Believe it or not, The Weeknd’s third instalment of his free mixtape series was released way back in 2011, [to wide spread critical acclaim] Echoes of Silence is one of those albums you downloaded ages ago and never got round to listening to. It’s been sitting on my hard drive filling up space and today was the first time I’ve managed to have a listen (it came up on shuffle and I couldn’t be bothered to get up and change it).
Canadian-born The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, has an undeniably incredible voice, and it’s a good album/mixtape. His voice is dynamic and the production compliments it intelligently, booming drums dominate the mixtape giving it a dark, isolated project which make it all the more exciting. The Weeknd smashes a cover of Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana as the opening track,it’s still the same song, but with a set of balls. Crazy drums seem to grow bigger and more daunting as the track goes on, and try to outshine his voice but despite being soft, it’s just not happening and his voice dominates.
Following tracks Montreal, Outside and XO/The Host follow in suite with the manic drums and all make for further highs of a solid effort. Then, at track 5, things take a dramatic turn- on Initiation, The Weeknd’s vocals are altered and tuned throughout the song and it sounds as if three or four people are singing as apposed to just the one, what’s more it sounds like some are men and some are women, this incredible dynamic talent is something I doubt many artists can pull off in the same manner.
However, despite having such a promising and entertaining beginning, Echoes of Silence ultimately falls off, goes flat and floats by, without much of it grabbing your attention. Next is its saving grace and is a good song, but tracks surrounding it fall short. Finally, a black-sheep-type cameo from Juicy J on Same Old Song is so out of place it’s silly.