The Weeknd is the most talented artist of the decade

Courtesy of NRK P3/Flickr | See bottom of story for attribution

Courtesy of NRK P3/Flickr | See bottom of story for attribution

Evan Couch, Columnist

With the recent release of “Dawn FM,” The Weeknd has been on the mind and in the ears of music buffs and fans like myself. The Toronto native and music icon has once again captured listeners with his diverse and cinematic sounds woven into his newest synth psychedelic driven project. 

The unique and cinematic experience that Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) brings to his music is something many are just now experiencing for the first time. However, the “Starboy” has been doing it for nearly a decade. 

The Weeknd is currently the best artist and has been for a while now. He has been dominating the charts, creating iconic characters, making hit after hit and constantly changing and innovating his sound.

His broken records, five Grammys, and chart-topping hits speak for themselves. He is currently the second most listened to artist in the world according to The Weeknd has had three of his major albums debut at number one on the Billboard 200 Album chart according to “Beauty Behind The Madness,” “Starboy’’ and “After Hours” all found themselves in the top spot while changing sounds and style with each album.

The Weeknd does numbers when he releases music, plain and simple.

His hit song “Blinding Lights” was crowned the greatest Billboard Hot 100 song of all time in Nov. 2021, after charting for 90 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. This astonishing record smashed the previous one held by the 1960’s hit “The Twist” by the Chubby Checkers. The Weeknd did it in just two years.

With how streaming works nowadays, it’s a lot easier for an artist to get more plays and reach bigger audiences. It’s an impressive achievement nonetheless and one that I doubt we will see change for a long while.

Records aside, The Weeknd’s unique ability to blend upbeat yet dark and dramatic music with cinematic visuals and characters is what makes him truly unique and stand out from the rest of the artists from the last decade. 

With the release of each album, The Weeknd completely commits to a whole new look and character, dedicating his social media, music videos and live performances to fit the same narrative and tell his often dark and twisted stories. 

The release of his tracks “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights” in 2019 dawned his iconic red suit character that fans followed from start to finish throughout the “After Hours” era. 

Pulling inspiration from director Martin Scorsese films such as “Casino” and the appropriately-titled film “After Hours,” The Weeknd created his own cinematic universe that was choreographed to the album. “After Hours” truly felt like a cinematic journey that brought listeners and viewers along as The Weeknd wandered through the bright and starry Vegas night lights, all while still facing his darkest inner demons.

The story being told as the red suit character through numerous music videos and live performances came to a glorious conclusion as The Weeknd took center stage in the 2021 Super Bowl.

No other artist has the vision and the level of production to pull off something quite like this. The Weeknd was able to tell a continuous, fluid story as if it was a TV show and the finale was the Super Bowl. That is hands down a one-of-a-kind era of music.

His ability to change his sound with every album shows the depth and the diversity he has in his production. Despite having often provocative and suggestive lyrics and meanings in his songs, he still pulls in listeners from every age group and I am willing to bet most people have bopped or sang along to many of his songs. 

The Weeknd’s reign over the music industry is here to stay. With “Dawn FM” just coming out, his appearances on live shows, award ceremonies and radio play will be front and center once again as he creates a new era of dark yet cinematically stunning music.

Photo by NRK P3 / CC BY 2.0