The Weeknd's Best Songs Of All Time : An Unbiased List By An XO Fanatic.
Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd, has always been my favorite singer and his projects have been excellently produced. In anticipation of his upcoming project, I have assembled a list of his best songs to date.
Describing the entire history of my appreciation for the singer would deserve its own article. The first time I heard of the singer was on the remix of the over-sexualized single "Or Nah" with Ty Dolla $ign and Wi Khalifa. His look combined with his unique vocals and dark lyrics drew me closer to him. I then took time to listen to his Trilogy project and found myself caught in his enticing web of hedonism and obscurity.
I have since listened to every project he has since released and now I can't hide the fact that I am a huge fan of his work. Thus, in anticipation of his upcoming singles to promote his sixth studio project, I have assembled the best songs he has ever released.
I only evaluated songs that appeared on his albums and not from features or collaborations with other artists on soundtracks such as "Pray For Me" with Kendrick Lamar.
The criteria assessed comprised of melody of the song, the impact on the Billboard charts, the songwriting and storytelling skill as well as the use of precise use of his vocals in the songs. Here we go!
As You Are
"Show me your broken heart and all your scars ... Baby I'll take you as you are."
This has to be one of my favorite songs by Abel! I found out about it just this year because I normally skipped it when I listened to Beauty Behind The Madness. However, the song has grown on me for some reason. His appeal to unappreciated love can be felt from all cylinders with his enticing chorus.
Call Out My Name
"Call out my name when I kiss you so gently. I want you to stay even though you don't want me."
I fell in love with this song the first time it came out. I had been waiting for a lead single after Beauty Behind The Madness and "Call Out My Name" exceeded all my expectations. The chorus, his voice, the melody and the video all blended together to create a dark and yet appealing theme that is now his classic style.
"'Cause with this money comes problems, and with these problems comes solutions. And I use 'em when I'm faded, I forget. Forget what you mean to me."
Honestly, this song is for OG XO fans who knew about the Canadian-Ethiopian singer before his hair grew all the way out and he started performing at Lollapalooza. Abel dwelled in his dark-alternative vibes with the repetitive phrase"coming down" throughout the song. He sings in a very regretful way of appreciating love only when he sobers up.
"You know our love will be tragic. So you don't pay it ,don't pay it no mind."
This is one of Abel's classic songs and probably his most known soundtrack ever. It peaked at the third spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and contributed to the rise in first week sales for the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey.
I wasn't really big on this song and it had to grow on me. However, it was through this song that my mother found out about the singer and understood the reason why I continuously rep XOTWOD.
House of Balloons/Glass Tables
"Nights pass so much quicker than the days did. Same clothes, you ain't ready for your day shift."
Critically, this is Abel's best song ever. If you think "The Hills", "Can't touch My Face" or "Call Out My Name" are his magnum opuses, you are clearly mistaken. This song accurately embodies his best project to date, House of Balloons. The uptempo beat mixed with Abel's theme of hedonism form the perfect blend of darkness and fun in his so-called "Happy house".
However, the change to rap in "Glass Tables" demonstrates the singer's extraordinary storytelling capabilities in regards to his wild night. It reminds me of a darker version of "Pyramids" by Frank Ocean where he transitions into a very personal account of love and sex.
I Feel It Coming Ft. Daft Punk
"Just a simple touch and it can set you free. We don't have to rush when you're alone with me. I feel it coming, I feel it coming, babe."
I never expected The Weeknd to team up with France's greatest EDM duo, Daft Punk to create a neo-electropop classic with "I Feel It Coming." Everything was in place with this song. The instrumentals, the vocals and the excellent mixing provided all XO fans with one of the most experimental tracks of his music catalog.
"Baby, who you tryna' fool? Girl, I might be twenty-one but I got memories to prove. That I've seen your kind before and I know exactly what you want. You just want me 'cause I'm next."
"Next" ranks in my top 3 favorite songs of the singer. I randomly played it when I listened to his Trilogy album and I haven't stopped listening to it ever since. The Weeknd is clearly sentimental in this song, but it's one of the few moments where he seems vulnerable to someone who is clearly taking advantage of him. It's not atypical of him to place himself in that kind of position, yet he delivers a masterpiece with this concept of lust.
"If it ain't XO then it gotta go ... I'm like goddamn b***h, I am not a Teen Choice. Goddamn b***h, I am not a bleach boy."
This is one of Abel's most braggadocios songs of his entire music catalog. Here, he demands respect from everyone in the music industry for his slew of hits and records in just a short amount of time. He takes a jab at music fans who are not supportive of his XO movement and at awards shows who rank him as a "Teen Choice" while he's winning Grammy awards.
However, no matter how people try to ignore his influence in music, he either appears in the charts with his songwriting abilities, features and albums which never fail to dominate the Billboard Charts.
"You don't have to spend your life with me. You don't have to waste your energy. We can just be rockin', yeah."
In his electropop-filled album, Starboy, Abel dives into new heights with his incredible single "Rockin'". The vivid beat sounds similar to Daft Punk's "I Feel It Coming." However, he electrifies the song with his sultry voice in the chorus. The highlights of the song were the smooth transition into the second verse where he sings, "You see me texting, baby, you see those missed calls. I'm actin' reckless baby, I'm 'bout to lose it all." and the outro where the beat simply plays to end the song and his last chorus.
I don't wanna hurt you but you live for the pain. I'm not tryna say it but it's what you became. You want me to fix you but it's never enough. That's why you always call me cause you're scared to be loved. But I'll always be there for you, I'll always be there for you I'll always be there for you, girl I have no shame.
This song is one his most underrated songs ever. With just a simple yet powerful electric guitar and his vocals, Abel delivers a powerful message of being physically and emotionally present despite his lover feeling vulnerable in their relationship. It's a pretty simple song, but the main highlight was the power of the electric guitar in the background to echo the singer's message throughout the song. In fact, the electric guitar had its own solo and it was absolutely appeasing to hear.
"Coming for the king, that's a far cry, ah. I come alive in the fall time."
"Starboy" has to be The Weeknd's most known single and one of his electrifying songs to date. Co-produced by Daft Punk, the single became Abel's third chart-topper in the United States. Nonetheless, this song signified the death of his former self where he donned his characteristic hairstyle and sang about dark themes and drugs. His new look transitioned the singer into a different atmosphere of supreme energy and vibrance where he becomes fully capable of lighting it up.
Tell Your Friends
"I was broken, I was broke, I was so broke. I used to roam around the town when I was homeless. Me and my Lamar would rob a n***a for his Jordans. And flip it just to get these hoes another nose fix. Now we get faded when we want girl, we got choices."
This song describes his rise to fame and the reason why they should spread the news about his evident popularity. However, he doesn't seem to change his hedonistic lifestyle, and still sings about pills and sex. He still rocks with his XO day ones and keeps his circle close.
The second part of the song details his emotional side where he talks about his grandmother's funeral, being homeless and broke. He references his best friend Lamar and how they used to do illegal activities to make money.
"I only call you when it's half past five. The only time that I'll be by your side. I only love it when you touch me, not feel me. When I'm fucked up, that's the real me."
The intro, the beat, the message and vocals to this song make it one of The Weeknd's most classic themes. This chart-topper grabbed attention due to its catchy beat and dark lyrics. Most chart-toppers nowadays are mostly viral not because of the quality of the song but because of how culturally relevant they are to people. It can be due to the memes or dances generated by the song.
On the other hand, Abel gifted the world with an excellent banger that detailed fantastic poetic skill and excellent vocals. The highlight of the song was when he sang in Amharic in the outro reference his country of origin, Ethiopia.
"You probably thought that you'd break my heart. You probably thought that you'd make me cry. But baby it's okay. I swear it's okay"
In a very introspective song, Abel sings about knowing everything that is going on in his current relationship with an unknown lover. Inferring from the lyrics, it seems that his lover cheated on him or tried to break up with him. Even though this seems highly problematic and unfortunate, Abel is conscious of everything that is going on and swears that it's ok. It's a very emotional song and this is something in which the singer excels. Abel being emotionally vulnerable is the best version ever.
"Can you try me? Once you put your pride aside, you can notify me. You're the best I ever had. Baby girl, remind me."
In my opinion, "Try Me" succeeded in revisiting the earlier themes of Echoes of Silence and House of Balloons by dwelling on heartbreak and vulnerability. Th beat used for this song is much lively in comparison to the ones used in his earlier mixtapes. He isn't as emotional as "Next" or "The Knowing", yet he makes his message clear that he is clearly in need of his lover to reach out to him again. Definitely an XO classic.
"I'm so wrong, I'm so wrong. To let you in my home. Now you know where I sleep."
"Twenty Eight" has to be one of the most passionate songs I have ever heard from the singer. It takes him back to his days of poverty even though he apparently lived one of his best years away from family in an eerie of hedonism. It seems that there are two sides of the story in this magnificent. He apologizes for letting his lover enter his "home" and allowing her to know how he lived. He secretly hints at his drug use and messy lifestyle despite having an innocent appearance.
What You Need
"I got, everything what you want with me. I do, everything he does times three. And he don't gotta know, I got you on the floor. Doing things you never thought you'd do."
This song alongside the beat and his vocals are literally drenched in obscurity. It seems like a song you play at your lowest point in life when you are going through a love triangle. The message is apparent in this piece. The singer claims that his lover wants the other guy in the love triangle but clearly needs Abel.
"Let me see you dance. I love to watch you dance. Take you down another level. And get you dancing with the Devil. Take a shot of this."
This has to be the most famous song from his Trilogy compilation and probably the song OG XO fans point out as his magnum opus regardless of the dominance songs such as "Starboy" and "The Hills"
Undoutedbly, this is The Weeknd's music in a nutshell; pleasure, pain and sex. Even though he makes it very subtle in some songs, he expresses his desires vividly in "Wicked Games" and does it so passionately that it sounds like a triumphant song for the artist to be free of hiding his habits. He demands love and confidence even though they seem farfetched event though that's how he engulfs listeners with his devilish and alluring sound.
In conclusion, I can't hide my appreciation for the singer's craft. He does an excellent job with his projects and keeps his themes of hedonism and drugs consistent in his songs. I am not writing this to advocate for the use of drugs or judge his persona, but to highlight his skill in storytelling, immaculate flow and choice of highly engineered beats.
The singer also deserves credit for frequently inventing his image and sound throughout his career. He started with very dark themes in House of Balloons and Echoes of Silence and transitioned into a daydreamy theme with Kiss Land. He became quite outspoken and meddled with pop-themed beats in Beauty Behind The Madness and tried experimental electropop melodies in his Starboy project. Later, he returned to the sound that made him distinct with his EP, My Dear Melancholy.
The Weeknd will be releasing two singles tonight to promote his upcoming studio album. Thus, stay tuned and listen to his classics in preparation for his excellent work.