October 10, 2011

Sach O had a rough weekend.

House of Balloons may very well top my personal year end list – a stunning occurrence that simultaneously defies all conventional logic yet somehow still makes perfect sense in my musical universe. On one hand, the melodrama of contemporary R&B isn’t my bag, I’m perpetually stuck in the early aughts when it comes to that genre (hold tight Aaliyah, Ashanti, Brandy, 112, Jagged Edge…) but on the other, The Weeknd twists things just enough to capture my interest. Call it Hipster&B if you want, breaking genre rules never sounded so good. The other aspect that grabs me is the sheer tragi-comic aspect of Tesfaye’s songwriting – an element not many critics have picked up on. Yes, his songs are creepy but they’re also imbued with the humor of someone who spent many an evening studying R. Kelly and more importantly – they’re rooted in truth. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing but I see the stories in these songs played out on a weekly basis in Montreal clubs…which would be sad if it wasn’t so god damn funny (both in song form and in real life.) In other words, fuck the Drake comparisons, we need a Rick Ross collabo, stat.

The newest track to leak from the singer/collective features a notable Dubstep influence, which means I’m required by law to post it. Cannily stealing pitch-shifted R&B vocals back from James Blake, Tesfaye and Co. paint a paranoid portrait over a stark half-step beat that lurches into broken beat territory yet still feels like the logical continuation of the group’s output. Drugs, paranoia, cartoonish vocals and evil breakbeats…actually I’m not surprised that I enjoy this at all.

The Weeknd – Initiation by The_Weeknd

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