(Image via DreamR Magazine)
Pier 7 is really picking up their game this year as they bring in some pretty huge acts from across the globe. On Wednesday, June 4 they'll bring in Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, for the first stop in his quick MidEast tour. XO diehards will surely be lining up to get a shot at seeing the mystery man perform live. Cultivating a loyal following, the Toronto native is the silky smooth vocal half of OVOXO with fellow Canadian, Drake. For those who know and love him, for those who have heard a few of his sultry tracks here and there, and for those who are about to become obsessive fans, here are ten tunes you should all listen to before you see the legend in person.
This song combines some of the most common elements found in The Weeknd's music: sex, drugs, lost love, and misogyny. His mournful lyrics in "Wicked Games" lure you in with soft instrumentals. It's called bedroom music for a reason.
High For This
"High For This" was boosted to mainstream madness after up-and-comer Ellie Goulding dropped a very pop-y mainstream version of it in 2012. Forget you ever heard it and go for the original. You won’t be disappointed.
House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls
A popular favorite for its two-song mashup, "House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls" will have you pressing the replay button just so you can memorize the lyrics. Word of advice: the song is perfect for those long, late-night drives to nowhere. A little longer than the norm at seven minutes, the song changes drastically three and a half minutes in to take a dark twist and turn, like the bad trip he sings about.
This one’s the most blatant drug reference after "High For This," with "Twenty Eight" signifying the number of grams in an ounce of narcotics. It simultaneously alludes to the effect Tesfaye’s music has on his loyalists who swear by its high-inducing abilities. Added as an extra track to his album, Trilogy, featuring mostly pre-released mixtapes, the song highlights his growing worry over how mainstream he was becoming, a fact that frightened the musician and producer.
"Lonely Star" takes you on a conversation with his latest target of desire, a woman. Tesfaye implores her to ditch her friends and come home with him, as he can offer her everything she wants, and make her his star. Excerpts of a female voice respond, accepting, and proclaim a dedication to The Weeknd every Thursday, eponymously the original title of the mixtape.
"Next" is a dark turn down regret’s darkened alleys and tells the story of his constant battle with fame. Similar in context to "Twenty Eight," it highlights the abundance of leeching women that surround him just because he’s the "Next" big thing. Listen to this just for the chorus, delivered in a sombre, almost tearful whisper.
After three mixtapes, came The Weeknd’s first legitimate foray into studio albums. Suffice it to say that the new direction served him well, and the change of pace was probably best embodied by the lead track, "Professional." You’ll notice the cleaner cuts all over the track as he weaves a tale of entertainer and consumer, likening it to being with a prostitute. Very literally labelled as sex music, "Professional" is the The Weeknd doing what he does best.
Last but most definitely not least off of the Kiss Land album came "Odd Look," featuring French house mixer Kavinsky. The marriage between a catchy house tune and melancholy lyrics and delivery of PBR&B brings forth a work of art unmatched. Let go to the ebb and flow of the sounds, and don't think it's a betrayal to his signature style - the unique vocals leave no doubt who it is that’s in control.
Wanderlust (Pharrell Remix)
An undeniable force majeure in modern music has been the super-producer, Pharrell Williams, so suffice it to say that his touch on the "Wanderlust" remix makes it all the better. Much closer to typical R&B than usual, it’s become something of a sing-along to most fans, and the catchy nature of it will have you belting out the lyrics as well.
Drunk In Love (The Weeknd Remix)
Just about anyone with an internet connection and a pair of earphones has heard the Beyoncé hit, but prepare to enjoy one that, dare I say it, is even better than Queen Bey’s. Written to represent the male perspective to Knowles’ hip shaking ode, The Weeknd enhances the duplicated beat with his typical style and dirty lyrics, transforming a love ballad to one about alcohol-fueled adventures. Once you’re done with this one, go all the way home with The Weeknd’s remix for "Or Nah" for full effect.
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