I confess I underrated House of Balloons when I first heard it. Discovering its potential and beauty in full took me few listens but I am not going to make the same mistake with Echoes of Silence, the third and last part of The Weeknd’s aka Abel Tesfaye’s game-changing cryptic R&B trilogy. It happens that The Weeknd is the real saviour of music as his ideas did not end with the brilliant House of Balloons. What is more, Echoes is his most coherent and solid release (and whisper it, probably the best). The pace comes tamed yet do not fear: the album bursts with great tracks. D.D. is a powerful cover of Dirty Diana by Michael Jackson. It seems now that all the comparisons to King of Pop were not out of place. Outside is way more introverted and is the finest of the string of four majestic songs that make up the core of the record. It has a great xylophone part that just fantastically collates with a deep bass. XO / The Host means a double eargasm. Initiation finds the singer dramatically striving against his demons. Finally, the beat of Same Old Song could be played for all eternity. The aura of darkness envelops those Echoes making the voice of Abel the light to happily get through.

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: D.D., Initiation, Outside, Same Old Song, XO / The Host

Listen to Outside: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umvomiY7804

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Thursday is the second (and probably not the last one) mixtape by The Weeknd released in 2011. House of Balloons may have High for This but it is Thursday that shows Abel as unstoppable. The problem with House was its meditation mood and slow pace. Here, everything goes smoothly. Lonely Star is a fine song that sets the tone for the whole album while The Zone features Drake, The Weeknd’s mentor, but you have to wait a moment for the real treasures. The Birds is a two-part marvel: Part 1 has a superb marching beat and Part 2 would not feel out of place on a Tarantino soundtrack. Rolling Stone successfully combines acoustic guitar and a returning drum-like sound. I hope that The Weeknd will end his puzzling trilogy with the strongest link.

hydrameter: 3/5

Key Tracks: Rolling Stone, The Birds Part 1, The Birds Part 2

Listen to Rolling Stone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCPkgAIANys

The Weeknd’s first mixtape opens strong with High for This, an emotionally and creatively compelling song which razes to the ground all bland efforts of contemporary R&B starlets. Unfortunately, some tracks feel too long. Don’t be fooled: House of Balloons is demanding and rather dark but, above all, it is a promising start. A fresh blood that might change black music.

hydrameter: 3/5

Key Tracks: High for This, House of Balloons / Glass Table Girls

Listen to High for This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX9DgavXiN4