For those of us who fell under The Weeknd‘s spell in 2011, the release of Trilogy can’t possibly compare to the excitement sparked when we first heard House of Balloons, or when we realized that Thursday and Echoes of Silence had finally dropped. If you were all over The Weeknd in 2011, then you know that the anticipation for the second and third installments of the free mixtape trilogy that would be released within the year was just as exhilerating, if not more so, than the actual music the collections contained.
With a little less than a year between the free release of the last installment, Echoes of Silence (it was made available on December 21, 2011) and the much promised collection of the three albums as Trilogy, some of the mystique surrounding The Weeknd and its enigmatic front man Abel Tesfaye has been cleaned up. There was a time when even knowing Tesfaye’s name felt like a privilege, let alone direct download access to his music. Now hes a touring commodity, pushing a compilation album on a record label proper (Republic Records signed The Weeknd this past September) that people are going to be expected to pay for. That’s fine for those who may never have heard of, or bothered to bottleneck their bandwidth with the download of the mixtapes, but what about the fans who had? What do they get with their cash that they didn’t get for free? Three extra tracks and a remastered collection is the short answer, and to that you could possibly add the smugness of being an early fan.
As a matter of fact, there really isn’t a long answer to that question, as I’m sure many Weeknd fans over the past year have created their own trilogy playlist with these three records back-to-back on their iPods, so really, this collection is squarely directed to new recruits. The remasters take some of the edge of the trilogy’s grit and grime, but the effect is felt throughout as opposed to being heavy-handed on any one particular track. I noticed the difference from the start of “High For This” but couldn’t quite pinpoint exactly what was different. By the time you get to the now classic “Wicked Games” (and the compilation’s official calling card) those familiar with the original could start nit-picking about the differences, but the point is moot; what made The Weeknd exciting, illicit and a guilty pleasure then is still there now.
And how. As a back-to-back compilation of music, Trilogy is an overwhelming collection about songs about drinking, drugs, girls, groupies, drugs, partying, prescriptions, drugs, joints, jukeboxes, DJs, drugs, sex, sodomy, rum, probably a lash or two, and , oh yeah, drugs. Collected together or not, Trilogy is still a beast best experienced by listening to it’s composite parts. Thursday, the middle child, is still a bit too big for its britches, bloated by its own hype and musical hyperbole, but “Lonely Star” is still my favourite song of the entire collection (and not just because I can sing along with the “Baby I could fuck you right”). House of Balloons and Echoes of Silence are the perfect counterweight to their sibling, sleek, slick, trim and tense, still the perfect going out and coming home soundtracks they respectively were when first released.
Tesfaye gvae his fans an early Christmas gift last year when he completed the trilogy collection for his fans, so it only seems right that fans in turn give Tesfaye an early gift this year by gobbling up paid for copies of the re-mastered Trilogy. The completist will need Trilogy for the three new tracks (which are great in their own right, but get lost among the sheer volume of music) and the neophyte will appreciate the one-stop, no waiting months-for-the-next-to-drop package, ensuring that the life of this party goes on for a while longer yet. Guess any hope of new music from the Weeknd is going to have to wait until all the guests finally go home.
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