full of beans/ And a chest full of weed/ Got me singing bout a bitch”. With an ill beat and even realer lyrics, Rolling Stone stands out as a one of my new Weeknd favorites.

The second single, The Birds Part 1, The Weeknd confesses, “Don’t make me make you fall in love/ Don’t make me make you fall in love with a nigga like me/ Nobody needs to fall in love/ I swear I’m just a bird/ Girl, I’m just another bird.” In true Weeknd fashion, this song touches on everything from rolling on X to admitting to a girl that he’s just a typical guy looking for sex and to not let his romantic voice fool her. This kind of realness and raw emotion that The Weeknd emits into every song makes his music very different and very inspiring to music lovers, and this is no exception with both singles from the mixtape.

The third favorite would have to go to “The Zone”, which includes a feature from fellow Canadian and {ovoxo} member Drake and in my opinion the second hottest beat on the whole mixtape. Together the two Canadian artists create a song worthy of back to back to back listens. Based solely on the love of strippers and syrup, the duo produced a song that undoubtedly gets and holds your attention. And it’s clearly obvious after one listen Drake elevated his game to grace the song with one of his better verses recently. Drake raps, “Woah, all these broken hearts on that pole/ Man if pole dancing’s an art you know how many fuckin’ artists I know.” He continues the verse with a shout out to his hometown and his new team, which now includes The Weeknd x XO, “And I do this shit for my hometown, it been going down, it ain’t new/ That’s that north north, that up top/ That OVO and that XO/ Your girlfriend at our next show.”

Although Thursday isn’t as good all-around as House of Balloons, The Weeknd undoubtedly dropped another mixtape that will turn the R&B game upside-down. Hopefully The Weeknd will be around making this type of music for a long time because it’s remarkably refreshing. It you haven’t gotten the mixtape yet here’s the link: The Weeknd – ‘Thursday’.

Rating: 8/10

by Arik Braxton… follow me @callmebraxton

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