I am going to brag a little here because I predicted that “I Can’t Feel My Face” would be a huge hit on the day it was released. Just ask Tom, our music director.
He and I had a disagreement about the merits of the song. He waited a week or two to add it to our charts.
Just like I predicted the single is a smash hit. I also have to give props to my friend BERG in Detroit. He shared a mix tape with me a few years ago that introduced me to The Weeknd.
But this review is about the album “…Face” appears on. It was released on August 28 and immediately shot up the charts.
Beauty Behind The Madness
I listened to the whole album last week. That was before I hear these rumors. My first reaction was actually somewhat favorable. There are indeed a few great songs like “Real Life”, “Tell Your Friends”, ‘The Hills”, “Earned It” and “Dark Times”. Abel Tesfaye has a bad attitude and it often works well to produce some compelling music.
I am sorry to report that some of the songs on the album were not listenable. For one I hate autotune. “Acquainted” is just terrible. “Shameless” is autotuned to death and a bit of a yawner. “Often” is pretty much a trashy throw-away. There is, for sure, “filler” material on this album. Perhaps the evil record company rushed him to publish.
I found the over all mood of the album to be very dark. It seems to be a manifesto from a depressed and disturbed socio-path. Clearly a blend of fantasy and reality, the album paints a bleak image. I was left feeling worried for the mental health of the album’s author. He seems to think very lowly of himself. He is gleefully resentful to the irony of social justice, race, being an artist and an addict. The attitude seems to be something like.
Fuck you. Fuck me. Hear me call myself the N-Word over and over again. Fuck Love. Let’s fuck, drink, sniff coke, pop pills and die.
He honestly sounds suicidal to me. I took a look at the reviews posted to Amazon and found out that I am not alone. The word “suicidal” was used in several reviews.
I hope it’s all an act. If not, please man, get psychiatric help.
It is not lost on this writer that Halloween is approaching. If there was ever a time to release creepy videos its now. It’s seasonal! Tesfaye’s singing style is often compared to Michael Jackson. Jackson certainly had a smash hit video for ‘Thriller”. It seems like a logical place to go for The Weeknd.
Never the less, people are saying that the dude with the weird hair must have sold his soul to the Devil. The music videos for three songs on the album tells a story that begs the question.
The first video in the set is for to the song “The Hills”. Here we meat a character that seams to represent the devil.
After walking up a flight a stairs we find a creepy looking old guy grasping an apple in a very red room.People are saying that this symbolism establishes this old man character as the devil himself. He makes another appearance in the “I Can’t Feel My Face” Video.
Dude shows up on a crappy little stage in some dive bar. His dancing is awkward and sucks. Everybody at the bar seems bored. Then cut to this guy.
Just as soon as the devil lights up a cigarette, The Weeknd catches fire. I take this as symbolism. The Weeknd is sealing the pact with the devil as he catches fire. So does his career.
Now his dance moves are extra smooth and everyone in the audience is suddenly excited to see the performance. It’s an instant success. He then walks off stage, remaining on fire as the video ends. The next video in the series is to “Tell Your Friends”. It begins where “Face” leaves off. Something is on fire.
This time it’s a burning bush. That’s more symbolism. In the old testament, Moses spoke to God through a burning bush. Eventually we see him burying his own dead body. He finishes up and literally dances on his own grave. Holy shit!
The devil guy shows up again. Abel tries to shoot him. Moment’s later he seems to get a gift from the devil, a nice new car.
What does this represent? A nice new car is an important symbol in the Pop-Music Mythos. In nearly every movie about a band or musician that made good have a scene with the new car. It represents the beginning of a journey.
So did Mr Abel Tesfaye sell his innocent Canadian soul to the Devil? I certainly hope not. Either way it has become a genus publicity device. He gets points for being clever but it is certainly not original. Take for example the Legend of Robert Johnson.
According to legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Robert Johnson had a tremendous desire to become a great blues musician. He was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. There he was met by a large black man (actually the Devil) who took the guitar and tuned it. The Devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery of the instrument. This was in effect, a deal with the Devil mirroring the legend of Faust. In exchange for his soul, Robert Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous.
Please note that I borrowed a lot from the Vigilant Citizen article on the same topic. I mostly just stole the screen shots from them. They do offer their own interpretation, if you are curious.
[ review by Alex Velocity ]