OFWGKTA have shown us the power social media can now have. Tyler, the Creator, the hip-hop collective’s leader and producer now has over 160,000 twitter followers. His posts are funny, obscene but all in all honest and uncensored. And I ‘spose its this look into his true self that interests and fascinates us, its not as if it is run by a PR company or his manager. Tylers new ablum which drops today is eagerly anticipated by many followers, not only because of his tweeting but because of the strength of his first album ‘Bastard‘ released on the Odd future blog back on Christmas Day of 2009 for free download. It slowly grew from obscurity to an almost cult like following. Tyler is now signed by XL recording, the UK based record label who also signed the now hugely successful XX.
On March the 21st ‘The Weeknd’ a toronto based Rhythm and Blues singer, released his Mixtape ‘House of Balloons’ for free download. It took off immediately when Drake (who has over 2million followers) posted the link to ‘The Weeknd’s’ website. This is the perfect modern day PR for a muscian. Similarly Tyler gained a huge following when Kanye West (again with over 2million followers) tweeted that ‘Yonkers‘ was the best video of the year.
But it is not Drake’s tweet that enticed so many people to download ‘House Balloons’. It was the fine details; the slick design of the webpage, the black and white modern day FFFFOUND! kind of art album cover and the missing letter from his name. It is clear The Weeknd has an eye for a great photo, good design and typography.
The album starts with ‘high for this’, which sets the bar and tone for the journey you’re about to head on. A drug filled haze, dripping with heart ache and oozing style. As the first bassline hits, shivers fly up your spine, and you realise this is just any old R&B generico.
The album has the lo-fi, made in garage, almost XX or Burial like feel. But with a voice like The Weeknd’s something new is created, it adds another dimension, his vocal range and ability to sing about ugly things in a beautiful way is almost paradoxical. His voice either soars above the deep almost hypnotic tunes or entices you deeper, down into his darkness. ‘House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls‘ is a great example of this with the light first half sampling ‘Happy House‘ by Siouxsie and the Banshees then the song goes deep into a drug and girl filled fantasy, ‘Glass Table Girls’.
The Weeknd obviously knew his audience; the indie fans who spend a lot of time browsing the internet listening and searching for music and what more could they want than a few samples from Beach House’s stunning album ‘Teen Dream‘. Both tracks ‘The Party & the After party’ and ‘Coming Down’ build from one of Beach House’s simple dreamy chords, to create an eerie almost haunting feel, combine this with surging bass and lyrics like, ‘I got a brand new girl call her rudolf, She’ll probably OD, before I show her to momma’ you realise why this album is so enticing.
House of Balloons is almost like a drug in itself, you drop it and feel like WTF as euphoria hits you, you feel up, you feel down, time is distorted, your mind drifts as The Weeknd’s gorgeous voice weaves its way between the beats, the samples and your thoughts, you come down then come back up and you think to yourself I want more…
Download it here.