Sound: This is the third mixtape from the one-man, Toronto-based project of Abel Tesfaye. This comes hot on the heels of "House Of Balloons" and "Thursday". Where "House Of Balloons" was a very dark RnB record which verged on Witch-House, "Thursday" struck me as more poppy and accessible. Unfortunately, by compromising the experimentation, this made "Thursday" a much less interesting record. Inevitably, this final effort of 2011 will be compared to the two preceding it. So how does it compare?
My final answer would be that it sits between the two records, partially poppy and partially dark. This is sort of a standard issue RnB tape, but with The Weeknd's inimitable drugs and partying lyrical style holding the whole thing together. It would seem that this style is the only continuity of the three tapes. If forced to compare it (soundwise) to any records, I would choose Michael Jackson's "Bad" and Terence Trent D'Arby's "Reintroducing The Hardline" for the most part, though towards the end he seems to fall on the old RnB cliche of piano balladry. Overall, I enjoy the sound, and others will too, but it is by no stretch of the imagination the best RnB record this year. // 6
Lyrics: The album opens with a cover of Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diane" (titled "DD"), a song I was never particularly fond of. This song sets the tone of what to expect from the album as The Weeknd treads the path many RnB stars have tread before him. As for the other tracks, the stand-outs are "XO/The Host" and the title track, "Echoes Of Silence". The first showing The Weeknd's segueing ability within a track, casting thoughts back to "House Of Balloons"/"Glass Table Girls" from the first mixtape. The second is the final track of the album, closing on a very quiet and understated note. The worst track, conspicuous in its awfulness is the penultimate track, "Next". This song strikes me as completely free of any genuine intention, as if someone is trying to scientifically write a song to tug at one's heart strings and getting it horribly wrong. The vocal delivery really sells the track short.
Overall, this is one of the albums strongest points, as The Weeknd weaves tales of exotic nightlife scenes. However, many of the vocal adlibs are just going up and down scales, and I can't help but feel that another, stronger vocalist would have done more justice to these tracks. // 6
Overall Impression: I enjoyed this album and I will return it. It just didn't blow my mind and excite me in the same way as the first mixtape, "House Of Balloons". It's nice, but I can't help the feeling that this is just a release for the fans. If I was going to recommend an introduction to RnB, I would recommend "Off the Wall" or "Voodoo" by D'Angelo. If I was going to recommend an introduction to The Weeknd, I would recommend "House Of Balloons". This album is a pleasant listen, but will not stay with you in the same way as RnB records. // 6