The Weeknd’s “My Dear Melancholy,” EP Review

Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and you all must be thinking, “What?  Two EP reviews in a row?  This man must be crazy (as if he already wasn’t)!”  Well, this EP was a bit of a surprise release, and I adore The Weeknd, so I decided this would be a good project to review.

If you keep up with my posts, I did a review of a Weeknd song, “Pray For Me”, a couple of weeks back, and I expressed how much I enjoy his music.  His vocal stylings fit with many different types of music, and his more recent albums, specifically “Beauty Behind The Madness”, really delve into a variety of genres while keeping his signature style present.  However, as many Weeknd fans know, he started off with music a lot moodier and darker.  While I did find “The Trilogy” to be an enjoyable listen, I did not like it as much as his recent endeavors.  In preparation of this EP’s release, though, The Weeknd claimed on his Twitter that this was going to be reaching back to his old style.  I had mixed emotions on what this might entail when I heard it, but after listening to this EP a few times, I definitely have a solid opinion on it.  With that, let’s get into the songs.

Song Synopses:

#1: Call Out My Name

The Weeknd starts this EP off strong, as this is the most powerful song on the whole project.  The lyrics on this track detail The Weeknd’s feelings of love he still has for a woman after a breakup.  While I don’t care about all the drama about whether this song is supposed to be about Selena Gomez or Bella Hadid or my right fist, there is so much to like about this song.  The beat is ambient and not that present, but this allows The Weeknd’s voice to carry the song.  Especially on the second verse, we can hear him sing his heart out, and it’s one of the best vocal performances I’ve heard from him.  The lyrics let us hear his raw emotions, too, with such lines like “I said I didn’t feel nothing, baby, but I lied/I almost cut a piece of myself for your life” and “So call out my name when I kiss you/So gently, I want you to stay” proving to the audience that he is speaking from the heart.  This is truly a great song to start the EP off with.

#2: Try Me

This song switches gears from heartbreak and focuses on The Weeknd talking to a girl he is romantically involved while she is in another relationship.  The beat, compared to the last song, has a bit more pep to it, even if it is still moody and melancholic.  The Weeknd’s lyrics, though, still stay amazing.  Some could say that the subject matter of this song is overplayed, as it is just a repetition of the “I’m taking your girl” topic, but when The Weeknd pursues this moodier style, I can almost always forgive his somewhat chauvinistic lyrics because they fit with the style.  I’ll get into that more a bit later.

#3: Wasted Times

I’d say the most surprising part about this song is the fact that Skrillex co-produced it.  Along with his production on Fifth’s Harmony’s “Angel”, I’m assuming that he’s through with his dubstep days (take a moment of silence for the death of dubstep).  But, the beat still sounds good, so props to that.  Where this song ends up lacking is it’s lyrics.  This track is about The Weeknd’s infatuation for a girl, but there are many “slang” lyrics that end up sounding incredibly corny in a love song, such as “Who you pullin’ up on?/Who you gettin’ sprung for now?” and “Don’t make me run up on ’em, got me blowin’ up their spot”.  Also, the line in the second verse “I hope you know this d*ck is still an option” is laughably bad, even though I kind of like it when he is a bit of a jerk on his songs.  I would have just liked it if the lyrics were tuned up a bit.

#4: I Was Never There (ft. Gesaffelstein)

Gesaffelstein is the only featured guest on this project, and he helped co-produce this track and the next one I’ll talk about, and in my opinion, the two tracks with him on it have the best production on the EP.  What is also unique about this song is it’s structure.  It has a verse, then a long interlude that lasts about half the song, then the song switches beats at the end for a second verse, with a short outro capping it off.  I praise it for being different than the average song structure, but it also gets really boring throughout the middle of the track as the same lines are repeated in the interlude.  The last portion of this song, though, is truly a wonder.  His dark lyrics portray his sadness with vividness.  Lines like “You’d rather something toxic/So, I poison myself again, again/’Til I feel nothing” and “I’m on the edge of something breaking/I feel my mind is slowly fadin’/If I keep going, I won’t make it” stand out for their imagery.

Also, a little side note: The last line of the first verse in this song goes “And __________ is how he feels”, but I can’t figure out what goes in that blank.  The lyrics that show up on Apple Music say it’s monazite, but a quick dictionary search of that shows that monazite is some kind of mineral made of phosphate, cerium, and lanthanum, so I don’t think that was what The Weeknd was trying to convey.  Genius.com declares that the line is supposed to be “mindless sex”, but that does not sound like what he is saying at all, and that would not fit grammatically in the context of the phrase.  If you have any ideas, put them in the comments.

#5: Hurt You (ft. Gesaffelstein)

With more great production from the hard-to-spell Gesaffelstein, this song displays why The Weeknd can make being a jackass sound good in his songs.  This particular song is about The Weeknd singing to a girl who is obviously distraught for love, but he only wants to use her for his own sexual pleasures.  Not only does his greedy attitude fit with the atmosphere of the instrumentals, but it also fits with the topic.  Lyrics like “But if you call me up, I’m f*ckin’ you on sight” wouldn’t work anywhere else besides in the context of this song.  While I do not always find it great when artists act like jerks in their songs, some can work it to their advantage, and this song is a prime example of how The Weeknd can do that.

#6: Privilege

While this track does not have the worst lyrics on the EP, it is the least lyrically focused song.  It’s a little hard to tell what this song is centered on when the lyrics are all over the place.  But, its theme of general sadness is portrayed well through the clever line “I got two red pills to take the blues away” seen a few times throughout the track.  And, while it is not the most exciting song on the project, it’s lo-fi tone makes it a good song to end the EP.

Summary:

I was expecting a good project coming from The Weeknd and this EP still blew me away.  Not only does it pay homage to his old style, but it improves upon it massively.  Many songs seen on his early records like “Kiss Land” felt empty rather than ambient.  This EP makes sure that the listener can take away something from every song.  The Weeknd’s vocal work on here is as good as usual, but the atmospheric beats and well-thought-out lyrics make this whole thing really special.  Of course, the project does have it’s downsides.  Some of the lines don’t hit the way that they should, like many seen on “Wasted Times”, and there are spots that lull and get boring, but there is still a lot to love on the EP. I know that many critics have already showed indifference towards this EP, so maybe it’s my fan-status for The Weeknd that’s making me feel like this, but I think even looking at it objectively, there is a lot if good material to be found on here.

My favorite track would have to be “Call Out My Name”.  His voice is the best on this song, as it’s power exudes from his performance.  The subject matter is also really grasping.  My least favorite would be “Wasted Times”, mainly because of the lyrics that I mentioned in my synopsis of the song.

Overall, I would give this EP an 8.5 out of 10.  Do you agree?

Thank you for reading my “My Dear Melancholy,” review. If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have a song or album you would like to see reviewed, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep listening to good music! I know I will.

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6 thoughts on “The Weeknd’s “My Dear Melancholy,” EP Review

  1. Great write up dude! While I did disagree with pretty much all of your opinions hence my bored and disinterested standpoint on the EP, you certainly make some nice points. Look forward to reading more of your reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

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