Kiss Land ‘Focuses on the Experience’

Derek Kademian, Arts & Entertainment Editor

“Professional”, is not only the first track off of The Weeknd’s de- but studio album Kiss Land, but it’s also exactly how you would describe the essence of the album. Abel Tesfaye has spent his career thus far strictly releasing criti- cally acclaimed mix tapes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After signing a record deal with Repub- lic Records last Sep., he released The Trilogy, in which he compiled all of his previous mix tapes; Tes- faye has been hard at work.

Stepping away from the mini- malism found in The Trilogy, The Weeknd dives into a much larger sound. If you would compare “Be- long to the World” to “The Party & The After Party” they sound like they could be completely different artists.

The Weeknd started off as a mysterious minimal artist that gave you the creeps. But now that he’s stepped more in the spotlight between lawsuits, touring, BFFing it up with Drake and literally put- ting his face on the cover, maybe this is a sign of change.

Following his formula for slow tempo’d R&B, Kiss Land delivers where his mix tapes simply couldn’t. The most noticeable difference is the clarity in vocal arrangements. Tesfaye has almost gotten rid of all traces of his mum- bling singing which created lyrical confusion in the past. It may have just been the style that he preferred, but thankfully he’s grown out of it. Unlike his mix tapes, Kiss Land steps away from the destructive nature of mixing drugs and women and just focuses on the experience itself.

Albums like Kiss Land and Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange have been giving R&B a wider audience and a whole new per- spective, while at the same time; they pay homage to the legends of the past. Tracks like “Wander- lust” make you pause and realize how similar it sounds to Michael Jackson. Upon first listening to the track, you’re kind of convinced he’s MJ’s re-incarnation. At the same time this doesn’t discredit The Weeknd’s originality. The two have plenty of differences in terms of flow and style.

As it lies, Kiss Land is defi- nitely a solid album, especially for his first studio album. The Week- nd still remains mysterious in my mind because of the way his voice slithers under your skin. If his up- coming shows at Radio City are anything like they were last year, Kiss Land will be a treat to see pre- formed live.