If you were expecting any new pop hits from Abel Tesfaye in his new album, “My Dear Melancholy,”, do not hold your breath. With this new album, The Weeknd seems to have no plans to release hit after hit just for the sake of topping the music charts. In contrast to his previous hit studio albums Starboy and Beauty Behind the Madness, The Weeknd returns to his roots and encapsulates both the thrill and downfall of love and heartbreak in “My Dear Melancholy,”. However, don’t be surprised when you start to yawn halfway through the record out of disinterest.
Despite being a long-time supporter of Tesfaye’s music, I was disappointed by his new album. Although “My Dear Melancholy,” heavily reflects the aesthetics of his iconic triple-disk record Trilogy, The Weeknd’s musical sound became extremely boring and repetitive over the course of the songs, especially in regards to lyricism. “I want you to stay, even though you don’t want me.” Come on, I think I’ve heard the same lyrics over and over again throughout my life, and a quarter of them come from The Weeknd himself. Though “My Dear Melancholy,” attempts to give homage to the album that created The Weeknd’s artistic identity and significance, he is counterproductively wearing out the concept that once seemed so essential to his artistry.
Continuing on the topic of lyricism, the themes discussed in the record are no surprise. On top of the symbolism of sex, drugs, and impulsive love, the album touches upon tragic heartbreak and depression. However, these themes are not new to The Weeknd—they’re almost an essential part of him. While they are important constituents of his music and demonstrate how he added depth into the world of R&B, the overused love letters about depression, thrill, and sex have expired with each song beginning to sound like a duplicated version of the previous.
On the other hand, there are a couple of tracks that do stand out from the rest of the album. “Call Out My Name” focuses more on Tesfaye’s ability as a vocalist rather than merely depending on the techno-R&B sound that enhances each record. This song specifically manifests a raw and authentic sound, one of the biggest reasons why Trilogy was such a memorable album. Additionally, a personal favorite of mine in “My Dear Melancholy,” is definitely “Wasted Times”: the song incorporates all the perfect elements of raw vocals and electronic soul. Particularly in this track, Tesfaye is able to not only go back to his roots from the beginning of his mainstream career, but also display the development of his artistry throughout the years until now.
Purely based on the music alone, “My Dear Melancholy,” is fantastic, as it has all the components to an amazing album. However, as fans have seen how much The Weeknd has been able to grow as an artist and all the possibilities that he brings to the music world, the album was a letdown, hindering the potential for listeners to truly grasp the growth he achieved over time.