WASHINGTON, March 31, (Agencies): The R&B sensation known as The Weeknd has released a new album, his label said Friday.
Republic Records announced the surprise drop of a six-track record entitled “My Dear Melancholy.”
The profile of the Grammy-winning Toronto singer has quickly grown in the past few years, with hits such as “Can’t Feel My Face” and “I Feel It Coming.”
The Weeknd will be among headliners at this year’s Coachella music festival, along with Beyonce and Eminem.
The new album is The Weeknd’s first since he won a Grammy in 2017 for “Star Boy.”
That record featured two Top 10 hits, the title track and “I Feel it Coming.”
Almost seven years to the day after the release of The Weeknd’s galvanizing debut mixtape, “House of Balloons” — an outing that basically created the dark-alt-R&B sound that so many artists have built careers on — the prolific Abel Tesfaye says hello to darkness, his old friend on a new six-song/22-minute EP whose title is pure truth in advertising: “My Dear Melancholy,” (and that’s not a typo — the official title includes a comma at the end, like the beginning of a letter).
True to its sort-of surprise arrival — it was teased, fairly obviously, in the week leading up to its release — the outing feels like an interlude in a career that’s already featured several big statements and changes of direction. There are no blockbuster hit singles like “I Can’t Feel My Face” or “Starboy,” but the melodic directness and Michael Jackson vocalisms of those songs is here, just buried under clouds of sad synthesizers and downcast beats — for example, a peppy remix could transform “Hurt You” into a shiny suit rather than the dark hoodie it’s wearing here.
Unlike his early work, “Melancholy” is more of a Weeknd take on crying-in-your-beer ballads than existential brooding. And with lyrics like “I don’t want to wake up if you’re not laying next to me”; “I’mma drink the pain away, I’ll be back to my old ways”; “We said our last goodbyes, so let’s just try to end it with a smile,” approximately 23 minutes after “Melancholy” dropped, the Internet was alight with wonderers wondering whether these songs are post-Selena/Bella breakup ballads.
We’ll leave that to them, but musically the album features several previous collaborators (Cirkut, Daheala, Mike Will Made It, Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo) as well as co-executive producer and fellow Canadian Frank Dukes (Frank Ocean, Camila Cabello, one track on “Starboy”), Skrillex, French producer Gesaffelstein and Chilean broodmaster Nicolas Jaar. All help bring in the darkness, although their contributions aren’t instantly recognizable and meld into The Weeknd’s overall vibe. (There’s also a hook that sounds like the crazy theme from Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” — that wailing screech when the picture blanches and Uma Thurman has a dark flashback — grafted into “I Was Never There.”)
So as best can be told in a morning-after hot take, — and it’s a credit to this prolific and ever-evolving artist that he manages to be creatively restless and never stay in the same place for long while always sounding unmistakably like himself.
Sevdaliza (real name: Sevda Alizadeh) is an Iranian-born, Dutch-based singer whose music is an ever-morphing combinations of European, Persian and electronic influences. It’s often described as “trip-hop” and while that holds true for the ricocheting beats and occasional quavering Portisheadian moods, it’s loaded with FKA Twig-ish elements as well as swooning string arrangements that recall Siouxsie & the Banshees circa “Dazzle” and especially “Homogenic”-era Bjork, who is also a profound influence on Sevdaliza’s elaborate videos and album artwork.
Indeed, her music often feels like (and often is) the soundtrack to a visual that amplifies the sense of displacement in the lyrics and the constantly shifting music. In one video, her disembodied face appears in various complicated chrome and diamond structures; in another she drops a long robe to reveal her female torso with a horse’s legs; recent concerts featured her accompanied by a contortionist. It evokes the ways her songs abruptly shift into incongruous sounds, pauses and sections that feel just barely connected to what came before; her versatile yet distinctive voice can flip from soothing to menacing in seconds.
Since 2012 she’s released a handful of EPs and several stray tracks on her SoundCloud page, but all of the elements truly coalesced with last year’s “Ison” album, which got rave reviews from the indie press and debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes electronic chart (impressive for a self-released album).
“The Calling,” a new seven-song EP, continues the album’s vibe while taking things even further out — a particularly beautiful moment occurs in the middle of “Energ1,” when a driving beat underpins an aching string quartet, then the beat starts to fracture as her voice, treated to sound ghost-like, floats in; in “Human Nature,” she’s one of the too-rare artists who uses autotune as an instrument in itself, warping the title and the phrase “touched by an angel” into weirder and weirder shapes. But then the EP ends with “Observer,” one of the most commercial-leaning songs she’s ever done, which combines a pulsating beat and beguiling melody into a song that almost recalls latter-day Sade’s more upbeat moments — its relative normal-ness is as disorienting as the odder tracks that precede it.
Just a week ahead of her official debut, Cardi B has dropped a new song called “Be Careful” that is apparently a warning to her allegedly unfaithful fiance, Offset of Migos. While a lot of the lyrics can’t be reprinted in a family publication, a gentle version of the song’s theme is in the chorus: “Be careful with me, do you know what you’re doing? Whose feelings that you’re hurting and bruising? You gonna gain the whole world, but is it worth the girl that you’re losing?” she sings on the chorus. “Yeah, it’s not a threat, it’s a warning.”
Cardi’s debut studio album, “Invasion of Privacy,” is due on April 6, with an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” the following night and her Coachella debut the following two weekends. While information about the album has been kept under wraps for months despite a constant barrage of questions — and she’s been teasing a number of songs on her Instagram account without revealing titles — it’s safe to assume that the new single will be on it, as well the rapper’s breakout hit “Bodak Yellow” and its follow-up, “Bartier Cardi.”
She has released two mixtapes to date, “Gangsta Bitch Music” volumes 1 and 2 in 2016 and 2017 respectively, and has made a host of guest appearances on songs and on television, most recently Migos’ “MotorSport” and Bruno Mars’ “Finesse,” which she performed with him on the Grammy Awards earlier this year.
The musicians, known for popular tracks like “BLEACH,” “SWEET,” and “GOLD,” released their latest album, “Saturation III,” under Question Everything, Inc. with distribution by Empire. They were also previously signed with Fool’s Gold Records. RCA is a subsidiary of Sony Music.
The social media announcement included an image of the RCA logo in black with “Brockhampton” overlaying it in red scrawl. A small font at the bottom reads, “As of March 30th 2018, Brockhampton will be artists under a recording contract for RCA records.”
Brockhampton member Kevin Abstract also took to social media individually to comment on the news, reassuring fans that the label change would have no drastic effects on their musical approach and sound.
“Nothing changes we still in this living room making songs making out and all of that rca just gon help us push this gay agenda,” Abstract tweeted from his personal account.