Sources confirmed to Billboard on Thursday (March 29) that The Weeknd would be blessing the world with new music on Friday (March 30), while “taking it back to his roots.” The 28-year-old pulled an entire 180 from his 2016 Starboy phase, which saw the XO artist embrace his global pop stardom, ahead his forthcoming Coachella headlining performance in April. Abel returns to his Trilogy roots, providing six harrowing tracks on My Dear Melancholy.
The project's lone collaboration features French DJ Gesaffelstein, who worked with The Weeknd on a pair tunes. Famed producer Frank Dukes pops up on another major project, as he's credited as an executive producer along with Tesfaye on the EP. Other producers who participated in crafting the ominous sound for the effort include Daheala, Marz, Mike WiLL Made-It, Skrillex, Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and more.
The Weeknd makes the most the 21 minutes he lets fans into his somber world. The dark songs find the House Balloons artist agonizing over the trials and tribulations his recent life. Bristling lyrics referencing former relationships, sex, and drug use are aplenty on the record. If you're a fan earlier work from the R&B singer, this unfiltered project is sure to pique your interest.
Billboard attempts to rank each track on My Dear Melancholy below.
6. “Try Me”
A plethora talented producers made their mark on “Try Me.” DaHeala, Marz, Frank Dukes, and Mike WiLL Made-It each fered up their expertise in getting behind the boards to create the song's haunting tone. The second track f My Dear Melancholy sees the Republic Records crooner attempting to persuade his love interest to leave her man and get back with him.
The Starboy artist implements lyrics he's had in the stash. “I thought you had some kind love for your man/ Well, I'm not tryna break up something/ You've been working out, you've been steady,” he sings. The Weeknd previously utilized similar bars during a 2014 cover Beyonce's “Drunk In Love” at a live show.
5. “I Was Never There” Feat. Gesaffelstein
Gesaffelstein is probably best known in the hip-hop world for his contributions to Kanye West's futuristic Yeezus album. The French DJ earned himself co-production credits on West's “Black Skinhead” and “Send It Up.” Here, he teams up with Frank Dukes for the synth-laden “I Was Never There.” The intro's sonic is eerily similar to what he produced for Kanye on “Send It Up.”
The R&B singer admits to poisoning himself with copious drugs but always finds himself crawling back to this toxic relationship. “So I poison myself again, again/ 'Til I feel nothing/ In my soul (in my soul)/ I'm on the edge something breaking/ I feel my mind is slowly fading/ If I keep going, I won't make it,” he croons.
4. “Hurt You”
The second collaboration with Gesaffelstein is reminiscent classic Abel. “Hurt You” sees The Weeknd exude his wide-ranging singing abilities here more than any other track on the EP. The Grammy Award-winning artist warns another woman to keep her distance, as he's not truly in love with her even through their sexual past.
“'Cause all the nights you slept alone dryin' your eyes/ And all the nights you thought about taking your life/ 'Cause if it's love you want again, don't waste your time,” he quips. “But if you call me up, I'm fucking you on sight.”
“Privilege” takes the honors as the outro My Dear Melancholy, as the Toronto native keeps his word count abbreted on the concise track, which clocks in at under three minutes. The talented singer-songwriter makes a shrewd reference to The Matrix scene when Neo has the option taking a red or blue pill from Morpheus.
The drugs symbolize how people can medicate themselves to lose touch with reality. “They said our love is just a game, I don't care what they say/ But I'ma drink the pain away, I'll be back to my old ways/ And I got two red pills to take the blues away,” he mournfully concludes.
2. “Wasted Times”
Frank Dukes teams up with the legendary Skrillex for the sinister beat. The Weeknd makes subtle references to his high prile relationships with Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez from the past. He opens the tormenting song by flipping Selena's “Same Old Love” lyrics “I'm not spending any time, wasting tonight on you,” into a shot at Gomez. “Wasted times I spent with someone else/ She wasn't even half you,” The Weeknd subliminally sings.
The California transplant later references Bella Hadid's past as an equestrian, which she had to give up on due to suffering from Lyme's Disease. “You were equestrian, so ride it like a champion (I'll beat it)/ This sex will get you high without no other substance,” claims Abel.
1. “Call Out My Name”
The XO singer clearly had some things he wanted to address to set the tone for what was to come on My Dear Melancholy. The Weeknd sheds the pop label to shift the narrative back to the menacing themes fans came accustomed to earlier in his career. He admits to helping Selena get out a dark place after her nasty split with Justin Bieber, but falling for her was his downfall. “We found each other/ I helped you out a broken place/ You gave me comfort/ But falling for you was my mistake,” he confesses.
Abel closes out the second verse possibly referencing Selena Gomez' Lupus, where she needed a kidney transplant in 2017. “I said I didn't feel nothing baby, but I lied/ I almost cut a piece myself for your life/ Guess I was just another pit stop,” The Weeknd emotionally belts. “Til' you made up your mind/ You just wasted my time.”