Time’s passing fast, I’ll grant you that, but can it really be ten years since The Weeknd’s unique patent of darkly mysterious R&B first hit the shelves? His debut album, ‘House Of Balloons’, had been in the making for a time but nobody could’ve foreseen his upward career trajectory.
This is The Weeknd at his realest and most authentic. He was a long way from the blinding lights at this point, and he surely wasn’t Starboy yet either. But, if you’re somehow yet to hear ‘House Of Balloons’, this ten-year anniversary edition offers the original mixes in one place. It’s your second chance to get under the skin of this man’s talent.
Clear your schedule, light a candle or five and sit back and unwind as you play through all nine songs. Immerse yourself in the slow, pulsating beat of ‘High For This’, then let the quirky electronics and the lyrics of ‘House Of Balloons’ latch to your ears before the piece descends into ‘Glass Table Girls’. And, whatever you do, recognise how the raw, contorted drama and theatrics of ‘Wicked Games’ should be celebrated among his best material.
While those might be some of the top hits for me, it’s essential that you hear the full record regardless — it validates why The Weeknd is where he is. He might’ve sold out to popularity somewhat, with chart bangers and a recent Super Bowl performance as feathers in his cap, but don’t discount his early work — it’s his finest.