If you’re uncertain of the name Abel Tesfaye, you’re undoubtedly familiar at this point with his performance name: The Weeknd. Promising three mixtapes to the world in 2011, Tesfaye delivered the last installment of that promise last week, titled Echoes of Silence.
Echoes of Silence starts off with a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana,” which is shortened here to just its initials, “D.D.” Tesfaye’s version isn’t trying to be Jackson’s, and I don’t think he’s setting himself up as an artist to fill the void left by Jackson’s untimely passing nearly two years ago. But Tesfaye certainly has the chops to carry the tune, though the use of a vocoder eliminates some of the emotion that Jackson’s version boasts. It’s an interesting choice to kick off The Weeknd’s final mixtape of 2011; in Tesfaye’s tawdry canon of drugs and sex, however, it’s inclusion is easily understood.
I’ve been listening to House of Balloons a lot over the past week or so, and I’ve found myself enjoying it much more in the cold and constant night of the winter than I did upon its release. It’s a voyeuristic, filthy affair; as listeners we’re all complicit in the commission of the actions described on it. I’m not there yet with Echoes of Silence, but I’m much more likely to give it more than a cursory listen than I was in the days prior to its release.
Echoes of Silence is available for free through The Weeknd’s website.
The Weeknd // D.D. [mp3] from Echoes of Silence