House Of Balloons
The Weeknd’s originality reaches far beyond the nature of their dope, electronically infused, bass-heavy beats, merging the hip-hop genre with the current sampling fixation that so many underground DJ’s employ these days, whether Hard Mix or James Blake. The spaced-out, heavy synthesizer resonance that Drake fixates on is there as well on tracks like “The Party and the After Party” and “The Morning”. Though the production from Don McKinney and Illangelo is sufficient enough to keep House of Balloons on repeat, it’s Tesfaye’s lyrics that help separate the Weeknd from other contemporary R&B outfits. The drug discourse is ample, with opener “High For This” introducing the party lifestyle Tesfaye partakes in and “House of Balloons – Glass Table Girls” referencing cocaine on oh so many occasions. What makes The Weeknd so painstakingly real are the issues Tesfaye is discussing here. He’s not praising drugs like so many other artists in his genre do; he’s telling us the opposing side that no one dares mention: the overdoses, the cravings, the gloomy emptiness that ensues.