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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.

80
The Telegraph
What is surprising is how seamless and integrated the sound is – a really luxurious, supple groove of sparkling electronica and sinuous, melodic vocals. As executive producer, Tesfaye evidently remains very much in control.
80
Spill Magazine
The songs are dark, brooding and mysterious but they gleam with insight and tactful storytelling. The sounds are glamorous, the melodic vocals shimmer and the beats stick deep in your bones. The entire piece is fluid and cohesive while showing the diversity he hoped to express.
80
The Young Folks
Contrary to what one may think, this continued slide towards plasticization works in The Weeknd’s favor as it puts his tales of dulled modernism in their proper context.
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
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
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
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
Spectrum Culture

Starboy moves closer to the dying center of dance-pop, digging for something new in a field of bones.

60
The Observer
Abel Tesfaye may play at being ambivalent about his superstar status, but his third album still has mainstream massiveness firmly in its crosshairs, with even more overt pop influences to the fore.
60
The Independent

Like Eminem and Kanye West, Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye capitalises on his lack of social graces.

60
Sputnikmusic
Tesfaye's lyricism is laced with so much casual nihilism that it acts like a crutch rather than a character trait.
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.

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
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
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
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
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.

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
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.

40
FLOOD Magazine
The Weeknd isn’t interesting enough to draw a deeper look.
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.

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.

GersonAOTY
72

Starboy brings a mesmerizing sound with a really luxurious, supple groove of sparkling electronica and sinuous with melodic vocals, but unfortunately it doesn't reach its maximum potential, after the interlude there are a lot of songs that are fillers that just don't sound completely original or creative, at least compared to the first part of the album.

The highlights of this album are definitely the collaborations with Daft Punk that bring an innovative and captivating sound, I would like ... read more

POPDESIGN
70

When I listened to the beginning of the Starboy album, I wondered why it was so undervalued.

However, the question was solved only after listening to the entire tracklist. There are many good tracks, but there are also quite a few songs that are repetitive and lacking ideas. The album Starboy had sufficient potential, and The Weeknd made a bold attempt here, but unfortunately did not meet that expectation.

Highlights : Starboy, A Lonely Night, True Colors or Party Monster

Drfauci_vaccine
60

It’s alright I guess some good hits nothing special

77

This album is good and that's about... it. Sure Starboy and Party Monster are two tracks that really stand out to me but this almost feels like a prelude of what's to come. Abel just isn't quite there yet here

81

The Weeknd's second mainstream album somewhat keeps the bar where it was set with bbtm but the same problem shows on this album too but this time even more noticeably it is really inconsistent this has some off Abel's better cuts on the record but it is mostly just filled and streched out with simply good (at best) songs but all together it's good

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Track List

1Starboy
3:50
feat. Daft Punk
91
2Party Monster
4:09
82
3False Alarm
3:40
78
4Reminder
3:38
81
5Rockin’
3:52
74
6Secrets
4:25
82
7True Colors
3:26
74
8Stargirl Interlude
1:51
72
9Sidewalks
3:51
82
10Six Feet Under
3:57
70
11Love To Lay
3:43
73
12A Lonely Night
3:40
77
13Attention
3:17
65
14Ordinary Life
3:41
72
15Nothing Without You
3:18
68
16All I Know
5:21
feat. Future
60
17Die For You
4:20
85
18I Feel It Coming
4:29
feat. Daft Punk
91
Total Length: 1 hour, 8 minutes
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Added on: September 21, 2016