The Weeknd
Trilogy


3.5
great

Review

by Alex Beebe USER (126 Reviews)
November 15th, 2012 | 109 replies | 16,589 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Merely a collection of Tesfaye’s three mixtapes that never makes a convincing argument for why it’s necessary. The only characteristic exclusive to this compilation that differs from the originals is the shockingly poor and uneasy mastering work.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

Ontario native Abel Tesfaye’s rise in popularity and subsequent acclaim by critics and fans alike of his experimental R&B music released under the alias “The Weeknd” would have to lead to a very much hyped and anticipated official debut album sooner or later. It appears it’s arrived sooner than expected, as after independently posting his music on YouTube for streaming and then compiling that music into three mixtapes available for free digital download all throughout last year, The Weeknd’s first release that is purchasable in physical format is upon fans in the form of a collection of his three mixtapes, appropriately titled Trilogy.

It’s only natural to question the point of Trilogy’s existence. As it turns out, the only reason for it being released is to mark the new plateau of success he’s achieved by having signed to his first major record label the Universal Republic Records. In this way, Trilogy just mainly seems like a release in celebration of all the fame Tesfaye has garnered, with not much else purpose besides that. When signing to a major label, the label is understandably eager to get out a release from the newly signed artist, but even if the label itself needs to release it, fans may not find themselves having much need for Trilogy, especially if they have already downloaded these songs for free last year. That is of course, unless they desire to own a physical CD copy of the content (unfortunately being the only option as Trilogy was disappointingly not released in vinyl format).

The minor features included in Trilogy that prevents the songs on this compilation from being virtually identical to the ones released by Tesfaye himself - as one would most likely assume - are that the songs are supposedly “remastered” versions of the original. “Remastered” is a tad bit of a strong word to use for the changes that have been made here. It was only last year that these songs were produced, and the technology used to master the originals has barely changed, so it’s honestly an exaggeration to call the versions found on Trilogy “remastered” when they’re really just tweaks to the details in songs. These tweaks however, have anything but minuscule effects on all of the track’s as a whole, as Trilogy surprisingly features significantly lesser quality than the original versions of the mixtapes.

For whatever reasons, the mastering job that was done here makes these versions of all the songs feel very strained and limited. Interesting and unique aspects of the versions found on the mixtapes such as samples and distortion effects are cut, seemingly in favor of making this music less obscurely experimental and more accessible. The hazy overcast these songs once emitted has been relinquished and replaced by a polished and poppy sheen. Aside from the songs losing certain quirks about them, the music in general just feels choppy and watered down. The atmosphere of tracks and all their minute details no longer engulf and surround the listener, the layers instead sounding stacked on top of each other and processed, with the intricate left-field beats of the originals hushed for what appears to be the sake of streamlining the music.

Tesfaye's vocals also sound like they have been amplified and put above the music itself. Tesfaye's main appeal to mainstream R&B audiences is his voice alone, which certainly grabs their attention much more than the beats behind it. So mixing the songs to put more emphasis on his vocals is a logical choice if the intention is to mainly cater to the crowed who could care less about the sound that supports The Weeknd, but Tesfaye already went fairly over the top in his vocal performances on the original versions of these songs, and putting them even more at the front of the songs than necessary just makes his vocals all the more overblown, and gravely overwhelms every other aspect of the music backing him too much of the time on these masters.

Though if fans can tolerate and get past the shoddy mastering edits, these are still the same songs they know and love at their cores. Indeed, this is still the same Weeknd at heart, R&B for those who have more experimental preferences when it comes to the musical side of things. Tesfaye's cold delivery of lyrics both suave and dirty, and the intoxicating spell the after dark party mood casts are both thankfully still intact. Although, while the natural range of his lustful voice is stunningly magnificent, and his raw vocal talent is undeniably impressive, his at times ridiculously elongated croons about sexual longing and drugs over numbing lounge tunes can still get rather draining and exhaustive early into any one of the mixtapes, and even a little awkward when he curses in high-pitched tones. And though the three exclusive B-sides featured at the end of each mixtape on Trilogy sound like inferior outtakes that lean towards a much more brighter light than the bleak dimness Tesfaye is known for, and sound not as emotive in comparison and out of place because of it, Trilogy is simply a collection of The Weeknd’s mixtapes, it couldn’t be a more complete one, and it should supply fans with everything they could want, despite the quality being questionable.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
breakingthefragile
November 15th 2012



2955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I apologize, but this review is actually unfinished. I have another paragraph critiquing and describing the actual music and bonus tracks in depth, but I've been having connection problems all night and I wanted to post this before my internet cuts out completely. I will edit in the missing paragraph tomorrow, please forgive me cutting the review short.

Digging: The Blood of Heroes - The Blood Of Heroes

breakingthefragile
November 15th 2012



2955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I apologize, but this review is actually unfinished. I have another paragraph critiquing and describing the actual music and bonus tracks in depth, but I've been having connection problems all night and I wanted to post this before my internet cuts out completely. I will edit in the missing paragraph tomorrow, please forgive me cutting the review short.

breakingthefragile
November 15th 2012



2955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

See? I'm having all sorts of problems, my comments are getting posted twice when it's telling me it hasn't posted them. Please excuse the cut off summary as well, this will be resolved in the morning.

Recspecs
November 15th 2012



9829 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Alex Boobe

breakingthefragile
November 15th 2012



2955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Summary fixed, I'll include the missing paragraph tomorrow.

Captain North
November 15th 2012



6784 Comments


I don't get why they're called mixtapes? Surely they're just albums

Buzzkillr
November 15th 2012



1541 Comments


it's available in flac, that's reason enough

oh I don't find the remastering to be as bad as you claim, sure he had to remove a few samples but I don't agree that most songs sound watered down

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2012



7326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's far from pointless. There are still plenty of people out there who prefer physical music as opposed to mp3s, which are basically compressed boxes of steam. That does of course raise the question as to why it wasn't released on vinyl though.

The new songs are decent but I think they'd have been better off released as a stand-alone EP. They're noticably more polished than the mixtapes and sound completely out of synch tagged on at the end.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2012



21791 Comments


Are the artworks from the mixtapes on here somehow?

Will still buy cos I want to get this physically but I don't get the point of changing or adding to the music. Would much rather they'd left it alone

Digging: Gesaffelstein - Aleph

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2012



7326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@ AnarchistFish each disc has a booklet with artwork etc in.

afoolonahill
November 15th 2012



106 Comments


was gonna buy this but if the remaster is really that bad (especially if bits are CUT), fuck that.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2012



21791 Comments


hang on I'm confused. are the production changes insignificant or do they noticeably change/worsen the
music? cos if they've gotten rid of all the cool little details that's fucking stupid. and the really
thick synths sounded awesome with my earphones

@ AnarchistFish each disc has a booklet with artwork etc in.

sold

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2012



21791 Comments


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PBR%26B

lol

bloc
November 15th 2012



34780 Comments


least necessary release of the year!!

I love all three of the releases, and I totally agree.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2012



21791 Comments


you can purchase an mp3 download of this for 8.50

brilliant

Strider
November 15th 2012



4598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My rating is my average for their 3 Mixtapes:

House of Baloons - 4
Thursday - 3.5
Echoes of Silence -4.5

Strider
November 15th 2012



4598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

double post

InfamousGrouse
November 15th 2012



3373 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

that's really interesting

InfamousGrouse
November 15th 2012



3373 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i think i'll do the same tho

RivalSkoomaDealer
November 15th 2012



750 Comments


Why buy the cow when you can get the milk fo free

Digging: The Underachievers - Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium



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