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CD review: The Weeknd’s ‘Trilogy’

Annie Zaleski

The Details

Four stars

It’s not every day that an artist releases a three-disc debut. Then again, not every musician is Toronto musician Abel Tesfaye, who records as the Weeknd.

The 22-year-old shot to Internet stardom in 2011 after his pastiche-driven, relatable R&B (especially his House of Balloons mixtape) was championed by fellow Canuck Drake. Trilogy consists of remastered versions of Balloons and two other previously released mixtapes, along with three new songs. (“Valerie” is the best of the new stuff, with Tesfaye’s anguished crooning sailing over somber keyboards and belching-smokestack beats.)

Clocking in at well over two hours, Trilogy predictably lags in spots. But it’s refreshing how the album melds traditional touches—airy falsetto, pining lyrics, soulful harmonies—with unexpected twists like a slurring Siouxsie and the Banshees sample on “House of Balloons” or somber trip-hop on “Next”). Trilogy is ultra-modern, vivid R&B without pretension.


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