Most people judge an artist based on their most popular work, their claim-to-fames, their fallback style, what they excel at the most.
But personally, I prioritize an artist’s range; how much can they retain their usual success even when they deviate from their normal tried-and-true formula by experimenting with new forms?
In this regard, My Dear Melancholy, cements The Weeknd as one of the foremost “pop” musicians of his generation.
An explanation of the preceding quotes: though he’s commonly viewed as a big-room pop-star, My Dear Melancholy, — as the title explains (I love the comma, which suggests the album’s six songs are basically a letter to his own despondency) dabbles in a darker and more brooding register. If he’s famous for a smooth sound that can sensually rock the roof off the biggest arenas in the world all night — as proven on his most recent hit album, 2016’s Starboy — My Dear Melancholy, feels more like the soundtrack to the afters, where our evening’s musical shepherd tones down the vibe to settle into a more restrained, subdued, and mellow key, with contemplative lyrics to match.
But rest assured, lifelong fans of The Weeknd’s business as usual: the producing is as immaculate as ever.
Now I just want him to delve further down this rabbit hole of difference. My Dear Melancholy, comes off like a short excursion, as if he was curious whether his talents stretched so far outside his comfort zone. But running a brief 20 minutes, it seems too much like a forgettable trifle, memorable mostly for its relation to his customary flow. Even at only six songs, it’s a bit monotonously repetitive.
Now that he’s exhibited such range, he should next try to find more range within this newfound range.