Starboy (album)

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Starboy
The Weeknd - Starboy.png
Studio album by The Weeknd
Released November 25, 2016
Recorded 2016
Studio
Genre
Length 68:40
Label
Producer
The Weeknd chronology
Beauty Behind the Madness
(2015)Beauty Behind the Madness2015
Starboy
(2016)
Singles from Starboy
  1. "Starboy"
    Released: September 21, 2016
  2. "I Feel It Coming"
    Released: November 24, 2016[5]
  3. "Party Monster"
    Released: December 6, 2016[6]
  4. "Reminder"
    Released: May 9, 2017[7]
  5. "Rockin'"
    Released: May 9, 2017[8]

Starboy is the third studio album by Canadian singer The Weeknd. It was released on November 25, 2016, by XO and Republic Records, the album features guest appearances from Daft Punk, Lana Del Rey, Future and Kendrick Lamar. The album was supported by five singles: "Starboy", "I Feel It Coming", "Party Monster", "Reminder" and "Rockin'".

Starboy received generally positive reviews from critics and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 209,000 copies in its first week. It also debuted at number one on Billboard's Canadian Albums Chart; in June 2017, the album was certified Double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Background[edit]

After the commercial success of his previous album Beauty Behind the Madness in 2015, The Weeknd hinted at the release of his third studio album on March 12, 2016, with his Instagram calling it the next "chapter" to his music.[9] On August 24, 2016, The Weeknd was confirmed by the Republic Records executive vice president Wendy Goldstein to be collaborating with the French electronic dance duo Daft Punk, during an interview with Billboard.[10] On September 7, 2016, the album was confirmed to be in production from an interview with VMAN, with influence taken from Prince, The Smiths, Talking Heads and Bad Brains.[11] In an interview with Billboard, The Weeknd revealed that heavy influences on the album were 50 Cent and the Wu-Tang Clan, the Weeknd said in the interview:

The vibe on Starboy comes from that hip-hop culture of braggadocio from Wu-Tang and 50 Cent, the kind of music I listened to as a kid. Bragging just sounds good, man. I was a teenager when I saw Scarface, and even though it was unbelievable, it's kind of cool Tony Montana could survive all those gunshots and not feel them.[12]

On September 21, 2016, the album overall and its title was officially announced,[13] with its release slated for November 25, 2016.[14]

Artwork[edit]

The album's sleeve is photographed and designed by Nabil Elderkin,[15] it features The Weeknd with shorter hair in a crouched pose with a cross necklace and is highlighted by streaks of blue neon across a neon red background. The top of the picture says the album's name in yellow lettering and the edges of the packaging are grained by the blue neon.

Promotion[edit]

Singles[edit]

On September 21, 2016, the album's first single of the same name was released digitally on music stores and streaming services, the song features guest appearances from French electronic duo Daft Punk.[16][17] The music video for the song premiered on September 28,[18] the song peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming The Weeknd's third number one single.[19]

"I Feel It Coming" was serviced to British contemporary hit radio on November 24, 2016,[5] and later to rhythmic contemporary radio on December 6, 2016, as the album's second single.[20][21] The song peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100.[19]

"Party Monster" was released to urban contemporary radio on December 6, 2016, as the album's third single.[6] The song peaked at number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100, on the album's release week.[19]

"Reminder" was released to rhythmic contemporary radio on May 9, 2017, as the album's fourth single in the United States.[7]

"Rockin'" was released to contemporary hit radio in France on May 9, 2017, as the album's fourth international single.[8]

Performances[edit]

The Weeknd was a musical guest on the season 42 season premiere of Saturday Night Live, he promoted the album by performing both "Starboy" and "False Alarm" and starred in a brief cameo on the "Weeknd Update" sketch, where he acknowledged his new haircut.[22] On November 20, 2016, The Weeknd sang "Starboy" at the 2016 American Music Awards.[23] Four days later, The Weeknd appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to perform both "I Feel It Coming" and "Starboy".[24] On December 6, he performed at the 2016 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on CBS,[25] on February 12, 2017, The Weekend and Daft Punk performed at the 2017 Grammy Awards.[26]

On November 25, 2016, all of the album's tracks played throughout The Weeknd's interview with Zane Lowe for Beats 1.[27]

Short film[edit]

On November 23, 2016, The Weeknd released a 12-minute-long short film in promotion of the album, directed by Grant Singer, who also directed the "Starboy" music video. Named Mania (stylized as M A N I A),[28][29][30][31] it features the songs such as "All I Know" featuring Future, "Sidewalks" featuring Kendrick Lamar, "Secrets", "Die for You", "Party Monster" and "I Feel It Coming" featuring Daft Punk.[28][29][30][31]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
AnyDecentMusic? 6.4/10[32]
Metacritic 67/100[33]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[34]
The A.V. Club B[35]
The Daily Telegraph 4/5 stars[4]
Entertainment Weekly B[36]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[37]
The Independent 3/5 stars[38]
NME 3/5 stars[39]
Pitchfork 6.7/10[40]
Q 3/5 stars[41]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[42]

Starboy received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 67, based on 25 reviews.[33] Annie Zaleski of The A.V. Club said, "The record is a few songs too long, and it loses steam as it progresses. But such imperfections are par for the course: He'd rather express everything he's feeling than put forth an airbrushed or idealized version of himself; in that sense, 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."[35] Michael Madden of Consequence of Sound said, "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."[43] Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph said, "What is surprising is how seamless and integrated the sound is—a really luxurious, supple groove of sparkling electronica and sinuous, melodic vocals."[4] Nolan Feeney of Entertainment Weekly said, "While musicians writing about coping with newfound celebrity is one of pop's oldest tropes, the Weeknd avoids the usual clichés with observations and anecdotes that feel specific and genuine."[36]

Ryan B. Patrick of Exclaim! said, "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."[44] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times said, "Some of the most exciting songs on Starboy are the least expected. ... But brevity is almost too central here: Some songs ("Love to Lay", "Nothing Without You") have barely any verses at all, largely relying on pre-choruses and choruses."[45] Mehan Jayasuriya of Pitchfork said, "Starboy, by way of contrast [to Trilogy], feels more like an opportunistic compilation of B-sides than an album. Who is the Weeknd? At this point, even the man behind the curtain might not know."[40] Andy Kellman of AllMusic said, "The productions—the majority of which involve Doc McKinney and/or Cirkut, low-lighted by maneater dance-punk dud "False Alarm"—are roughly as variable in style as they are in quality. When pared down to its ten best songs, Starboy sounds like Tesfaye's most accomplished work."[34] Alexis Petridis of The Guardian said, "There are things worth hearing on Starboy. It seems to capture an artist in a slightly awkward state of flux, 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."[37]

Scott Glaysher of HipHopDX said, "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."[3] Kevin Ritchie of Now said, "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, an enjoyable bit of retro lite-funk that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Random Access Memories."[46] Mosi Reeves of Rolling Stone said, "Despite an overlong hour-plus runtime and surplus of filler, Starboy does have highlights. ... But 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."[42] Jesse Cataldo of Slant Magazine said, "He remains an exceptionally talented vocalist, yet none of the many studio wizards represented in the album's by-committee structure is capable of wrenching him out of his usual morose rhythms. To be fair, none of them really try, playing to his basic talents while also coddling his laziest inclinations, swaddling songs in scintillating soundscapes that coat these sour centers in layers of sweetness."[47]

Complex placed Starboy at number 40 on their "50 Best Albums of 2016" year-end list,[48] while Billboard placed it at number 21,[49] and Variance Magazine ranked it at number 41.[50]

Commercial performance[edit]

Starboy debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 348,000 album-equivalent units, of which 209,000 were pure album sales.[51] In the US, it was the third-largest debut sales week of 2016, the second-biggest week for album streams ever (behind Drake's Views), and is The Weeknd's second number one album,[51] on June 8, 2017, Starboy was certified Double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for combined sales, streaming and track-sales equivalent of two million units.[52]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from The Weeknd's official website and album liner notes.[2]

No. Title Writer(s) Producers Length
1. "Starboy" (featuring Daft Punk)
3:50
2. "Party Monster"
  • Ben Billions
  • Doc McKinney
  • The Weeknd
4:09
3. "False Alarm"
  • Tesfaye
  • McKinney
  • Balshe
  • Diehl
  • Walter
  • Emmanuel Nickerson
  • Doc McKinney
  • The Weeknd
  • Cirkut[a]
  • Mano[a]
3:40
4. "Reminder"
  • Tesfaye
  • Nickerson
  • McKinney
  • Dylan Wiggins
  • Walter
  • Quenneville
  • Doc McKinney
  • Mano
  • Cirkut
3:39
5. "Rockin'"
  • Martin
  • Payami
  • The Weeknd[a]
3:53
6. "Secrets"
  • Doc McKinney
  • The Weeknd
  • Cirkut
4:26
7. "True Colors"
3:26
8. "Stargirl Interlude" (featuring Lana Del Rey)
1:52
9. "Sidewalks" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
3:51
10. "Six Feet Under"
3:58
11. "Love to Lay"
  • Tesfaye
  • Martin
  • Svensson
  • Kotecha
  • Payami
  • Balshe
  • Martin
  • Payami
  • The Weeknd
3:43
12. "A Lonely Night"
  • Tesfaye
  • Martin
  • Svensson
  • Kotecha
  • Payami
  • Balshe
  • Quenneville
  • Martin
  • Payami
3:40
13. "Attention"
  • Tesfaye
  • Walsh
  • Levin
  • Høiberg
  • Adam Feeney
  • Mustafa Ahmed
3:18
14. "Ordinary Life"
  • Tesfaye
  • Martin
  • Svensson
  • Kotecha
  • Payami
  • Balshe
  • McKinney
  • Walter
  • Doc McKinney
  • Cirkut
3:42
15. "Nothing Without You"
  • Diplo
  • Ben Billions
  • The Weeknd
  • Cirkut
3:19
16. "All I Know" (featuring Future)
  • Tesfaye
  • Diehl
  • Høiberg
  • Wilburn
  • Balshe
  • Ben Billions
  • Cashmere Cat
  • The Weeknd
5:21
17. "Die for You"
  • Tesfaye
  • McKinney
  • Prince 85
  • Wiggins
  • Høiberg
  • Walsh
  • Doc McKinney
  • Cirkut
  • The Weeknd
  • Cashmere Cat[a]
  • Prince 85[a]
4:20
18. "I Feel It Coming" (featuring Daft Punk)
  • Tesfaye
  • Bangalter
  • de Homem-Christo
  • McKinney
  • Walter
  • Eric Chedeville
  • Daft Punk
  • Doc McKinney[a]
  • Cirkut[a]
  • The Weeknd[a]
4:29
Total length: 68:40

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies a remix producer
  • "Party Monster" features background vocals by Lana Del Rey
  • "Rockin'" features additional vocals by Kazue Lika Tatsushima
  • "Sidewalks" features additional vocals by Daniel Wilson
  • "Six Feet Under" features additional vocals by Future

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from the album's liner notes.[2]

  • Daft Punk – producers, featured artist (tracks 1, 18)
  • Doc McKinney – executive producer, co-producer (tracks 1, 18), engineer (tracks 1–4, 6, 8–10, 14, 16–18), producer (tracks 2–4, 6, 8–10, 14, 17)
  • Labrinth – producer (track 8)
  • The Weeknd – executive producer, co-producer (tracks 1, 5, 18), producer (tracks 2–3, 6–7, 10–11, 13, 15–17)
  • Benny Blanco – producer (tracks 7, 13)
  • Tom Coyne – mastering (all tracks)
  • Aya Merrill – mastering (all tracks)
  • Cashmere Cat – producer (tracks 7, 13, 16), co-producer (track 17), additional vocals (track 13)
  • Prince 85 – co-producer (track 17)
  • Frank Dukes – producer (track 13)
  • Jake One – producer (track 7)
  • Swish – producer (track 7)
  • Cirkut – co-producer (tracks 1, 3, 18), engineer (tracks 1, 6, 14, 17–18), producer (tracks 4, 6, 10, 14–15, 17)
  • Chris Galland – mix engineer (tracks 2, 4, 8–10, 15–16)
  • JR Robinson – drums (track 18)
  • Mano – co-producer (track 3), producer (track 4)
  • Florian Lagatta – engineer (tracks 1, 18)
  • Josh Smith – engineer (tracks 1–4, 6, 8–10, 15–18)
  • Raphael Mesquita – engineer (track 15)
  • Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy – engineer (track 12)
  • Ali Payami – producer (tracks 5, 11–12)
  • Max Martin – producer (tracks 5, 11–12); guitar (track 11)
  • Peter Svensson – guitar (track 11)
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing (tracks 1, 3, 5–7, 11–14, 17–18)
  • John Hanes – mix engineer (tracks 1, 3, 5–7, 11–14, 17–18)
  • Robin Florent – assistant mix engineer (tracks 2, 4, 8–10, 15–16)
  • Jeff Jackson – assistant mix engineer (tracks 2, 4, 8–10, 15–16)
  • Manny Marroquin – mixing (tracks 2, 4, 8–10, 15–16)
  • Ali Shaheed Muhammad – producer (track 9)
  • Daniel Wilson – additional vocals, additional producer (track 9)
  • Bobby Raps – producer (track 9)
  • Ryland Blackinton – guitar (track 12)
  • Sam Holland – engineer (tracks 5, 11–12)
  • Cory Bice – assistant engineer (tracks 5, 11–12, 14)
  • Jeremy Lertola – assistant engineer (tracks 5, 11–12, 14); handclaps (track 11)
  • Lana Del Rey – backing vocals (track 2), featured artist (track 8)
  • Ben Billions – producer (tracks 2, 10, 15–16), engineer (tracks 2–3, 10, 15)
  • Diplo – producer (track 15)
  • Simon Christianson – additional guitar (tracks 3, 17)
  • Metro Boomin – producer (track 10)
  • Dylan Wiggins – keyboards (tracks 4, 6); bass (tracks 4, 18); drums (track 5); synth bass (track 17)
  • Nathan East – bass (track 18)
  • Kazue Lika Tatsushima – additional vocals (track 5)
  • Adrian Eccleston – acoustic guitar (track 6)
  • Paul Jackson Jr. – guitar (track 18)
  • David Schwerkolt – engineer (tracks 7, 13)
  • Kendrick Lamar – featured artist (track 9)
  • Future – additional vocals (track 10), featured artist (track 16)

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[90] Gold 35,000^
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[91] Gold 50,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[92] 3× Platinum 240,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[93] 2× Platinum 40,000^
France (SNEP)[94] Platinum 100,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[95] Platinum 30,000*
Sweden (GLF)[96] Platinum 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[97] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[52] 2× Platinum 2,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various November 25, 2016 Digital download [98]
United States November 28, 2016 CD [99]
Brazil December 16, 2016 Universal [100]

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  92. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Weeknd – Starboy". Music Canada. Retrieved July 26, 2017. 
  93. ^ "Danish album certifications – The Weeknd – Starboy". IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 20 June 2017.  Click on næste to go to page if certification from official website
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  96. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 2017" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved March 11, 2017.  Type The Weeknd in the top right search bar. Click on "Sok" and select Starboy and see certification.
  97. ^ "British album certifications – Weeknd – Starboy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 16, 2016.  Enter Starboy in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
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