Album Review: The Weeknd reflects ‘melancholy’ feelings mixed with heartbreak


graphic by Grace Gaydosh

Grace and Ethan listen to the new project.

by Grace Gaydosh and Ethan Hart

On March 30, just a couple days after hinting at the possibility of a new album, Abel Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd dropped an EP titled My Dear Melancholy,. The album is his third consecutive No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart and all the tracks debuted on the Billboard Hot 100. This was his first release since 2016’s hit album, Starboy, which included 18 songs like chart-toppers “I Feel It Coming” and “Starboy.”

Although My Dear Melancholy, is The Weeknd’s shortest project to date, the six- track EP is packed with phenomenal lyrics and slow, smooth production that hasn’t been present in his work since his 2012 collection, Trilogy. He sings about the pain of losing his ex-girlfriends, Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez, and details the relationships through words depicting love, sex, drugs, and depression.

“Call Out My Name”

Rating: 8/10

Produced by Frank Dukes, “Call Out My Name” is sampled from Beauty Behind The Madness’ “Earned It,” and is put together fairly well. The opening song on the EP, it definitely draws attention with strong vocals and a tough beat. The production weighs very heavy and deep in the song, nearly equal in volume to The Weeknd’s voice. This is true for most of the songs on the EP, such as “Privilege” and “I Was Never There;” however, the lyrics mainly hold the song together.

Many people have speculated that “Call Out My Name” is a direct response to The Weeknd’s recent breakup with pop star, Selena Gomez, whom he had dated for about 10 months. He admits to helping Selena get out of a dark place after her breakup with Justin Bieber, but falling for her was his own downfall.

“We found each other/ I helped you out of a broken place/ You gave me comfort/ But falling for you was my mistake,” he acknowledges.

Abel closes out the second verse possibly referencing to Selena Gomez’ Lupus, where she needed a kidney transplant in 2017. “I almost cut a piece of myself for your life/ Guess I was just another pit stop/  “Til’ you made up your mind/ You just wasted my time.”

The Weeknd belts that line to make it clear she hurt him. Throughout the whole song, there is a mass amount of hurt coming from his numbed heart, and he verbalizes that hurt deeply in his lyrics.

“Try Me”

Rating: 7/10

Produced by DaHeala, Marz, Frank Dukes, and Mike WiLL Made-It, “Try Me” features The Weeknd’s original somber tone as he has portrayed in the past on the album Trilogy. The Weeknd’s collaborators added in the trap vibe to the song for a deeper effect. His taste for a nice sounding beat lessens his sourness to become sweet, in a way.

In “Try Me,” the Weeknd tries to persuade his old lover to come back to him as he doesn’t care about her new flame. In his verse “I didn’t know you were down for him finding out, I thought you had some kind of love for your man,” it is clear that if he does come between her new relationship, it won’t bother him and leave him feeling guilty.

The lyrics of this song can be convincing but also very repetitive.

“Wasted Times”

Rating: 8/10

Produced by Frank Dukes and Skrillex, “Wasted Times” is a song carried by its rhythmic bass and backup vocals. The timed beat follows the song to its end, climaxing during The Weeknd’s high notes. The production is smooth and fits the song perfectly. It ranks very high in comparison to the other songs on the album.

“Wasted Times” is a key lyrical song on this album, as it is the first to directly compare The Weeknd’s ex-girlfriends Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez. This is shown in the opening lyrics of the song, stating, “Wasted times I spent with someone else, she wasn’t even half of you.” The juicy lyrics also indicate beef with Selena’s former lover Justin Bieber, represented in the hook of the song where it says, “And what they got that I ain’t got? ‘Cause I got a lot. Don’t make me run up on ’em, got me blowin’ up their spot.” Abel sings from the heart which entices the listeners.

“I Was Never There”

Rating: 6/10

Produced by Frank Dukes and Gesaffelstein, “I Was Never There” has a sonic intro that is somewhat eerie and similar to what he produced for Kanye West’s “Send It Up.”  “I Was Never There,” along with “Hurt You” makes way for The Weeknd’s first collaboration with Gesaffelstein.

In “I Was Never There,” The Weeknd admits to poisoning himself with drugs but always finds himself crawling back to a toxic relationship. “So I poison myself again, again/ ‘Til I feel nothing/ In my soul (in my soul)/ I’m on the edge of something breaking/ I feel my mind is slowly fading/ If I keep going, I won’t make it.” There isn’t much else to the song as it is very repetitive.

“Hurt You”

Rating: 7.5/10

The song, produced by Cirkut, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo & Gesaffelstein, features synths and bass very similar to his hit song “I Feel It Coming” off his album Starboy. The autotune of Abel’s voice crooning during the hook  is very soothing and satisfying. The production is generally similar in style with the rest of the album, using dark undertones to match a melancholy sound with the depressing lyrics.

“Hurt You” is a song filled with lust and desire for a taken woman, while also rejecting the possibility of a relationship. This is likely meant towards Selena Gomez or Bella Hadid, who The Weeknd had extensive relationships with in the past. The song is repetitive on the subject of hooking up with the women and has a repeating hook of “I don’t wanna hurt you” that gets old over time. Although the meaning behind the song is interesting enough, it’s not lyrically diverse.


Rating: 9/10

The drug-enforced “Privilege,” done by  DaHeala and Frank Dukes, ranks the highest in production out of all six songs and should be. The song’s depressing undertones and suddle bass throughout the verses make for an intriguing listen. Melody is added with drowned out synths spanning the length of the song. But the best part of the production is the heavily bass-boosted hook, which drowns out The Weeknd’s voice to help the listener visualize drugs taking over Abel’s mind.

The song serves as the EP’s outro and closes the story of The Weeknd’s relationship with Selena Gomez. Abel is at the point of hurt that he will do drugs to make the pain go away. This is shown in the hook verse “I got two red pills to take the blues away.” The breakup seems to have been initiated by The Weeknd’s first verse lyric “Enjoy your privileged life
‘Cause I’m not gonna hold you through the night.” The dark turn of Abel’s life into drugs and his channeling of that pain of love lost gives this song a 9/10 rating.