When one of the biggest rappers in the world is interested in your music and wants you to be a part of his collective, then it takes very little time for the world to take notice. Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, gained interest from the blogs and OVO founder Drake back in 2010 when he was releasing music under his real name. After the release of his first mixtape (House of Balloons) in 2011, Weeknd joined Drake’s Annual OVO Fest and landed a record deal the next year with Republic Records under his own imprint label XO.
The Weeknd is an artist revitalizing the usually underwhelming R&B genre. With the release of three critically acclaimed mixtapes (House of Balloons, Thursday, Echoes of Silence), a compilation album (Trilogy) and his debut album Kiss Land, listeners can go on a journey full of sensual nights, drugs, pain, and partying under a dark undertone felt in each body of work.
The Weeknd claimed a spot on the soundtrack for the highly-anticipated film, Fifty Shades of Grey, which came out last year. Millions of women worn out the sex filled pages of these novels, so the film had a lot to live up to. The soundtrack was also under some pressure because Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele should have the perfect soundtrack to their intense story. The bedroom crooner is more conservative than usual on the slow jam “Earned It.”
The production on “Earned It” is a big change from the moody sensual tracks that can be found in Weeknd’s back catalogue. Weeknd commends his girl for being amazing in and out of the bedroom, “Girl your perfect / always worth it / you deserve it.” It’s great when artists can change up their style but I’m definitely a bigger fan of Weeknd’s signature sound. While the commercial friendly lyrics aren’t gravitating towards me, I love the use of real instruments in the production. I don’t plan on watching Fifty Shades of Grey, gave the soundtrack quite a few spins.