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In Review The Weeknds Kiss Land

11th September 2013 | Posted in Music

If Trilogy was The Weeknd's sublimely smooth, chic, and unconventionally shy entrance to the party, then Kiss Land; the follow up album by the Canadian born R&B sensation, is the remorseful sorrow of all the down right notorious antics he got up to when he got in there.

Officially, this is actually The Weeknd's first complete album, after Trilogy, the compilation of the 22 year old's first three sensational mix tapes, managed to cause such a stir that the shy faced singer couldn't hide from the limelight.

If you missed our more than glowing report of The Weeknd's first record, Trilogy- brush up on you reading and check it out here.

Trilogy was a brash, yet purely constructed method of delivering The Weeknd's innovative style of dark R&B- lyric after lyric told the story of drug abuse, women troubles and the euphoric highs and desperate lows of life in and out of the party.

Kiss Land then, is a sign of maturity. It isn't quite a coming of age piece from the soulful singer, more a nod to the acceptance of what he and his music have become. The evidence is clear from the off. On the album cover of Trilogy, The Weeknd hides his face in an attempt to shy from attention. No such niceties are observed with Kiss Land, as a cocky, confident Abel Tesfaye lifts his chin and looks down to the camera, this time proud of his achievements.

And he should be. Kiss Land is an ephemera of tracks that have the unmistakable mark of this talented performer. They all feature the obscenely smooth and cool feel that he manages to deliver to all of his performances.

You might not find the range you experienced in the emotionless delivery of Trilogy, but you will certainly find an incredibly well put together, flowing album that delivers on much of his previous promise.

Where Trilogy left us feeling cold after closing with Till Dawn (Here Comes The Sun), Kiss Land gives us an uplifting insight into a softer, warmer side of the crooner who has spent so much time living in his own mystery.

With his feet on the ground, The Weeknd seems to have left the strippers, drugs and party life behind.

Opening with Professional, a slow building track dowsed in a cloudy mix of direct lyrics and atmospheric backing sound, it sets the tone for the album. Those who heard Trilogy will instantly see the difference in what The Weeknd is about to offer.

Skip a few tracks, and you'll reach Belong To The World. If you kept up with what Abel got up to after Trilogy, this track won't be a stranger to you. Up beat and with a catchy chorus, the track track remains true to The Weeknd's slick, sensual approach to his music, and delivers something that is truly spectacular.

Listen on and the next track to play will be Live For. Featuring his good friend Drake, this has to be one of our favourite tracks on the album. A gentle guitar strumming build up leads to a staggered drop, giving a sound that is so ridiculously good that no one other than these two could have ever done it.

If you thought Kiss Land was missing The Weeknd's unmistakable touch of pure lunacy, then think again. The title track features a harrowing start. A chilling build up, added to by a woman's scream, assist The Weeknd as he begins to slip back into his traditional lyrical mix of strippers and sex. Chuck into a heavily synthesized drop on the chorus and you've got yourself a track with a hedonistic message: 'Not really into kisses that lead to nothing.'

The final note worthy track-Tears In the Rain, is another touch on The Weeknd of old. Ultra slick lyrics, sublime delivery, and a shrouded meaning. The difference? The Weeknd moves on from sex and onto a love once had, and now lost- 'you deserve real love, and i deserve to be myself.'

It's a resolutely strong, soulful finish to the album, capping off a track list that doesn't have the clout in terms of physical time, but carries a much stronger message and change of direction that you can't help but think you'd pay way over the odds to get your hands on it.

Stating that the above songs are noteworthy is an understatement. It has to be one of the hardest albums to choose the best songs from. With tracks like Wanderlust providing a funk lead edge, and The Town bringing a slick, rapturous accompaniment, we feel guilty for singling out just three tracks.

Sublime, surreal, undoubtedly cool, annoyingly sexy. Trilogy was all about the addiction. Kiss Land IS the addiction.


Ryan J Gray


Masdings Reviews

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