Starboy: A track by track review
Starboy (featuring Daft Punk)- The album's much hyped title track just might be the standout of the whole album. The song's intro is perhaps it's grooviest moment, the staggering beat left alone to give the song it's rather impressive funkiness. Although at first I wasn't particularly fond of the Daft Punk-assisted chorus, it serves as a nice bridge between the verses, and gives the beat even more of it's well-deserved spotlight.
Party Monster- Catchy, repeated chorus: check. Very unique beat with occasional spurts of electronic waves: check. Light, dreamy background vocals assisted by Lana Del Rey: check. While definitely not being complete and utter perfection, the song still serves as the The Hills of Starboy, and rightfully so.
False Alarm- The beginning of False Alarm is what saves this track from being quite a letdown, The Weeknd's dreamy vocals carrying it into the chorus. The chorus seems kind of oddly messy to me, and the raucous "hey hey" just seems out of place and weird. In fact, the shouts almost drown out the entire foot-stomping beat under it, and the screaming certainly distracts quite a bit from it. And although the ending is pretty cool, it too seems a little lost within the general loudness of the song.
Reminder- I still remain a little unsure about this track, but I appreciate the allover smoothness and coolness of the song. I also very much appreciate the Silence of the Lambs reference, which appears relatively early in the song. The chorus is also somewhat likeable, probably because it keeps the style of the overall song intact, while providing catchy lyrics and good background vocals.
Rockin'- Definitely a more electronic highlight of the album, the track personifies the general uniqueness of the album. It's definitely a song you could see used at a club scene in a movie, or a song you just might want to get up and dance to like nobody's watching. The bridge before the chorus provides a calmness before the electronic wave of the chorus itself, and gives the song a light airiness and compliments the track as a whole.
Secrets- My, runaway, absolute, no-doubt-about-it favorite of the album, Secrets is destined to be a mainstream hit, and if it isn't, it would be a tragedy and an insult to music in general. The beat may bring on some type of familiarity, and that's because it's very similar to the beat used by Tears for Fears on hit "Pale Shelter". Although the part that really shine is the bridge before the chorus in the beginning, the chorus is also very dreamy and somewhat light, and provides a smoothness to the overall funkiness of the track. What my heart desires, indeed.
True Colors- An ode to love and uniqueness, the song flows along steadily with a casual, smooth verses and a nice, velvety chorus. It feels old and new at the same time, and I will say that although the song leaves me satisfied, I am definitely not blown away.
Stargirl Interlude (featuring Lana Del Rey)- This track is not one that merely one featuring Lana Del Rey, but instead one with the majority of the song sung by the dreamy woman herself. She uses her most breathy, high notes in her repertoire, and by God it works. The Weeknd's refrain at the end provides a nice, soothing outro and compliments the restlessness of Lana's lyrics. It's more than just another interlude, this one is a standout.
Sidewalks (featuring Kendrick Lamar)- "I ran out of tears when I was eighteen" sings The Weeknd on the first line of this track. The beginning marks this song as a soulish kind of R&B, but the verses take it into more of a dream-pop. But then Kendrick comes in and compliments the song so much we aren't worried about putting it into a genre anymore. But the song isn't without it's setbacks, and this one has a few. One of the most profound is the seemingly purposeful use of auto-tune here, and it just comes out as messy to me. But no worries, the song still remains basically untarnished.
Six Feet Under- This one may remind you of earlier tracks like "Often" or "Wicked Games," and it has nice background vocals from Future, who is later featured on the album. The track also proves the diversity of the album as a whole, and reminds you of an earlier The Weeknd. But alas it's also a little boring and doesn't really hold it's own against some of the album's standouts.
Love To Lay- One of the more popish sounding tracks, it still remains smooth and rocking throughout, and it's one of the more impressive tracks. The chorus is definitely something you might expect from a boy band, but it's also got a quirky R&B charm along with it. Overall, this track could be seen either as R&B or pop, but it fits in perfectly with one of the more diverse albums we've seen this year.
A Lonely Night- A track with that features dreamy vibrato from The Weeknd is always sure to be good. This one has one of the funkier beats on the album, and sports nice bridges to a groovy chorus. It quickly fades away from its earlier self and into a more electronic groove, but then diverts itself back to where it came from, as if nothing happened at all.
Attention- A silky R&B tune, I could see it as a single somewhere down the line, but it's one of my least favorites of the album. Although it's not a personal favorite, it does have some very nice vocals on display, an interesting and unique beat, and a good personality with a catchy chorus.
Ordinary Life- One of the more inappropriate and explicit tracks, it says what it wants, and doesn't care what people think about it, much like our president. The Weeknd is right, this ain't ordinary life, and this isn't an ordinary song. It has a nice beat, but what song on the album doesn't. This song is kind of repetitive, but also very unique in itself and has an attitude that's very much all-up-in-your-face.
Nothing Without You- This is where the tone of the whole album changes from a sort of happy, revenge esque form of bragging, to a much lighter, more heartfelt sound. It's nothing that we haven't heard before though; just an everyday pop song plopped on top of another sick beat (forgive me for those words, I'm sorry). But it's still very nice to listen to and is a genuine song on the album.
All I Know (featuring Future)- One of the better tracks on the album, it shines because of the catchy chorus and The Weeknd's nice vocals that accompany, guess what, another great beat that flows nicely with the song. At nearly five and a half minutes long, it provides a nice long spot for a verse from Future that keeps the mood of the song intact, and although it is repetitive, each line seems somewhat new and is fairly catchy and unique.
Die For You- The beginning reminds me of the beginning of Sidewalks, but it turns out to be very different. This one could be dubbed as a better and more unique version of Nothing Without You. The chorus is so genuinely heartfelt and goes so well with the song that I was actually greatly moved by the song as a whole (don't judge). Just like The Weeknd thinks he's right for you, so is this song, I guarantee it.
I Feel It Coming (featuring Daft Punk)- When this one was released earlier in anticipation of the album along with Party Monster, it hyped me up for the album so much I started looking online for some merch. The song is so great, so well put together and so well complimented by Daft Punk and The Weeknd himself that if it's not a hit, the music industry today should be ashamed of itself. The Weeknd makes himself almost indistinguishable from the King of Pop himself, and the pop groove and timely background vocals keep this song from becoming another pop cleshay.
Overall Rating- 4 stars out of 5. The album is brought up so much by it's standouts that it needn't worry about it's many obvious setbacks and hurdles along the way. Personal Favorite: Secrets. Least Favorite: Ordinary Life. What's There: Great vocals from The Weeknd, some amazingly great beats, great background vocals from Lana Del Rey, great accompaniments from Daft Punk and great verses by Kendrick Lamar and Future. What's Missing: An actual collaboration from Lana Del Rey (although the interlude is nice, it's simply not the actual appearance that I was looking for). I was hoping for a feature that could be a hit or a single, one that I could hear on the radio and could do some damage to Billboard; an interlude is just not enough.