It’s next to impossible to make it through a Weeknd single without contracting at least one sexually-transmitted disease. The confounding thing is, you’ll ultimately want more of what producer/singer Abel Tesfaye excels at: more VIP-booth accoutrements, more narcotized R&B-pop deliriums, more sweat-soaked designer sheets teeming with groupies and strippers, more drugs. Tesfaye has the odd gift of rendering sexual exploitation (of self and otherwise) appear wholly seductive and alluring and thoroughly creepy, the orgasmic be-all-end-all of modern fame. At his best, Weeknd opens a portal into the emotional wasteland such abandon yawns into; at his worst, he’s another leering opportunist.
Fri., Sept. 19, 8:30 p.m., 2014
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 17, 2014