Release Date: Nov 13, 2012
Record label: Universal Republic
Genre(s): R&B, Pop/Rock, Contemporary R&B, Alternative R&B
Abel Tesfaye's brooding R&B, filtered through blackout curtains and lust-borne regret, won raves from downloaders last year. The Trilogy collects three of the Toronto singer's 2011 mixtapes, but some editing might have better introduced him to the world outside Tumblr: Songs like the drugs-and-sex-soaked "Gone" get lost in themselves, becoming more tiring the more you pay attention. (The resulting numbness is appropriate given Tesfaye's hungover anomie.) "Valerie," one of three new tracks, shows some growth; like the rest of the album, it's spare and mournful, but it ebbs and flows seductively.
The WeekndTrilogy[Universal Republic; 2012]By Craig Jenkins; January 7, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetAbel Tesfaye is a man out of time. The Weeknd straddles the line between 20th and 21st century sensibilities, melding the problems, drugs, and music of both into a project that seems very of-the-moment and coyly referential at the same time. The Weeknd’s pharmaceutical generation ennui calls back to both rave culture pill mania and Southern promethazine worship, and the music doses ‘80s sophisti-pop and ‘90s R&B slow jams with traces of trap, EDM, and indie rock.
If you checked out completely in 2011, Trilogy has all the makings of a blockbuster: 22-year old Toronto native Abel Tefsaye along with producers Illangelo and Doc McKinney developed a state-of-the-art R&B template and scored several radio hits; they're associates of megastar Drake, and have played sold-out club shows and rapturously received festival appearances. But there's one catch: If you weren't checked out completely during 2011, you've already heard the vast majority of Trilogy, for free. So it's understandable if you're wondering why this set, which collects the Weeknd's three 2011 mixtapes in one package and adds three additional songs, exists in the first place.
There hasn’t been many scenarios like The Weeknd’s, where a debut artist gets a three-disc official debut. The mixture of sex, drugs, and women isn’t an unorthodox combo, but at the time of The Weekend’s first mixtape release distorted beats over a high-range falsetto was fresh and incredibly difficult not to pay attention to. Essentially, Trilogy is a repackaging which joins House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence together to introduce The Weeknd to a mass audience.
Now that Universal has bestowed proper commodity value on the Weeknd’s much beloved neo-soul nihilism, it’s only appropriate to push the consumer report front and center: you’ve already heard 27 of the 30 songs on Trilogy. All three mixtapes compiled here—House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence—were released online for free download last year by the artist himself, Abel Tesfaye. “Twenty-Eight”, “Valerie”, and “Til Dawn (Here Comes the Sun)” are attached to the tail ends of each collection respectively, as bonus tracks, but even these have been circulating promotionally for over a month.
The first phrase you might use to describe this 3CD, 30-track compilation of all the Weeknd's recorded material to date is "good value". At least you might if all this material hadn't already been released, in three parts and for free, online. Still, to listen to Trilogy is to confirm that with his distorted R&B Abel Tesfaye has developed a powerful and distincitive musical voice.
Whether you think Abel Tesfaye is a tragically over-sexed lothario or a pitiful example of man in thrall to his penis, there’s no denying the influence of the music on Trilogy. Alongside Frank Ocean and A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd came to define 2011 as a year where the best music was handed out for free in online mixtapes. Frank Ocean has since released Channel Orange to mass acclaim and US sales of over 332,500.
Toronto-based R&B crooner Abel Tesfaye has been warming up to the limelight after a year of touring and signing to a major, and now his self-released mixtape trilogy chronicling narcotized bedroom misanthropy gets a re-release in remastered form, with three additional tracks. Tesfaye is one of several young R&B musicians responsible for revitalizing a genre that had been languishing in clubland cliché, and the Weeknd's spare, alluring sound has been subject to intense hype and imitation. But listen to House Of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes Of Silence in one go and you'll find that the music remains impressive.
When his first mixtape surfaced online in March 2011, not much was known about the Weeknd, save that he was a hyper-talented R&B artist from Toronto who used an angelic voice to sing of late-night depravity and spiritual emptiness. Two more mixtapes followed and now Abel Tesfaye – the 22-year-old behind the project – is releasing all three on a major label, remastered and packaged with three extra tracks. The production sounded great to start with, and the new material is unexceptional, but if you didn't pick up the mixtapes when they were going free, and can handle 160 minutes of beautifully crafted nihilism, this is an essential buy.
The Weeknd’s cinematic grandeur has proved a blessing and may end up a curse, in part because we know how the movie ends. It was certainly unconventional to debut with three entire albums in one year, released as free downloads no less; what was conventional is that they weren’t all that. Few artists this side of Prince or the Magnetic Fields could craft three quality hours of eartime in one artistic binge, much less a 22-year-old debuting with a flair for the morose and dramatic.
Releases-to-date round-up that suggests The Weeknd may be a star of 2013. Mike Diver 2012 “You don’t know, what’s in store.” The opening line on this major-label compilation from Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, isn’t entirely accurate. Trilogy does feature previously unreleased material; but 27 of its 30 tracks are from free mixtapes the Canadian put out in 2011.
Abel Tesfaye, aka the Weeknd, released three free mixtapes, aka albums, in 2011. Trilogy compiles them with remastered sound and adds three new songs. Supported by fellow Toronto native Drake, Tesfaye surfaced that March with House of Balloons, an impressive debut that merged his paradoxical approach -- sweet voice, poisonous words -- with gloomy but entrancing productions, most of which were provided by Illangelo and Doc McKinney.