The Weeknd Echoes of Silence

The Weeknd Echoes of Silence
As promised, R&B revolutionary Abel Tesfaye, aka the Weeknd, and his OVO XO team drop Echoes of Silence in autumn 2011, the last day of the fall season to be exact. Much like the previous effort Thursday, his website servers ending up crashing due to the overwhelming audience demand to hear how the mixtape trilogy wraps up. Destined to be a fixture on many year-end lists, it's a given that by now, you're either down with Tesfaye's plaintive falsetto or you're not. The Echoes of Silence mood remains shadowy, the lyrics unnerving and the production austere. If you've heard some of his pre-Weeknd efforts, you know that the 21-year-old appreciates him some Michael Jackson so the opening rendition of "Dirty Diana" doesn't seem out of place. In fact, "D.D." is a perfect cover in that it fits in with Tesfaye's vibe and is arguably sung with more sincerity that MJ ever could have mustered. The bilingual, cathedral sound of "Montreal" is one of his brightest sounding efforts, "Outside" sounds like a lost House of Balloons cut while "Next" goes in on the meta tip: "You just want me cuz I'm next." Title track "Echoes of Silence" is representative of the entire musical oeuvre that Tesfaye's presented all year: a boundary-pushing, genre-bending and progressive R&B sound that's already transcended the typical "Canadian urban" sound and captured widespread attention. With rumblings of the Weeknd heading out on tour with Drake in 2012 and "not outside the realm of possibility" appearances on respective 2012 SXSW and Coachella line-ups, the Weeknd is on the rise — press/media and major record label rebuffs notwithstanding. Once the dust settles, however, music history will note that last March's House of Balloons was the strongest effort out of all the three mixtapes the Weeknd released this year. Make no mistake however: this was Tesfaye's year and Echoes of Silence puts an enjoyable cap on a successful 2011 campaign. (Independent)