If your Easter break was anything like mine, you were simultaneously eating Reese’s Easter bunny chocolates and crying to The Weeknd’s March 30 release of “My Dear Melancholy,.” Abel is back with an especially despondent “Trilogy” and “Beauty Behind the Madness”-esque reprieve from the poppier and more techno release “Starboy” in 2016.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the switch up of “Starboy,” but “My Dear Melancholy:” captures the reasons why we fell in love with Abel Tesfaye in the first place. The ballad-heavy EP is rumored to be mostly inspired by the end of The Weeknd and Selena Gomez’s 10-month relationship. But no matter the inspiration behind the EP, there is a clear, striking pain behind the melancholic lyrics.
The first track of the six song EP starts off “Call Out My Name.” The bitter ballad sets the tone of The Weeknd’s grief with a smooth, slow R&B tone with a strong downtempo drum. These lyrics along with the desperate tone in The Weeknd’s voice bring indecisive heartbreak to life: “I almost cut a piece of myself for you life. I guess I was just another pit stop ‘til you made up your mind, you just wasted my time. You’re on top. I put you on top, I claimed you so proud.”
“Try Me” catches The Weeknd in a more reminiscent moment; although the slower tone and last few lyrics help the track stay on course with the somber feel of the EP.
The third track “Wasted Times” slightly ups the tempo as The Weeknd enters a new phase in his pain. It’s rumored that the beginning of this track, “Wasted times I spent with someone else. She wasn’t even half of you. Reminiscing how you felt,” serves as a jab at Gomez as The Weeknd revisits his previous relationship with model Bella Hadid. This track prevents the EP from being overly weighed down in desolation with a quicker pace and a smooth beat that’s impossible to get out of your head.
“I Was Never There” brings in French techno artist Gesaffelstein who brings in slight techno tastes seen in “Starboy” while maintaining the steady, slow beat. In the middle point of the EP, we see The Weeknd with revisiting his old habits with drugs; however, the listener gains a new lens into The Weeknd’s internal battle as a result– one plagued with suicidal thoughts and returning to old pain suppressants.
By “Hurt You,” The Weeknd is on more of an upswing– well, a more angry one at the very least as he begins to find a bit of closure. Gesaffelstein aids in this track very well. The soft techno beats offer a bit of liveliness following the lugubrious sound of “I Was Never There.”
By the time the EP ends with “Privilege,” The Weeknd is on the mend in his own way– even if it is through sex and drugs. At this point, it’s clear The Weeknd is not looking back as he sets his sights forward with a piece of him still evidently attached to what he had before.
The album personifies feelings of lost love that are often overshadowed by reminiscing and moving on. Supported by intense vocals, a slower pace and harrowing lyricism, “My Dear Melancholy,” brings dark and visceral heartbreak to life in just 22 minutes.