The Weeknd - Belong to the World | Track Review | By Volume

What is this life, why do we strive? Fast on a wheel, too fast to feel. One day, my love, this life will slow. Sam Brookes - One Day
weeknd - belong to the world

The Weeknd

Belong to the World

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Author: on July 15, 2013

Abel Tesfaye has been embroiled in controversy from the very origin of his dark R&B alter ego The Weeknd, starting with accusations that the concept was stolen and uncredited by former collaborator Jeremy Rose, to pre-printed signatures on the overpriced vinyl pressing of his trio of mixtapes. The second single of his major-label debut (the laughably titled Kiss Land) continues to pile credence to the suspicion that Abel is quite the douche: minutes after the premiere of its video, Portishead frontman George Barrow tweeted in frustration: “”I think it’s a load of bollox. When someone asks to sample you and you refuse they should have the respect as a fellow artist to not use it.” “Belong to the World” pilfers the iconic rapid trigger percussion of “Machine Gun,” using it as a pedestal for airy R&B synths and another Abel treatise on the dangers of love or whatever. The sped-up sample registers as stilted and forced, lacking the grounded drive of the original incarnation; that it’s the most interesting aspect of the track, drawing the ear away from the limp chorus and exhausted melodies, speaks to how the creativity well seems to have dried up early for The Weeknd.

I should be frank and attribute part of my distaste of Abel’s recent output to moral grounds. It’s a contentious issue to raise, but when it’s this intertwined with an artist’s output, it bears considerable weight. With Kanye, it’s easy to overlook his personal character because it never compromises his integrity as an artist; not so for Abel, who seems content with a “con” prefacing that title in his pursuit for dollars. The two lead singles off Kiss Land also smack of major-label shtick in their exploitation of trends, as they both blatantly sample the work of other artists. The title track pulls from the production of Main Attrakionz’s underground rap, while “Belong to the World” capitalizes on the mainstream familiarity of Portishead. It’s disappointing that a once inventive artist is now placing his bets on what’s hot and lucrative, but for those that have been tracking The Weeknd’s development, it’s all too expected.

I’d talk to you about the video below, but I can’t view it. In a tellingly corporate move, the single was debuted on MTV and restricted to the US only. Yes, if you reside in Canada, you can’t access the latest premiere by this Canadian artist. Cheers.

But pssst! You can actually hear it here:


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