The Weeknd – Starboy (2016)

cover

Starboy is the third studio album by Canadian singer and songwriter The Weeknd. It was released on November 25, 2016, by XO and Republic Records. The album features guest appearances from Daft Punk, Lana Del Rey, Future, and Kendrick Lamar. The album was supported by three singles: “Starboy“, “I Feel It Coming” and “Party Monster“.
The extent of the 2015 Weeknd commercial rebound, symbolized by platinum certifications for Beauty Behind the Madness and all four of its singles, didn’t merely embolden Abel Tesfaye. On this follow-up’s fourth track, a blithe midtempo cut where Tesfaye takes a swipe at pretenders while boasting about drinking codeine out of one of his trophies, the level of success is a source of amusement. He notes the absurdity in taking a “kids’ show” award for “Can’t Feel My Face,” in which he was “talkin’ ’bout a face numbin’ off a bag of blow.” The track actually lost to Adele‘s “Hello,” but it clearly, somewhat comically, reached an unintended demographic. It comes as no surprise that Tesfaye, on his third proper album, doesn’t attempt to optimize the reach of his biggest hit by consciously targeting youngsters. He sings of being a “Starboy” with access to a fleet of sports cars, but he’s a “motherfuckin’ starboy,” one who is 26 years old and proud to observe his woman snort cocaine off his fancy table. While Starboy often reflects an increased opulence in the personal and professional aspects of Tesfaye‘s life — from more upscale pronouns to expensive collaborations with the likes of Daft Punk (two) and “Can’t Feel My Face” producers Max Martin and Ali Payami (four) — the dark moments of vulnerability are pitch black. Lines like “I switch up my cup, I kill any pain” could have come from Tesfaye‘s mixtape debut, yet there are new levels of torment. In “Ordinary Life,” he considers driving off a Mulholland Drive cliff, James Dean style, wishing he could swap everything for angel status. It’s followed with “Nothing Without You,” a ballad of toxic dysfunction. He asks his lover if she’d feel guilty for not answering his call if he happened to die that night. It’s not all dread and depravity. There’s some sense of joy in a one-night stand, and an echo of “Say Say Say” Michael Jackson, on the Luomo-ish house track “Rockin’.” Contrition is shown in the slick retro-modern disco-funk of “A Lonely Night.” Ironically enough, in the aching “True Colors,” Tesfaye sounds a little insecure about a lover’s past. The album’s lighter, comparatively sweeter parts — the Tears for Fears-sampling/Romantics-referencing “Secrets” and the breezy and only slightly devilish “I Feel It Coming” among them — are all welcome highlights. At 18 tracks, the album is a “contracted edition” playlist toolkit. The songwriting credits list just under 40 composers, and the productions — the majority of which involve Doc McKinney and/or Cirkut, low-lighted by maneater dance-punk dud “False Alarm” — are roughly as variable in style as they are in quality. When pared down to its ten best songs, Starboy sounds like Tesfaye‘s most accomplished work.

Tracklist

1.  Starboy  (3:50)
Written-By – Thomas Bangalter / Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo / Martin McKinney / Jason Quenneville / Abel Tesfaye / Henry Walter

2.  Party Monster  (4:09)
Written-By – Ahmad Balshe / Ben Diehl / Benjamin Diehl / Martin McKinney / Lana Del Rey / Abel Tesfaye

3.  False Alarm  (3:40)
Written-By – Ahmad Balshe / Ben Diehl / Benjamin Diehl / Martin McKinney / Emmanuel Nickerson / Abel Tesfaye / Henry Walter

4.  Reminder  (3:39)
Written-By – Martin McKinney / Emmanuel Nickerson / Jason Quenneville / Abel Tesfaye / Henry Walter / Dylan Wiggins

5.  Rockin’  (3:53)
Written-By – Ahmad Balshe / Savan Kotecha / Max Martin / Ali Payami / Peter Svensson / Abel Tesfaye

6.  Secrets  (4:26)
Written-By – Coz Canler / Jimmy Marinos / Martin McKinney / Roland Orzabal / Walter Palamarchuk / Mike Skill / Peter Solley / Abel Tesfaye / Henry Walter / Dylan Wiggins

7.  True Colors  (3:26)
Written-By – Jacob Dutton / Brittany Hazzard / Magnus August Høiberg / Benjamin Levin / Abel Tesfaye / William Thomas Walsh / Sam Wishkoski

8.  Stargirl (Interlude)  (1:52)
Written-By – Timothy McKenzie / Martin McKinney / Lana Del Rey / Abel Tesfaye

9.  Sidewalks  (3:51)
Written-By – Kendrick Duckworth / Ali Shaheed Jones-Muhammad / Martin McKinney / Ali Shaheed Muhammad / Robert John Richardson / Abel Tesfaye / Daniel Wilson

10.  Six Feet Under  (3:58)
Written-By – Ahmad Balshe / Ben Diehl / Benjamin Diehl / Martin McKinney / Jason Quenneville / Abel Tesfaye / Henry Walter / Leland Wayne / Nayvadius Wilburn

11.  Love to Lay  (3:43)
Written-By – Ahmad Balshe / Savan Kotecha / Max Martin / Ali Payami / Peter Svensson / Abel Tesfaye

12.  A Lonely Night  (3:40)
Written-By – Ahmad Balshe / Savan Kotecha / Max Martin / Ali Payami / Jason Quenneville / Peter Svensson / Abel Tesfaye

13.  Attention  (3:18)
Written-By – Mustafa Ahmed / Adam Feeney / Magnus August Høiberg / Benjamin Levin / Abel Tesfaye / William Thomas Walsh

14.  Ordinary Life  (3:42)
Written-By – Ahmad Balshe / Savan Kotecha / Max Martin / Martin McKinney / Ali Payami / Peter Svensson / Abel Tesfaye / Henry Walter

15.  Nothing Without You  (3:19)
Written-By – Ahmad Balshe / Ben Diehl / Thomas Wesley Pentz / Jason Quenneville / Abel Tesfaye / Henry Walter

16.  All I Know  (5:21)
Written-By – Ahmad Balshe / Ben Diehl / Magnus August Høiberg / Abel Tesfaye / Nayvadius Wilburn

17.  Die for You  (4:20)
Written-By – Prince 85 / Magnus August Høiberg / Martin McKinney / Abel Tesfaye / William Thomas Walsh / Dylan Wiggins

18.  I Feel It Coming  (4:29)
Written-By – Thomas Bangalter / Eric Chédeville / Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo / Martin McKinney / Abel Tesfaye / Henry Russell Walter
Credits

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies a remix producer
  • “Party Monster” features additional vocals by Lana Del Rey
  • “Rockin'” features additional vocals by Kazue Lika Tatsushima
  • “Sidewalks” features additional vocals by Daniel Wilson
  • “Six Feet Under” features additional vocals by Future
  • “Attention” features additional vocals by Mustafa the Poet e Cashmere Cat
  • “Secrets” contains portions of “Pale Shelter“, written by Roland Orzabal, and embodies portions of “Talking in Your Sleep“, written by Coz Canler, Jimmy Marinos, Wally Palamarchuk, Mike Skill and Peter Solley

Personnel

  • Daft Punk – producers, featured artist (tracks 1, 18)
  • Doc McKinney – executive producer, co-producer (tracks 1, 18), engineer (tracks 1-4, 6, 8-10, 14, 16-18), producer (tracks 2-4, 6, 8-10, 14, 17)
  • Labrinth – producer (track 8)
  • The Weeknd – executive producer, co-producer (tracks 1, 5, 18), producer (tracks 2-3, 6-7, 10-11, 13, 15-17)
  • Benny Blanco – producer (tracks 7, 13)
  • Tom Coyne – mastering (all tracks)
  • Aya Merrill – mastering (all tracks)
  • Cashmere Cat – producer (tracks 7, 13, 16), co-producer (track 17), additional vocals (track 13)
  • Prince 85 – co-producer (track 17)
  • Frank Dukes – producer (track 13)
  • Jake One – producer (track 7)
  • Swish – producer (track 7)
  • Cirkut – co-producer (tracks 1, 3, 18), engineer (tracks 1, 6, 14, 17-18), producer (tracks 4, 6, 10, 14-15, 17)
  • Chris Galland – mix engineer (tracks 2, 4, 8-10, 15-16)
  • JR Robinson – drums (track 18)
  • Mano – co-producer (track 3), producer (track 4)
  • Florian Lagatta – engineer (tracks 1, 18)
  • Josh Smith – engineer (tracks 1-4, 6, 8-10, 15-18)
  • Raphael Mesquita – engineer (track 15)
  • Noah “Mailbox” Passovoy – engineer (track 12)
  • Ali Payami – producer (tracks 5, 11-12)
  • Max Martin – producer (tracks 5, 11-12); guitar (track 11)
  • Peter Svensson – guitar (track 11)
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing (tracks 1, 3, 5-7, 11-14, 17-18)
  • John Hanes – mix engineer (tracks 1, 3, 5-7, 11-14, 17-18)
  • Robin Florent – assistant mix engineer (tracks 2, 4, 8-10, 15-16)
  • Jeff Jackson – assistant mix engineer (tracks 2, 4, 8-10, 15-16)
  • Manny Marroquin – mixing (tracks 2, 4, 8-10, 15-16)
  • Ali Shaheed Muhammad – producer (track 9)
  • Daniel Wilson – additional vocals, additional producer (track 9)
  • Bobby Raps – producer (track 9)
  • Ryland Blackinton – guitar (track 12)
  • Sam Holland – engineer (tracks 5, 11-12)
  • Cory Bice – assistant engineer (tracks 5, 11-12, 14)
  • Jeremy Lertola – assistant engineer (tracks 5, 11-12, 14); handclaps (track 11)
  • Lana Del Rey – backing vocals (track 2), featured artist (track 8)
  • Ben Billions – producer (tracks 2, 10, 15-16), engineer (tracks 2-3, 10, 15)
  • Diplo – producer (track 15)
  • Simon Christianson – additional guitar (tracks 3, 17)
  • Metro Boomin – producer (track 10)
  • Dylan Wiggins – keyboards (tracks 4, 6); bass (tracks 4, 18); drums (track 5); synth bass (track 17)
  • Nathan East – bass (track 18)
  • Kazue Lika Tatsushima – additional vocals (track 5)
  • Adrian Eccleston – acoustic guitar (track 6)
  • Paul Jackson Jr. – guitar (track 18)
  • David Schwerkolt – engineer (tracks 7, 13)
  • Kendrick Lamar – featured artist (track 9)
  • Future – additional vocals (track 10), featured artist (track 16)

Notes
Released: November 25, 2016
Recorded: 2016, Conway Recording Studios, Hollywood, Gang Studio, Paris, Conway Recording Studios, Virginia Beach[2]
Genre: R&B, Pop
Length: 68:40

Label – XO / Republic

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