House Of Balloons

Critic Score
Based on 18 reviews
2011 Ratings: #82 / 1028
Year End Rank: #4
User Score
2011 Rank: #14
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House of Balloons is a record comprised of slow-burning bangers, expertly crafted and dripping with a refreshingly ugly prettiness.

No Ripcord

He commands the mood better than artists who have been in the game for years and yet this his first release.

Beats Per Minute

An explosive debut unlike most of whatever is on Hot 97 or whatever your city uses to listen to Drake.


The group's penchant for druggy atmospherics is mirrored in their lyrical content, which is overtly sexual, narcotics-focused, and occasionally downright frightening.

A.V. Club

Tesfaye breaks from radio sensibilities ... by pushing the unrest and inner turmoil those singers periodically touch on to unsettling extremes.

Coke Machine Glow

House of Balloons is an album suspended in contradiction—a collection of sex jams tired of sex, or a paean to coke addled irretrievably by the same. It lacks dynamism because it has to; the Weeknd know nothing else, just that in every solid groove lurks the metronomic pulse of something waiting to die.

Pretty Much Amazing

Even detesters of r&b will not be able deny the sheer musical prowess of House Of Balloons.

Spectrum Culture
Its sound is not as unprecedented as might be claimed, marrying the dark side of a genre already known for excess with the clinical melancholy of indie-rock, but it is without a doubt effective.
FACT Magazine

This is a record that’s as ice cold as it is sad; for those who find Drake too much to stomach it might be off-putting, but for fans of the Canadian, it might just mark the arrival of a brand new obsession.

NOW Magazine

Lyrically, the mood vacillates between confrontational and reflective, but House Of Balloons really soars when his blunt resolve collides with a more nuanced or gentle vocal delivery, creating a tension reminiscent of Aaliyah’s clear-headed emotional states.

Rolling Stone
The wormy hooks and earnest falsettos suggest the possibility of ginormous hits if Weeknd were to clean things up a bit, both lyrically and sonically. But let’s hope that doesn’t happen too soon.
The Line of Best Fit
The Weeknd offers an inviting reminder that dark matters are engaging and synonymous with a swagger that draws on peers of yesteryear as well as the present.

Despite being a free mixtape, House of Balloons feels like a true album, a true labor of love (and pain and hardship and everything else), more genuine than more prominent R&B stars, but perhaps that is due to The Weeknd’s anonymity. The music stands before the image – indeed, defines the image – contrary to so many other artists.

Consequence of Sound

They bring to the table the most interesting, depressing, and drug-infested R&B record in years.

Drowned in Sound

For what The Weeknd have produced, regardless of what genre it is or isn’t, is a very good record.

Resident Advisor

At the very least, House of Balloons is a pertinent reminder that it's possible—in the right hands—for R&B to sound as experimental as anything else.

House of Balloons is no turning point in a field populated by dozens of elder space cadets and mood architects, from Massive Attack to Spacek to Sa-Ra. As a flawed first step from a young newcomer, however, it's impressive.
The Needle Drop
Though I'm all for any efforts the artists of today make to change the R&B landscape, the lyricism on this LP sticks up like an unwelcome weed.

Has anyone watched fantanos review.... It's NOT GOOD.

Favorite Tracks: High For This, What You Need, House Of Balloons / Glass Table Girls
The Morning, Wicked Games, The Party & The After Party, The Knowing

Worst Track: Loft Music


The comparison has been made before, but The Weeknd is essentially Michael Jackson if he was a huge partygoer and suffered from endless depression and substance addiction. "House of Balloons" pretty much capitalizes this by instantly hitting us with its druggy atmosphere and Abel's tenor vocal delivery. His pen game isn't anything great, but this record makes the lyrics work in his favor. Overall, The Weeknd's debut mixtape stands, with the rest of "Trilogy", as his best ... read more


Dark, depraved and disturbing yet intensely provocative. I think it's safe to say that Abel changed the RnB game forever.


very very solid this is the first album that I have heard from their discography and the truth is that it left me intrigued to see how their sound evolved I want to listen to the trilogy first but if it is a very solid R & B album, I consider that there are better works of the same era that they came out at the same time or a little later that conceptually and musically they are much more interesting but still this is very good


Listening to this at 13: I like voice, I like beats.

Listening to this at 25: You always come to the parties...To pluck the feathers off all the birds 😭

This album means a lot to me because I grew up with it, but didn't understand it. When I reached an actual age where I did some of the things that Abel talks about in some of the tracks, it hits on a million different levels. This tape was my life in music form for 6 months. Coming Down will always be a song that takes me to a place of ... read more



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