The Weeknd-Kiss Land Album Review by Victoria Asbury

The Weeknd- Kiss Land Album Review- Victoria Shantrell Asbury

Title: Kiss Land
Artist: The Weeknd
Label: XO, Republic
Genre(s): R&B, Hip-Hop, Pop
Released: September 10, 2013

Canadian crooner, The Weeknd, just released Kiss Land—a solid album that won’t disappoint loyal fans who’ve been with Abel since the days of House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence. Each of The Weeknd’s albums have different overarching themes with common motifs being drugs, sex, love & fame. Similar to his XO mentor & label-mate, Drake, The Weeknd focuses on fame & depression on Kiss Land.

The Weeknd makes every pain-filled track sound so damn good; one can easily ignore The Weeknd’s confessions and cries for help on this dark, reflective album. Most of the tracks have a sexy, electronic instrumental quality that makes for a perfect late-night album. However, if one decides to actually LISTEN to Kiss Land and not simply “hear” it, they’ll quickly realize that the album is bitter sweet. For example, “Love in the Sky” sounds like it should be at the beginning of everyone’s sex-playlist… until you listen to the lyrics, which include:

“How does it feel? Do you feel like you did before? Do you see the world getting small? How does it feel? Are you free? As for me, I’ve been getting grown; as for me I’ve been getting old. As for me, been flying around the world; I been killing these shows but I’m always getting high, ‘cause my confidence’s low and I’m always in a rush, ain’t no time to fuck slow.”

How not sexy is that!

“Love in the Sky” is followed up by “Belong to the World,” which is not a sexy track—it’s up-tempo—but it is a “love song” of sorts. The 23-year-old singer seems to be professing his love for an “entertainer” (read: stripper) as he sings:

“I’m not a fool, I just love that you’re dead inside (that you dead in side). I’m not a fool; I’m just lifeless too. But you taught me how to feel, when nobody ever would (nobody ever would). And you taught me how to love, when nobody ever could.”

“Pretty,” the other love song on Kiss Land is almost just as heartbreakingly sad as the rest of the album.

Beyond the depression, listeners will not be able to escape the Michael Jackson influence. When The Weeknd sings “precious little diamond, I belong to you… pretty little diamond” on the 80s-inspired “Wanderlust,” the singer sounds so much like MJ that it’s almost scary.

“Kiss Land,” the title track, is the most interesting song on the album. The first part of the 7 minute 36 second song has a “theme park” quality. There are whimsical chimes and screams of a girl in the background. The Weeknd does not seem depressed as he sings about sex with fans. There is no element of reflection on this track; The Weeknd seems to be painting a picture of his life, as it seems, not as it is. The second half of the track transitions into what some might describe as strip club music; the bass is turned up and the mood is turned down. The Weeknd begins to sound more like a rapper in both his style of singing and his lyrics. He goes on to tell listeners, “This ain’t nothing to relate to… Even if you tried.” This track puts the album into perspective. “Kiss Land” is the fantasy place where The Weeknd lives, consisting of sex, drugs & his rapper friends. This life “ain’t nothing to relate to” because it is not real; it’s fabricated; it’s produced. However, Abel’s feelings of depression, pain and loneliness are real and relatable. Ironically (or perhaps intentionally), the real Abel is over shadowed by the high quality production of the synthesized instrumentals heard throughout the album.

Thus, Kiss Land will probably become the fall soundtrack for every college student and 20-something entertaining late-night guests. Kiss Land is the soundtrack for a generation that hears but does not listen.

Rating: A-

Tracks We Like: Professional, The Town, Wanderlust, Kiss Land

BUY KISS LAND

Professional

The Town

Wanderlust

Kiss Land

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