Monday, July 18, 2011

The Weeknd - House of Balloons

I’ve been busy and have neglected album reviews, but I had to take the time to post a review for The Weeknd’s “House of Balloons” because it is easily one of the hottest R&B releases of 2011. I think Drake was the first to really spark a buzz for the Canadian know as The Weeknd. Regardless of Drake’s co-sign, I highly recommend you download “House of Balloons” (free at Although there are only a total of 9 tracks, the run time clocks in just over 49 minutes with 6 of the 9 songs exceeding 5 minutes. Those long song lengths allow the songs to really build and create the sparse soundscape for The Weeknd to work his magic, starting with one of my favorites “High For This”.
The production behind “High For This” really lays back and allows The Weeknd to stir the song up into a smooth and sexy concoction. If you ever see a woman strip to this record you will become an instant fan. Definitely sexy. “What You Need” is a nice follow up and if your stripper is still workin’ it…she won’t miss a beat. At first listen I wasn’t feeling the vocal effects, but it quickly grows on you and slides a ghostly vibe to the track. If you just hate the vocal effects then you draw satisfaction in knowing this is the shortest record on the album. The title track “House of Balloons” has radio spin appeal. If you’re patient and listen through it you’ll hear the flip to “Glass Table Girls” with an Art Of Noise sounding transition at about the 3:24 mark. “Glass Table Girls” would require a whole lot of editing to be ready for radio with all the F bombs sprinkled in. This combo of “House of Balloons” and “Glass Table Girls” is not one of top picks from the album, but I can see it having some crossover appeal.
“4 In The Morning” won me over right away with the line “Got the walls kickin’ like they’re 6 months pregnant.” Let it build for a minute and a half and the drum kit rolls in. Pay attention to the hi-hats and how they lay back to allow The Weeknd to control the tempo with his cadence. The fade out at the end might have you thinking you got a bad copy of the album since it fades to silence over almost 20 seconds. Then “Wicked Games” finally rolls in. This is another one of my top picks from the album. A funny note; it reminded me of the wedding reception scene in the movie “Old School” because the cursing slides right by under the veil of The Weeknd’s smooth voice. “The Party” starts with a wack casio-style drum kit and pattern, but the song quickly drops into a dope groove and is again another favorite.
Then my absolute favorite of the album eases in. “The After Party” is stripped down to really bare drums which again allows The Weeknd to drive the lyrics home with lines like “They want what I’m sittin on, they don’t want my love…they just want my potential”. “Coming Down” eases in next and has me second guessing my pick for the best song from the album…This record is so fly its hard to not say it’s the best of the album.
“Loft Music” is nice and a great fit with the flavor built up to this point, but the whole second half of the song is really useless – unless you are blazing trees or sexin’ a woman down. “The Knowing” closes out the album and is another highlight. My favorite part of the song is The Weeknd singing “So I’m gonna let you taste her..I ain’t washing her scent”…classic! Some hardcore knuckleheads might turn their noses up at the album because of its overall tone and pace, but I bet if they listened to the lyrics they would change their minds. The Weeknd’s “House of Balloons” is one of my top 5 picks for best R&B album of 2011 and on heavy replay when I ain’t bangin’ out mixtape work. Speaking of which, I gotta get back to busy…

The Weeknd on twitter @theweekndxo

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