mystery and anonymity to his music and persona. H ouse of B alloons was the seventh most frequently mentioned album in the 2011 music publications’ end-of-year top album lists. The mixtape’s title refers to a place in Toronto, Ontario, and the music is based on The Weeknd’s experiences in Toronto. The mixtape uses the timeline and story of a party—before and after the event—with crisp sounds and dark themes. Promoted singles from the mixtape included Wicked Games and Twenty Eight . The Weeknd’s debut music video was for the song The Knowing , which featured sci-fi and futuristic themes. The Weeknd’s mysterious identity at the time, paired with the mixtape’s R&B, soul, dream-pop, and hip-hop sound, made it an excellent debut musical piece. Not only did it spark The Weeknd’s career but it also generated interest in the musician himself. T hursday (Released August 28, 2011) This mixtape was independently released on The Weeknd’s official website and met with an overall positive response from critics. Matthew Cole, a critic from Slant Magazine, called it one of the year’s “best albums.” He also wrote the following positive note about The Weeknd’s work: “The Weeknd is in full command of his craft, and at this point, it’s almost impossible for me

to imagine that he won’t deliver on the finale. He’s earned my trust, as would any other artist who had already released two of the year’s best albums.” T hursday is conceptual in nature, in that it focuses specifically on a single scenario and unpacks it throughout each song. The mixtape’s story describes The Weeknd’s relationship with a girl—how they agree to meet only on Thursdays, and how the relationship progresses, grows, and breaks down. Using subdued and smooth melodies, the created stories follow a single narrative and these specific characters throughout the mixtape. Collaborations The Zone , featuring Drake E choes of S ilence (Released December 21, 2011) The Weeknd’s final mixtape, E choes of S ilence , continued with the theme of dark and edgy songs, much like his previous two mixtapes. Rolling Stone gave it 3.5 stars, and it received a Metacritic rating of 82/100. Overall, though E choes of S ilence was not received by critics as positively, it was nominated for a Polaris Music Prize in 2012. This award is given annually to the best Canadian album—based not on genre, sales, or label but on artistic merit.

Scan here to watch the full video for The Knowing , The Weeknd’s first music video from the mixtape H ouse of B alloons




HIP-HOP & R&B The Weeknd

The Weeknd

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