Ranking The Weeknd’s albums as he says goodbye to iconic stage name

For many, their journey with The Weeknd began as early as 2011 with the release of his polarizing mixtape, House of Balloons. Some local folks might’ve caught the wave sooner, thanks to the leaked songs that didn’t make the final cut of House of Balloons (The Noise, for instance). Now, more than a decade later, you’d be one of the very few to admit you’ve never heard at least one Weeknd song. Even Guinness recognized the singer as statistically the world’s “most popular artist.” He’s virtually everywhere.

In May of 2023, The Weeknd spoke with W Magazine and told them “It’s getting to a place and a time where I’m getting ready to close the Weeknd chapter,” he revealed. “I’ll still make music, maybe as Abel, maybe as The Weeknd,” he continued. “But I still want to kill The Weeknd. And I will. Eventually. I’m definitely trying to shed that skin and be reborn.”

“The album I’m working on now is probably my last hurrah as The Weeknd. This is something that I have to do. As The Weeknd, I’ve said everything I can say.”

It is his last album as The Weeknd, the last album in the trilogy, and the end of the story.

IT HAS TO BE THE BEST ALBUM. pic.twitter.com/YUK0rTlnc7

— lucas メ𝟶 (@_lucasalcalde) May 8, 2023

Last album as The Weeknd?

— 𝑴𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒔𝒂 ☼ (@xomarissa__) May 8, 2023

It seems that we’re approaching the end of an absolutely transcendently harmonic, dark era that only Abel Tesfaye could provide. Despite spawning many soundalikes in the industry (think: Brent Faiyaz and Bryson Tiller),  no one could compare, and it’s extremely tough to add up to someone who on the other end receives Michael Jackson comparisons. This takes us to the purpose of this article; which is ranking the timeless albums bestowed upon listeners from Abel, The Weeknd, or whatever he decides on calling himself in the future.

7. Kiss Land

Kiss Land, The Weeknd’s debut album, often gets overlooked and undervalued. While fans and critics anticipated something different after his mixtapes, Kiss Land’s dark essence proved to be a fitting progression from his previous work. It’s a concept album that takes listeners on a fantastical journey through The Weeknd’s vision of a perfect world, delivered through cinematic tracks with unique song structures and vivid production. The album flows seamlessly, with some tracks transitioning into each other effortlessly. However, objectively speaking, Kiss Land isn’t necessarily better than his subsequent releases.

6. Starboy

Starboy marked The Weeknd’s move into the mainstream, showcasing an electro-pop sound and featuring hit collaborations with Daft Punk. It’s regarded as his most pop-oriented album yet, drawing comparisons to Michael Jackson. Underrated tracks such as Reminder, Attention, and Sidewalks ft. Kendrick Lamar are among the highlights of the Starboy era. However, despite its success, the album feels like a , prioritizing a sound that’s arguably The Weeknd’s weakest experiment.

5. Dawn FM

The Weeknd’s fifth album, Dawn FM, is an ambitious project that continues to explore the cinematic soundscapes that have become a hallmark of his later work. The album revolves around the concept of a radio station for the dead, playing 80s-inspired synth tunes for souls on their way to the afterlife. While there are standout tracks such as Best Friends, Is There Someone Else?, and Out of Time, the album falls short in terms of originality. The melodies feel borrowed from previous albums, and the hooks aren’t as strong or memorable as some of his past hits. Rather than showcasing Tesfaye’s performances, lyrics, or hooks, the production carries most of the weight. Despite this, the album provides a solid listening experience but doesn’t quite reach the level of his all-time best works.

Image Credit: theweeknd/Instagram

4. After Hours

After Hours is widely regarded as The Weeknd’s best major studio album to date, receiving high praise from critics who believe it to be a flawless album with no skippable tracks. It’s the perfect combination of his earlier mixtape sound and his more recent mainstream success. Notably, the album featured no collaborations and included the chart-topping hit single Heartless. Blinding Lights also made a huge impact and remains a fan favorite years after its release. After Hours stands out as one of The Weeknd’s strongest albums and could easily rank among his top works, although his overall catalog is already impressive.

3. My Dear Melancholy

What we have with My Dear Melancholy is The Weeknd revisiting the sound that many gravitated towards while he still released mixtapes. It’s a combination of House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence, only he condensed them into a perfect package of five songs. This album touches on his failed relationship with Selena Gomez and how he almost got surgery to help her. If you didn’t exactly know how melancholy felt or how to describe it properly, this EP is the epitome of the term. The only real downfall it has is that isn’t longer, but it certainly reminded fans of why they fell in love with Abel in the first place.

2. Beauty Behind the Madness

The Weeknd’s second album, Beauty Behind the Madness, marked his entry into the pop music world while retaining his unique style. The record’s balance between genres is impressive, making it popular among both old and new fans. It features songs like “Acquainted” and “As You Are,” which blend R&B and pop seamlessly. “The Hills,” one of the album’s standout tracks, is so good that it became a pop hit on its own. Beauty Behind the Madness strikes the perfect balance between significant artistic expression and mainstream appeal.

Image Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

1. Trilogy

It wouldn’t feel right not to place Trilogy at the top spot. While it’s the combination of his first three mixtape releases remastered with three bonus tracks added, it consists of everything that created die-hard Weeknd fans. House of Balloons helped usher in a new wave of R&B artists and had Drake trying extremely hard to sign Abel to his OVO label (that didn’t work out well). Thursday was an even darker follow-up to House of Balloons, but Echoes of Silence was the darkest. It was smart to have Trilogy technically be his first studio album release because some fans weren’t hip to the early version of The Weeknd. With 30 tracks, you can play this back and you’ll enter a musical world from long ago.

The post Ranking The Weeknd’s albums as he says goodbye to iconic stage name appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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