The Weeknd’s ‘House of Balloons’ celebrates its 7 year anniversary and of course for any fan this means that the mixtape gets reintroduced to your current playlist. Abel Tesfaye introduced himself to the world back in 2011, well, I say introduced but really he never really made himself public for years, which in some aspect was an addition to the persona of The Weeknd.
Whilst all we really got were a few Tumblr and Twitter pics, it seemed to add enough emphasis to how Abel illustrated himself, ‘sex, drugs and beautiful melodies’. Critics would be left stumped as to what genre to place him in, as his sombre tones wouldn’t strictly fit into RnB, whilst his voice emits so much soul and various elements showed a resemblance with indie tones – he is truly a unique artist. This could be considered as a debut for the prevailing sound of todays’ RnB, which is far from what it once was. This drug infused type of sound has managed to pave a way for new artists, moving on from the baby oiled, crying in the rain, on your knees for a second chance with you a girl you cheated on kind of vibe, that was once the perception on RnB (so to speak!).
Re-listening to ‘House of Balloons’ is only a reminder that this is a mixtape that really depicts art. For me personally, with this mixtape I could pin point the exact moment I heard it and the feeling I got from the first song I listened to… which was ‘Loft Music’. So you can imagine my 17 year old self going crazy for an artist who I felt was essentially singing directly to a hidden persona. He made the dark, depressed and drug fuelled mood a trend and though The Weeknd himself was (high-key) probably on drugs throughout this period… and probably depressed.. but he was able to produce something that felt relatable, it almost made you feel as though you wanted to be in a similar state of mind to completely understand his reality.
The Weeknd tells a story through each of his songs, talking us through his experiences with drugs and of course women. Whilst engaging in his… activities… The Weeknd still manages to whisper sweet nothings into our ears as he explains the transition from the start of the night as it starts to draw dark and fortuitous. The women, drugs and parties all play apart in where his weaknesses lie, and though he is aware of his addictions and the risks, he continues to fall short on leaving these fixations alone.
One element I enjoy the most about this mixtape, is that Abel makes it easy to relate to his feelings. Picturing the scene for a song could compare to reading a book, the visuals appear in almost second nature to what you hear. Musically, the production on the album can only be described as beautiful. There are frequent moments throughout this album where all we hear are just melodies, and for those moments, the sounds tell the story.
‘House of Balloons’ was given to us at no cost, whilst the level of content could match some of the best sold music of today. Following this, The Weeknd then blessed us with another two free mixtapes, which evidently worked in his favour as the three in total became what we can see today as The Weeknd’s debut album entitled Trilogy. This album presented us with remastered versions of what we heard on the mixtapes, with a few additions.
The ‘House of Balloons’ is undoubtedly The Weeknds’ best album thus far. Don’t @ me.