By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Drake and the Weeknd don't solve these problems, all of which extend far beyond Billboard and MediaFire. They do, however, treat them as catalysts for both themselves and their music, refusing—perhaps unable—to remove themselves from the spectacle and critique safely from the sidelines. In doing so, they make few pretenses about the contradictions on which their music is based—in fact, they revel in them, creating a new starting point from which that generation (of both artists and listeners) might proceed.
Try as I might, I just cannot get into Drake. His music is so ... anti-climactic, it's just boring. While I get that I haven't actually heard it before, I'm pretty sure I have. And not in the good way, like the first time I heard "Only Time" by Enya which managed to magically transport me to a place I had never been and illicit a feeling I had never felt before. Drake is so overly familiar it's irritating. I love the idea of a "hard ass dude being a gentlemen" but his music is so trying I just don't even know where to start. And I want to like him; I'm a mixed girl - I'm down to support my mixed-brethren, but I just can't. Not with this dude.
Conversely, with The Weeknd I can't stop myself from devouring his music. I listen to his music like a whore to crack. He's somehow managed to take everything I love about R&B (the sound) and hip hop (the bravado) and add that missing ingredient (bleakness? drugs?) to make it absolutely phenomenal. I swear, he brings me to the verge of spontaneous combustion - every damn cell in my body vibrates with joy when I hear his music. And, unlike Mr. Murray, I feel the trilogy only got better as it went along.
I agree that they are both talking about, essentially, the same thing: "...the struggle for authentic human relationships; the ultimately fruitless search for pleasure through money, drugs, and women; the way that the women in this world they so carefully present rarely exist as more than a means for achieving that pleasure...." But Drake's efforts feel less sincere than The Weeknd's. Maybe it's because of Drake's Young Money ties, or the fact that one of his mentors is a one of the most unacceptable specimens of human being I've ever had the displeasure of knowing of, or the fact that he comes of as a Creepy-Creeper. Maybe it's that The Weeknd's obscurity allows him to come off as more genuine because there's no media-personality to associate with him. He's just that unhappy unknown dude in the corner who's not miserable to be around and has a voice that makes my panties drop.
God, I hope The Weeknd continues with his soul-shattering sounds and avoids the inevitable sterilization that comes with a big-money record deal.