In rotation: The Weeknd’s ‘Echoes of Silence’


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In rotation: The Weeknd’s ‘Echoes of Silence.’ A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...

R&B rarely produces villains to rival its romantic heroes, but 2011 saw the arrival of a bad guy worth loving (to hate): 21-year-old Canadian singer Abel Tesfaye, who under the name the Weeknd released three albums of stark, predatory avant-soul music in which suspicion and recrimination take the place of tenderness and devotion. The records appeared (and are still available) as free downloads from the Weeknd’s website; “Echoes of Silence,” the most recent, was posted Dec. 21.


Online largesse may not be Tesfaye’s approach going forward: Beyond his own work, he collaborated last year with Drake on the latter’s hit “Take Care,” and the Weeknd is scheduled to play this spring’s Coachella festival. “Echoes of Silence” reflects that growing stature, opening with a steely cover of “Dirty Diana” that renews Michael Jackson’s groupie-baiting vitriol for the age of the private tweet; “Same Old Song” features Juicy J of the Oscar-winning Three 6 Mafia. “I’m-a work you like a pro, baby,” Tesfaye promises (or threatens) in “Outside,” and the ambiguity seems like no accident.

The Weeknd
“Echoes of Silence”


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—Mikael Wood