My Dear Melancholy, is The Weeknd’s first work that is absolutely pure sex from top to bottom. It has its faults, but this five song EP offers a touch of nostalgia with a whole lot of sensuality and plenty of sensitivity.
This EP feels like a bit of a regression to The Weeknd’s earlier work with Trilogy, but it’s a sound that is still distinctive from any other R&B artist. He may have changed his hair, but his sound has returned to all its former glory. While the pop lovers who bopped to “Starboy” in 2016 might be disappointed, long-time fans are in for a nice surprise. This EP is a return to the sensual and emotional Weeknd who R&B lovers fell for back in 2013. The only real danger with My Dear Melancholy, is that when The Weeknd performs these tracks there’s no way the crowd will be able to keep their pants on. Peeking through this layer of sensuality is an element of heart-wrenching emotional loss. With nearly every track the listener is caught in a constant limbo of not knowing whether to body roll or to sob. This emotional intensity is most clearly demonstrated in The Weeknd’s closing track, “Privilege,” which focuses on romantic loss and finding ways to cope with it.
The ever-present syncopated beats drive the whole EP forward, despite being something a kid could probably create using a beat making app on their mother’s iPhone. The most notable of these beats are probably the two tracks The Weeknd partnered up with French DJ and electronic musician Gesaffelstein: “I Was Never There” and “Hurt You.” The Weeknd’s allure is in his ability to make simple beats, simple lyrics, and simple melodies become the literal embodiment of seduction. In this allure lies an issue — only so much can be done with such simplicity, and The Weeknd ran the risk of paying too close a homage to his earlier work with this EP. The beat in the chorus of “Call Out My Name” is exactly the same as that in “Earned It” from The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind The Madness. With his career only dating back to 2013, The Weeknd should be wary of failing to put forward truly new material.
All in all, My Dear Melancholy, leaves the listener quite satisfied (in more ways than one). This little glimpse of who The Weeknd used to be before “Can’t Feel My Face” shot him into the world of pop is a nice breath of fresh air and a reminder of the artist The Weeknd truly is. He falls short on managing to create entirely new music while still containing the same sentiments as Trilogy. The Weeknd has plenty of gas left in his career as long as he can drive himself forward with new ideas that continue to uphold his music’s sensual identity.
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The Weeknd’s “My Dear Melancholy,” EP Review. Featured image credit: XO and Republic Records.