Album Review: Kiss Land by The Weeknd

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By Reilly Garrett 

When you’re an artist who jumps out of the woodwork with three critically acclaimed mixtapes, it’s clear that you don’t have anything to prove: you’re the real deal. Now, with the release of his debut studio album, Kiss Land, The Weeknd has only begun to reaffirm his position as a prominent musician of 2013.

The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye, is a Canadian PBR&B recording artist and producer whose streamline to the top of the charts has shown that’s he’s a force to be reckoned with. His new album comes after the solo release of “Kiss Land,” the title track of the album, and is dripping in sex, drugs, and broken hearts. In the opening track, “Professional,” The Weeknd croons about the nature of fame and fortune, warning us that “when your heart’s already numb, you’re professional.” With some help from Drake, he touches on this topic again in “Live For,” a dreamy homage to an addictive and poisonous life in the public eye. It would seem as though The Weeknd has a love-hate relationship with fame, and he has a lot to get off his chest.

The Weeknd hasn’t overcome any old boundaries with Kiss Land. The album essentially has the same lyrical themes as Trilogy, centering primarily on fame and sexuality, with misogynistic undertones that have aroused some controversy among feminist listeners. But as The Weeknd poses us with the same questions about physical love, emotional sex, and fame’s danger to them both, some of us can’t help but wonder: does The Weeknd have trouble relating to women, or do women have a hard time understanding The Weeknd?