If 2011 continues the way it has, it may be remembered as the year of alt R&B. Odd Future’s Frank Ocean released his album a few weeks ago, James Blake put out a full-length that is arguably more R&B than dubstep, and left field artists like How to Dress Well are taking R&B to strange, murky places. Now, Drake acolytes The Weeknd have dropped the House of Balloons mixtape, which may come to define the genre. Filled with production that seems the auditory equivalent of softcore porn film negatives, a track like "The Morning" exemplifies their sound by being both melancholic and drugged-out but still sexy (and often beautiful). The Weeknd’s Twitter feed repeats the phrase “til we overdose” and lyrics like “codeine cups painted pictures so vivid” don’t appear to be tongue-in-cheek. All of this mopery begs an interesting question: If fucking and drugs won’t do it for these new R&B stars, what will?
The Weeknd—House of Balloons
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