Published Apr 02, 2018Abel Tesfaye is all in his feelings. While it isn't a full-fledged return to his House of Balloons era, six-track, 21-minute project My Dear Melancholy, is dipped in the downbeat — that more intrepid and furtive phase in the career of the Weeknd. "Call Out My Name" is essentially "Earned It," if recorded back in the 2011, a presumably real-world indictment of past love(s) — you can probably guess who if you care enough about his personal life — that operates at peak-Weeknd speed, languid spurts of emotional susceptibility and exposure.
The project calls on previous collaborators like Frank Dukes, Mike WiLL Made-It, Cirkut and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk, while adding Nicolas Jaar and Gesaffelstein into the creative mix. "Try Me" is a midtempo mashup of past outings, something you've heard before — haunting synths, vocal distortions — on its way to connect with drug-addled consciousness. "I Was Never There" and "Hurt You" are the more commercial-minded outings here, ephemeral in nature and construction. "Wasted Times" is perhaps the standout, perfectly perched at the crossroads of past, present and future, more allusions to relationships past and present and laying out the central project premise: "I ain't got no business catching feelings."
The odes of addlepated excess that comprise My Dear Melancholy, serve as a soft reset of sorts, a musical palette cleanser that takes stock of what the Weeknd has accomplished thus far. The project runs the typical emotional gamut for the artist — a simmering mix of love, lust, hate and pride — while feeling more cohesive than recent pop domination-minded outings, Starboy included. In adding back into the mix that layer of unpredictability that's served him so well, the EP adds yet enough layer of complexity to an already diverse discography – while placing a few more musical bullets in the chamber for the next world tour. (XO/Republic)