Starboy

The Weeknd - Starboy
Critic Score
Based on 28 reviews
2016 Ratings: #637 / 758
User Score
Based on 486 ratings
2016 Ratings: #453
November 25, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
The Weeknd XO / Label
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theweeknd.com / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

80
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.

80
XXL

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

78
HipHopDX

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.

75
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.

75
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.

70
PopMatters

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.

70
Exclaim!

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.

70
Clash

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.

67
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.

67
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.

67
Pitchfork

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.

60
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.

60
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.

60
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.

60
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.

60
NME

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”).

60
AllMusic

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.

60
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.

50
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.

40
DIY

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.

40
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.

exception
63
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
tha138
62
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.
rocketpupp
47
This album is what happens when an amazing singer who has one of the most passionate and heaviest r&b discographies out right now tries to create a more radio-friendly sound and persona. Nearly every song here is filler with no personality. The production is fine, but Abel's lyrics are so pointless and delivered in such an emotionally flat way (the exception is the song Die For You, which is my favorite song on the album) it's infuriating. Future's feature is okay, Kendrick's is excellent, ... read more
guileffb
66
Okay, this one is a good one.

It's not as good as I thought, though. This is album is huge and I feel like 10 or 12 songs would do it. But it turned out to be okay.
The Weeknd has this "Michael Jackson feel" only he knows how to do it. The downbeats are great and the melodies are not boring anymore. It's a joy.

Unfortunately, the songs look too much alike. There were times a song would end, another one would start and I wouldn't even notice it. Maybe it's because he tried to dare a ... read more
thethirdverse
NR
This is what happens when you try to please everyone at the same time- a cheesy, unlikeable mess of an album that only works about half the time. Without the strong leading singles that BBTM had and the mysterious flair that surrounded him in his past work, The Weeknd feels identityless on Starboy. It doesn't help that he tries his absolute hardest to push an unfitting Michael Jackson gimmick, either. Easily his weakest work to date.
Best: Secrets, Starboy, Die For You
Worst: Ok, is it just me ... read more
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MISC LISTS

#27/Genius Community

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