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Starboy [Parental Advisory]

Album: Starboy
# Song Title   Time
1)    Starboy - (featuring Daft Punk)
2)    Party Monster
3)    False Alarm
4)    Reminder
5)    Rockin'
6)    Secrets
7)    True Colors
8)    Stargirl (Interlude) - (featuring Lana Del Rey)
9)    Sidewalks - (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
10)    Six Feet Under
11)    Love to Lay
12)    Lonely Night, A
13)    Attention
14)    Ordinary Life
15)    Nothing Without You
16)    All I Know - (featuring Future)
17)    Die for You
18)    I Feel It Coming - (featuring Daft Punk)
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • The extent of the 2015 Weeknd commercial rebound, symbolized by platinum certifications for Beauty Behind the Madness and all four of its singles, didn't merely embolden Abel Tesfaye. On this follow-up's fourth track, a blithe midtempo cut where Tesfaye takes a swipe at pretenders while boasting about drinking codeine out of one of his trophies, the level of success is a source of amusement. He notes the absurdity in taking a "kids' show" award for "Can't Feel My Face," in which he was "talkin' 'bout a face numbin' off a bag of blow." The track actually lost to Adele's "Hello," but it clearly, somewhat comically, reached an unintended demographic. It comes as no surprise that Tesfaye, on his third proper album, doesn't attempt to optimize the reach of his biggest hit by consciously targeting youngsters. He sings of being a "Starboy" with access to a fleet of sports cars, but he's a "motherfuckin' starboy," one who is 26 years old and proud to observe his woman snort cocaine off his fancy table. While Starboy often reflects an increased opulence in the personal and professional aspects of Tesfaye's life -- from more upscale pronouns to expensive collaborations with the likes of Daft Punk (two) and "Can't Feel My Face" producers Max Martin and Ali Payami (four) -- the dark moments of vulnerability are pitch black. Lines like "I switch up my cup, I kill any pain" could have come from Tesfaye's mixtape debut, yet there are new levels of torment. In "Ordinary Life," he considers driving off a Mulholland Drive cliff, James Dean style, wishing he could swap everything for angel status. It's followed with "Nothing Without You," a ballad of toxic dysfunction. He asks his lover if she'd feel guilty for not answering his call if he happened to die that night. It's not all dread and depravity. There's some sense of joy in a one-night stand, and an echo of "Say Say Say" Michael Jackson, on the Luomo-ish house track "Rockin'." Contrition is shown in the slick retro-modern disco-funk of "A Lonely Night." Ironically enough, in the aching "True Colors," Tesfaye sounds a little insecure about a lover's past. The album's lighter, comparatively sweeter parts -- the Tears for Fears-sampling/Romantics-referencing "Secrets" and the breezy and only slightly devilish "I Feel It Coming" among them -- are all welcome highlights. When pared down to its ten best songs, Starboy sounds like Tesfaye's most accomplished work. ~ Andy Kellman
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone - 3 stars out of 5 -- "'A Lonely Night' is a nice B-side-quality slice of electro-funk. 'Attention' is a decent EDM ballad that could have been made by Major Lazer or Jason DeRulo."

Spin - "STARBOY contains a compulsively repayable suite of songs. 'Rockin',' the fifth track, written with Max Martin and his henchmen, is a purely delectable pulsating pop confection."

Entertainment Weekly - "A refreshing punk-rock energy surges through 'False Alarm,' while dance music kings Daft Punk help him further explore his freaky disco side on the shimmering album closer 'I Feel It Coming.'" -- Grade: B

NME (Magazine) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[O]pener `Starboy' is a moody acknowledgement of his celebrity, while closer `I Feel It Coming' is a beauty, on which Tesfaye's trembling vocal unmistakeably echoes Michael Jackson's."

Pitchfork (Website) - "'Starboy' glides like a sleek, high-performance car, while 'I Feel It Coming' sounds like a slowed-down version of 'Get Lucky.'"

Clash (magazine) - "The influence of Michael Jackson on Tesfaye's melodic choices and vocal delivery has been much commented on and it is certainly present in `Starboy'."
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