Drake and The Weeknd Wallow in their Misery

Riding the Bummer

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.


(#6 artist)

The Weeknd
(#15 artist)

Pazz and Jop 2011
Joyful Noises
Finding the bright side of 2011
By Maura Johnston

Suffering from Realness
The spotlight shines on Adele's heartbreak
By Katherine St. Asaph

Written on the Body
tUnE-yArds, PJ Harvey, and St. Vincent get physical
By Eric Harvey

Guarding the Throne
Jay-Z and Kanye West try to bring back the group listen
By Mike Barthel

Games People Play
Lana Del Rey lights up the Internet
By Tom Ewing

Riding the Bummer
Drake and the Weeknd wallow in their miseries
By Nick Murray

The Incredible Shrinking Album
Pazz & Jop's album results get Soundscanned
By Chris Molanphy

Confuse the Market
Post-crossover, indie retreats
By Scott Plagenhoef

California Demise
Tyler, the Creator and EMA feel the bad vibes
By Jessica Hopper

Most Valuable Supporting Player
André 3000 has a great year without a single starring role
By Andy Hutchins

Just Dance
The year ravers and pop fans learned to (file) share
By Michaelangelo Matos

Top 10-Plus
The year's big albums, from tUnE-yArDs on down

Singles Going Steady
Rolling down from "The Deep"

Raves and Rants
Making cases for the great and the grating

The Personals
Feelings, whoa-whoa-whoa


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Love Jason Aldean. But his album came out in 2010, albeit fall. Sigh.


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.

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