After a year and a half of patient waiting, The Weeknd has released his newest record, an EP called My Dear Melancholy,. And—shocker—it’s a breakup album. Since the release of his 2016 record Starboy, The Weeknd, a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye, has been involved in two high–profile break–ups—with model Bella Hadid and pop singer Selena Gomez. Although he’s often open about his partying habits, this is the first record where we get a look at the inner workings of his heart, and get a new perspective on these highly public relationships.
The album is The Weeknd’s first extended play, only featuring six songs. The record was announced just days before its release. Already, it has shot to the top of the charts, reaching the #1 spot of Billboard’s 200 within 24 hours of its release. Instrumentally, this album sounds similar to his usual work, but has an obvious turn from the star–studded guest appearances of Starboy. Other than an appearance from French DJ Gesaffelstein, this album is all him.
The first track of the album, “Call Out My Name” is a personal narrative chronicling a relationship, most likely with Selena Gomez. It has a strong beat as he seems to call out his past lover for her misdoings. In this song, he reveals possibly the largest revelation of the album: he almost donated his kidney to Selena. In the song, he sings “I almost cut out a piece of myself for your life,” likely referring to her July 2017 kidney transplant.
Another track that speaks on his relationship with Selena is “Wasted Times.” It’s him musing on if the time he spent in their ten–month relationship may have been better spent with someone else, like his ex, Bella Hadid. The lyrics perfectly capture what it’s like to be constantly thinking about someone, but not being able to find the words to say to them. The Weeknd says it all with this song.
Although revealing, he failed to break new ground with this album. He seems to replicate his past hits rather than trying new things, like when he samples his own song “Earned It” in “Call Out My Name.” But maybe the point of this album was personal expression rather than musical strides. With the constant publicity surrounding his public life in recent years, it is understandable that he’d want to write his own narrative.
The best track of the album is arguably the last song, “Privilege.” This slower ballad showcases his musical abilities, and turns out to be the breakup song we never thought we needed. Although his plan to get over a breakup isn't the healthiest, it’s relatable as hell. Interestingly, in the song he says that after his year of heartbreak, he plans to go back to his old ways. Perhaps that is true musically as well—after years of attempting to climb the charts and the celebrity ladder, maybe The Weeknd is ready to just be Abel.