The Weeknd drops unannounced EP My Dear Melancholy,
The Weeknd is back! Not that he was ever gone for long though. The R&B star released his last LP Starboy at the end of 2016, but kept releasing new material ever since. He appeared on Lana Del Rey’s ‘Lust For Life’ last year and worked with Kendrick Lamar on Black Panther soundtrack ‘Pray For Me’. Rumours started earlier this week that the Canadian star was about to release another single or album. Now it turns out to be the six track EP My Dear Melancholy,. That’s a very welcome surprise!
For the EP, The Weeknd worked together with producers Frank Dukes, Skrillex, Mike-Will-Made-It and Gesaffelstein. What we get as a result is a smooth, well produced EP that does feel less hit chasing than the Starboy record, but still packs some potential world smashes! The EP opens with ‘Call Out My Name’ which sounds like the love baby of his very own ‘Earned It’ and Rihanna’s ‘Love On The Brain’. The chorus is absolutely undeniable and so is The Weeknd’s belting. For once he puts himself in a more vulnerable role lyrically, singing about a love interest that was not as commited in their relationship as he was.
The rest of the tracks follow a narrative we are used to from The Weeknd. On the exquisitely produced ‘Try Me’, he tries to convince a girl he has a crush on to leave her man for him. On ‘Wasted Times’ he admits he wasted time sleeping with someone other than the woman he is still very much in love with. The production by Skrillex and Frank Dukes has got this late 90s early 00s nostalgia, the golden days of DarkChild, in the production. ‘I Was Never There’ is dominated by a siren like sound in the intro and serves us the most out of the box production. The transition towards the bridge and outro with a complete change of pace is stunning. The Weeknd delivers his best vocals of the EP here too.
As The Weeknd Beyoncé’ed this collection of songs into our lives, we will have to wait and see if he actually plans the promotion of singles, but if he does, ‘Hurt You’ seems an obvious choice. This track probably serves the most poppy chorus and is closest to Starboy production wise. At the same time, the lyrics about not wanting to hurt a girl that is falling in love with him, but still wanting to share the bed with her, are a bit too ‘The Weeknd by the numbers’. He ends the EP on a high with ‘Privilege’, the most stripped back tune out of the bunch. The lyrics about taking the pain away with pills are rather dark and the way the track is built, it serves as a perfect outro.
The Weeknd dropped a perfectly consistent and coherent body of work that is a welcome addition to his discography. Production wise he dares to think out of the box here and the whole EP seems less aimed at radio hits. The Weeknd is big enough of a name these days to pull off the surprise release generating hype as promo. Oh, and the comma at the end of the title suggests a second part might come soon enough!