The Weeknd does an incredible amount of drugs, and has an incredible amount of sex. Those themes resonate throughout his entire catalog, and of course are heavily included on the latest singles from his forthcoming album Starboy.
He released the album’s lead track “Starboy” in September, closely followed by '80s-inspired follow-up “False Alarm." Today (November 18), he dropped off two more singles, “Party Monster,” with an uncredited feature from Lana Del Rey and the Daft Punk-supported “I Feel It Coming.”
Indeed, drugs and sex pervade all the music we've now heard from his forthcoming LP, all of which also acknowledge Abel’s rise to superstardom. While the motif of fame is more pronounced on his first two singles—“Starboy” is an ode to his celebrity and “False Alarm” is a tribute to his materialistic wealth—it’s more nuanced on this second set of tracks.
Surprisingly, “Party Monster” and “I Feel It Coming” show personal growth and understanding.
Still, on “Party Monster,” we get the typical, debaucherous Abel: After a long night of partying, he wakes up next to a girl whose name he doesn’t know. But he’s distrustful of this woman, and, as Del Rey sings, his lifestyle is making him paranoid. Although the song indicates that Abel might be distancing himself from relationships, he might only be doing so now because he’s taking his fame into account. As the more trap-tinged, club-oriented effort of the two, "Party Monster" hits hard.
Abel then does a 180 on “I Feel It Coming,” both sonically and lyrically, where he takes a moment to explore ideas about love and relationships. He sings, “You've been scared of love and what it did to you / You don't have to run, I know what you've been through," overtop a gloriously light and funky backdrop, and supported by the mechanism crooning of his French duo collaborators.
In some ways “Party Monster” and “I Feel It Coming” stand at odds with each other, and yet they are also cohesive. At this point, we’ve been given the first three tracks from the album and the very last song, which begs the question: What’s in the middle? Perhaps Starboy will show a chronological evolution, from the moment Abels declares himself a superstar, undergoes revelations about his lifestyle, and finally realizes—as corny as it is—that love is really all he wants. What we do know is that Abel already has a stack of records on his new album that sound like hits, and we can't wait to hear the rest.
By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.