HELLO INTERNET. The freshest tentacled physician in the Pacific Brocean is back in the exam room to scribe a review in the Infinite Tomes of the Moist Graffiti. For the uninitiated, The Weeknd a/k/a Toronto-native Abel Tesfaye of the Hydra Dreads commenced his ascension in 2010 via Youtube and the subsequent release of a Triforce of mixtapes (see House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence).
The mixtapes in their totality were a pack of austere R&B tributes to drugs, females, drugs, [trite existential concept goes here], and drugs, all channeled by Abel’s fresh, MJ-derived tenor. It was music crafted for two specific purposes, both of which it wholly succeeded at: (1) daydreaming that the cats sitting on your bed are passed out Croatian models, your PS3 is a mirror covered in lines of ketamine, and that Robin Thicke thinks you’re all right; and/or (2) encouraging consensual reproductive activities.
This brings us to the present, wherein Abel has just released his sophomore album, the stupidly-titled Kiss Land. Now, I daresay it bares mentioning that yours truly is a positive-ass person. Like, when I’m not coasting through coral reefs and chilling in my garden, I’m reading Tony Robbins and encouraging young adults to moderate their substance abuse. My friends are frequently annoyed at how happy I am without the use of mood stabilizers. Life is my mood stabilizer. It’s pretty much all right, all the time. And even when it’s bad, the best more than makes up for the worst.
Important caveat to the above: when I am excited to listen to a new joint by a promising artist, and it ends up being a bigger drag than [controversial simile redacted], my mood goes the way of the Hindenberg.
Spoiler alert: Kiss Land is a twenty pound bag of flaming circus animal shit.
Kiss Land has no direction, less meaning, and in context of the songs’ subject matter, is artistically offensive. It’s a chaperone-less, barred-out girl scout troop wandering lost in a museum of suck. Gone are the minimally creeping synth beats and grinding snares, which have been replaced by a whirling, seven-layer dip fuckstorm of instruments, bird calls, and overdubs. The lyrics, which thankfully are buried somewhere behind the music, still manage to be quite embarrassing, e.g. “You can meet me in the room, the kisses ain’t free; you gotta pay with your body.” How the fuck does that even work?
Granted– it’s not as if the subject matter of Trilogy was more substantive, but it was far from unpalatable. By the 10th track of Kiss Land, the continuous clash between the production, aesthetics, and lyrical content left me with one recurring question: who the fuck produced this? A cursory review of relevant literature reveals that other than the marginally known Harry Fraud,* NO ONE. It’s not as if, oh I don’t suppose, The Weeknd was waiting to be co-opted and exploited for millions of dollars by a capable handler. It’s not difficult to summon Rick Rubin— make a foot long Italian sandwich, lock yourself in a closet, and scream YEEZUS three times. Pharrell? Follow Emily Ratajkowski’s leaky trail of rose petals and enraged Tumblr feminists. Simply put, Kiss Land is what happens when you substitute Canadian codeine for artistic vision.
And then there’s “Live For,” the sixth track on this ten joint abomination against D’Angelo and all that was once holy about R&B. I was already disheartened by this album when this song started. However, when I realized that I had accidentally exposed myself to almost two minutes of the seizure-inducing, colostomy bag leakage that is Drake** performing in any capacity whatsoever, my brain punched its way out of my skull and mailed itself to the sun. My pain was intractable, and my suffering legendary. The Vitamin A drained from my bones so rapidly that I was powerless to hit pause. Even my cat Darwin wailed in agony:
Aside: for those unfamiliar with the Maddening Labyrinths of the Moist Graffiti, we of the Secret Council of the Executive Editors consider Drake to be the antithesis of art. Some will undoubtedly say, aren’t y’all just jelly that are y’all don’t get to flash your gummy smiles and misaligned jaws and quote ignorant maxims like “don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life”*** and get paid millions of dollars in Remy XO and Kotex Ultra Thins to do it? The short answer: fuck no. The long answer: some people are so dangerous to art that they force one to reconsider the freedoms of speech accorded to each of us by the law of Jesus Washington and the Funky Bunch. For these artists, their total lack of talent combined with their Antichrist-like ability to retain followers make them a dire threat to the public.
That said, to hear Drake moisten the mic on Kiss Land was Judas to my ears. If you have a time machine, please let me know so I can delete him from history forever (sorry Degrassi fans). Even if you don’t, please consider writing a letter to Ban Ki Moon asking that Drake be banned from Earth by resolution of the U.N. Security Council (fuck Russia).
Now that you know how I really feel, let’s consider the stats:
Moist Graffiti Rating
Meaningless Lyrics: 40.400
Abel’s Angsty Dreads: 30.729
Portishead Beef Over
Allegedly Stolen Sample: 50.131
Shitlord Production: 30.366
Bonus points Penalty Box:
Including Drake on Album: (Average)/2
MG Rating: 20.078
Despite all the butthurt flowing out this review, it should be known that many fine albums have come out in the past week or so that will bring joy back into the Unicorn Meadows of the Moist Graffiti. Keep a close eye out for a review of a certain simian band’s recent foray into funky town, and I’m positive that we’ll chat soon.
*Okay, okay. Saab Stories wasn’t bad. Wasn’t good either though.
**Yes, I am aware of the past between Drake, Abel, OVO(XO), and the
beef grass-fed veal that they are currently embroiled in. My point about Aubrey and the whole situation is– if The Weeknd was going to break with Drake and his Sulking Band of Canadian Pilates Instructors anyway, why not do one better than Republic Records and some studio randos?
***I will not dare utter the four letter acronym that Drake hath conceived in the past year. It is truly Satan’s paradise.