EP REVIEW: The Weeknd - My Dear Melancholy
Over the years The Weeknd has shifted his sound towards a mainstream polish which has seen him top the charts multiple times, sell out arenas across the world, release his own clothing line and become one of the biggest names in R&B. Some of his long-term fans have said that we’ve lost the old Abel because the passion and emotion which was very apparent in his early material has just been replaced with production. And to be honest that statement is kind of true but he’s decided to prove everyone wrong and release a surprise EP of emotionally raw tracks. “My Dear Melancholy,” hears him returning to his original sound and showing everyone that the old Abel hasn't gone anywhere. EP opener “Call Out My Name” is easily the EP’s strongest and most emotional track. We hear him confessing that he’s struggling moving on from his ex-girlfriend even though he knows that she didn't put in as much effort as he did. The lyrics are emotionally raw and will break your heart on the first listen. “Call out my name when I kiss you so gently. I want you to stay, I want you to stay even though you don't want me”. The moody production is amplified by his echoing vocals that haunt you right to the end. The song’s topic is revisited again on the second best song “Wasted Times”. It’s just as raw and details the next step which is the issue of moving on because your mind keeps wandering to who she's with. But then his attitude switches towards a sassier side proclaiming “I ain't got no business catchin' feelings”. These two songs set the tone for the 6 track collection with “Try Me” and “Privellage” offering a slight hip-hop influenced production while “Hurt You” and “I Was Never There” incorporates shiny synths. This EP has definitely been made with his old-school fans in mind that have been begging him to revisit this sound for the past couple of years. They are going to be ecstatic. As for his pop fans, they are probably going to skip through this record and go back to “Starboy”.
SINGLE REVIEW: Shawn Mendes - In My Blood
Over the past couple of years Shawn Mendes has impressed with a maturity beyond his years and an interesting musical evolution. He’s gone from releasing manufactured guitar and piano pop to a blues influenced alternative pop sound. For his upcoming third studio album he is evolving once again with a bigger rock-pop sound. “In My Blood” hears him holding onto his raw roots while injecting an arena ready Kings Of Leon sound. This is a song that is truly going to come to life in his live shows and provides a bit more of an upbeat dynamic. While it does have a very bold production it also hears him being the most intimate and honest he’s been yet. He confronts his personal battle with anxiety and explains how having anxiety isn't just a negative thing. The honest track is very relatable and introduces a darker melodic feel which was very overdue. “Help me, it's like the walls are caving in. Sometimes I feel like giving up but I just can’t. It isn't in my blood”. I also love the fact that the lead single isn't a cliche love song because that would be too predictable. Instead you have an anthem for anyone that feels lost and that’s more important in this current state of the world. His vocals are still strong and really shine through the acoustic verses before the rock choruses highlight a rougher edge. He also released the synth injected “Lost In Japan” as a instant-grat track which offers some sexy Justin Timberlake vibes. Very different to the lead single but it’s a very cool contrast. So yeah, apparently there is nothing Shawn Mendes can't do.