The Weeknd - Starboy
Critic Score
Based on 32 reviews
2016 Ratings: #703 / 900
User Score
2016 Ratings: #602
Liked by 28 people
November 25, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
The Weeknd XO / Label
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The 405

While Starboy may not be a giant creative risk stretching away and beyond what we've come to expect from The Weeknd, it's a continuation of Abel's edgy salacious narrative and a complete assassination of pop's thematic normalcy.


It’s a musically diverse, but cohesive collection of songs that will knock anywhere — from the club to the bedroom.


Starboy won’t immortalize his legacy just yet but it will strengthen a once desolate Toronto kid’s placement in a musical sect he probably couldn’t even have ever dreamed of being in.

A.V. Club

Starboy is one of the most confident releases of the year, one bold enough to reveal the cracks in The Weeknd’s façade for the sake of resonant art.

Entertainment Weekly

Nothing matches the euphoria of “Can’t Feel My Face” or “In the Night”—nor could it. Instead, everyone plays on the Weeknd’s turf now, opting for muted hooks, hazy trap beats, and grimy house basslines that reveal little interest in pandering to the pop masses.


Starboy has something for each individual, this is without a doubt, but it has nothing for everybody as a collective, a balance he managed on his first three releases.


Those wishing for a return to the Trilogy days will have to bit a tad longer; across 18 tracks, the Weeknd proves he's ready for primetime here, but there's still a sense of feeling out the new parameters.


It may showcase a cleaner sound, both in lyrical content and production, but its value for money at eighteen tracks comes at the cost of coherence.

Pretty Much Amazing

As the Weeknd tries to find himself in that overlap while defending his spot atop the charts, he ends up losing much of the best quality of his music: the unflinching look at consequences of his lifestyle, the gradual physical and spiritual corrosion.

Consequence of Sound

It would help if more of the album were idiosyncratic that way, but as is, Starboy is still the sound of Tesfaye knowing he has what it takes to be a major figure in pop music for a very long time.


Beauty Behind the Madness managed to smuggle sleaze into the mainstream by refining Tesfaye’s pop songcraft, even as it doubled down on the darkness. Starboy eases up on both fronts, recycling melodies, ideas, and even whole songs while presenting a sanitized version of the Weeknd that often lacks any real sense of perspective.

The Guardian

Unsure whether to cravenly embrace the kind of pop stardom that gets you on the shortlist for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice awards or throw caution to the wind and do something more interesting artistically. Starboy hedges its bets and tries to do both. You can see why, but it makes for a curiously uneven album.

Rolling Stone

For longtime fans that believe the Weeknd is one of the major R&B artists of the decade, Starboy will ultimately seem like a disappointment.

NOW Magazine

At 18 tracks, Starboy delivers some pop gems, but its last third falters with a string of schmaltzy ballads eventually rescued by the Daft Punk-assisted closer.

Slant Magazine

Any apparent growth here ... is really just the cementing of a process begun on Kiss Land and perfected on Beauty Behind the Madness, remodeling an artistically marginal, genuinely interesting figure of musical menace into a toothless celebrity version thereof, espousing the same nihilistic themes in far cushier surroundings.


Deep into the album it becomes a slog, with too much banal, forgettable fluff like ‘Attention’, ‘Nothing Without You’ and ‘Die For You’ (this honestly goes, “I would die for you / I would lie for you”).


At 18 tracks, the album is a "contracted edition" playlist toolkit ... When pared down to its ten best songs, Starboy sounds like Tesfaye's most accomplished work.

Drowned in Sound

Starboy doesn’t just double down on his signature kiss-and-tell-and-then-get-upset-about-it style, though, it tells you over and over and over again something that you’ve known and understood for years. At 18 tracks deep, that’s, well, alarming.

The Needle Drop

The Weeknd follows up last year's Beauty Behind the Madness with an album that's just as much of a roller coaster in terms of style and quality.


Long since shorn of the xx-style ‘indie R&B’ minimalism that defined those early mixtapes, Tesfaye continues to sound as if he has no idea what it is that he wants to do, while still managing to stumble over a couple of commercially-friendly songs that will keep his name amongst the movers and shakers.

The Skinny

Unable to elicit more than a shrug for most of its runtime, the record is just one more passable pop album in a year that really didn’t need another.

The Weeknd's follow up to 2015's Beauty Behind the Madness is an improvement; but not very much of one. Most songs are painfully formulaic, with very shallow lyrics and anticlimactic production (aside from the Daft Punk crafted songs). Kendrick Lamar, however, absolutely kills it on his feature, even with Sidewalks being one of the more annoying songs on Starboy. Lana Del Rey does what she does best by not adding anything positive to the album, and Future lightens the mood with his verse on ... read more
Incredibly long and boring, Starboy is a painfully drawn out record.

Best Track: Sidewalks
Worst Track: All I Know
Unfortunately, The Weeknd has acquired the qualities of salt in the r'n'b gastronomy: it makes the dishes tastier, but it's bad for health.
Some of the songs are good but it's overall a mixed bag fav tracks starboy Party Monster false alarm
If Beauty Behind The Madness was a slight dip in quality, Starboy is a tremendous one. Abel loses the aesthetic that made his music interesting and memorable and replaces it with more generic and pop styles of music. The album is also loaded with filler with many songs being instantly forgotten after they finish. The features are a mix with Kendrick Lamar providing a great verse on Sidewalks and Daft Punk lending their great production to the two best songs on the album. On the other hand ... read more
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Track List

  1. Starboy (feat. Daft Punk)
  2. Party Monster
  3. False Alarm
  4. Reminder
  5. Rockin’
  6. Secrets
  7. True Colors
  8. Stargirl Interlude (feat. Lana Del Rey)
  9. Sidewalks (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  10. Six Feet Under
  11. Love To Lay
  12. A Lonely Night
  13. Attention
  14. Ordinary Life
  15. Nothing Without You
  16. All I Know (feat. Future)
  17. Die For You
  18. I Feel It Coming (feat. Daft Punk)
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Added on: September 21, 2016