The Weeknd appeared almost literally out of nowhere in 2011, releasing a trilogy of lavishly-produced mixtapes (House Of Ballons, Thursday and Echoes Of Silence) that set then-unknown Toronto singer/songwriter Abel Tesfaye’s soulful vocals and viciously nihilistic lyrics to a gloomy soundtrack of somber beats, early post-punk samples and haunting keyboard flourishes. Songs like “Wicked Games” and “High For This” describe a disaffected, gloomy lifestyle spent almost exclusively on clubs, pills, emotional detachment and, above all, an endless pile of faceless, nameless women stacked like dominoes between the sheets. Tesfaye, who turns just 23 later this week, remastered and re-released his three mixtapes as the Trilogy box set last year and is currently hard at work on his official full-length debut.
Though The Weeknd seldom grants interviews, he gracious made no exception with me over the phone last week, declining to discuss his success, the Trilogy mixtapes, his upcoming album and just how closely his real life resembles the bleak outlook of his songs. Check out our non-conversation below.
[Groggy] Yeah, hello?
Mr. Tesfaye, thanks so much for not taking the time to talk to me this morning. Can you describe where you are right now?
I’m in a studio apartment I’m renting, it’s next door to the studio where we’re working on the album. I’m making coffee. There’s a handful of girls from last night in the other room, they’ll probably be waking up soon.
That sounds like an exciting way to start the day.
Not really. They’re probably going to be hungry and I don’t know how to cook, like, a proper breakfast and I’m down to my last few boxes of Christmas Crunch. They’ll probably go through one whole box between the four of them. [Sigh] That stuff only comes out, like, once a year, you know?
Who are they? Do you remember where they came from?
Not really. I have a driver I pay to take me home from wherever I wind up. It’s this big Range Rover and usually a few girls spill inside before I can close the door.
Know any of their names?
One of them, the redhead, I thought she said her name was “Ashley” or “Ack-Eee” or something like that, but it turned out she was just vomiting into her mouth a little.
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A Non-Interview exclusive!
Report: Here’s What Happened To t.A.T.u. After You Stopped Caring
by Brett Warner
Don’t ask me why faux-lesbian Russian duo t.A.T.u.’s “All The Things She Said” was running through my head all this week… and don’t read too much into the fact that I own both the English and Russian versions of their debut album 200 km/h In The Wrong Lane… or that their calculated-bordering-on-creepy schoolgirl lesbian image (neither Lena Katina nor Julia Volkova are actually gay, it turns out… big shock) coincided a little too conveniently with my burgeoning sexual sensibilities during the awkward summer of 2002.
"The Return of The Thin White Duke: Why 2013 Needed David Bowie"
by Brett Warner, Music Editor
A pop culture icon usually has to die before he or she can see the sort of internet explosion that greeted this morning’s news that, after a clean decade away from the music industry he once perennially redefined, David Bowie would return with at least one more new album: the Tony Visconti-produced The New Day, out March 12 here in the U.S. Amidst the furor that followed—equal parts relief, excitement and reverence—it hardly even seemed to matter what the album (his first since 2003’s Reality, also produced by Visconti) would sound like or whether it could possibly quench ten years’ worth of “Will he? Won’t he?” anticipation; until now, the world didn’t know whether there would ever be another David Bowie album. Had we known going in that Reality would be the swan song, we’d surely have looked and listened to it differently. But we didn’t know, because nothing has ever been… or probably ever will be… certain when it comes to David Bowie.
Did any of your favorite records of the year make Part 2 of our year-end countdown! Find out and let us know today on Ology.com!
Find out where your favorite records ranked in Part 1 of our year-end list!
Peanut Gallery: Prince’s Purple Rain Vs. Sign O The Times
Hi friends, welcome to Peanut Gallery. Every Wednesday here at MusicOlogy, we’ll be presenting two classic albums from the same iconic band or artist and asking you… the smart, savvy, blindingly attractive Ology readers… to debate amongst yourselves over which record reigns supreme. Individual songs, concepts, music videos, lyrics, album artwork—everything’s on the table here, folks. Give us your best argument in the comments section below. We’ll announce the winner at the beginning of next week’s Peanut Gallery face-off.
This week, we’re pitting Prince’s two biggest albums, Purple Rain and Sign O The Times, against each other.