The Tracks From "Starboy," Ranked
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The Tracks From "Starboy," Ranked

The Weeknd is at it again—and this time, he’s breaking records.

The Tracks From "Starboy," Ranked
ET Online

The Weeknd, the musical persona of Canadian musician Abel Tesfaye, has released his highly-anticipated fourth album (but only his third studio album—as he says on his track “Reminder,” he became “platinum off a mixtape,” AKA his first album, Trilogy). Despite Tesfaye’s frankly profane lyrics, he is one of my biggest inspirations as a writer. Why? Because he’s as honest as someone can get about the happenings in his life, and as one author at The Guardian notes, he is able to create entire worlds within his songs. He uses his environment to create music that, despite its sometimes-brutal nature, is real and genuine; that’s artistry.

Over the course of Tesfaye’s musical career, he has created a narrative that serves as a dark, dreamlike recounting of the events in his life. In Trilogy, he describes what was arguably his lowest point: Drugged, a high school dropout, and struggling to make a life for himself through his brain fog. Kiss Land, a less commercially successful album (albeit one of my favorite albums of all time), describes what happens to Tesfaye when his trilogy of mixtapes unexpectedly leads to musical recognition—a world tour, the disorientation of suddenly having money after growing up in poverty, and troubled relations with a girl back home. The Weeknd’s fame continues to rise, and a couple of years after Kiss Land, the summer of 2015 brings Tesfaye worldwide popularity with three hits in the same season: “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” and “Earned It.” Late that summer, he released Beauty Behind the Madness, his most pop-like record yet, featuring all of these popular tracks.

Post-BBTM, Tesfaye claimed to be taking a break, but then dropped a foreshadowing tweet which mentioned that he might just create another album soon after all. He followed through on this hint, and this fall, he released Starboy. It broke records on streaming services, getting 40 million streams in just one day on Spotify, and 223 million streams the week of its release. This has made The Weeknd the top artist on Spotify based on listening statistics—the last artist to accomplish this was rap icon, Drake.

It’s no secret that Starboy is outstanding, and thank goodness it is—it’s the first album I’ve ever preordered, and I asked for an early Christmas present of tickets to the Starboy: Legend of the Fall tour weeks before I even heard the album, because I expected it would be made of Tesfaye’s ever-groundbreaking sound. I was right. He even released a short film previewing all of the highly-anticipated tracks:

Just like every album from every musician, Starboy features some tracks that are better than others. This is based on opinion, of course, but there are some songs that stand out and give me goosebumps, while there are others that are better for just background noise on late-night drives. All of the following songs can be found on Spotify for free. As a Weeknd connoisseur, here are the tracks on Starboy from worst to best:

18. True Colors

This is a chill song and has an R&B feel. However, its combination of a standard beat and the fact that Tesfaye is questioning who his girlfriend has dated in the past puts it low on my list.

17. Rockin’

You could dance to this one, but it’s not the most unique song you’ll ever hear.

16. Love to Lay

Sorry Abel, but it’s totally fine that this girl likes to date around. No need to write a song about it.

15. Secrets

Admittedly, this is a catchy song. Like, very catchy. It’s grown on me since first hearing it, but not as much as the following tracks.

14. Nothing Without You

This song is pretty, and it does a good job at describing the panic that someone feels when their partner is leaving them, but it’s a little too dramatic for me—“If I died tomorrow, would you regret it?” I’d hate to be the girl on the receiving end of that statement.

13. False Alarm

This song has grown on me, but it stresses me out a little. The whole song is anxious. Its fast-paced nature is fun, though, and the lyrics are cool: “It’s a dark philosophy…” Also, the link posted here is the live version. (Warning: The music video for this, not posted here, is very graphic. A literal action/horror movie.)

12. I Feel It Coming

Although I was a little bored upon first hearing “I Feel It Coming,” I get good vibes the more I listen to it. Something about the phrase “I Feel It Coming” makes you feel positive. It sounds more like Daft Punk than The Weeknd, giving it an electronic-R&B feel.

11. Die For You

One of Tesfaye’s most emotional tracks yet, “Die For You” has received great reviews. It’s a little slow for me, but it’s clearly heartfelt, so props to The Weeknd.

10. A Lonely Night

This is a pop-y track, but I enjoy it. “Baby girl, I loved you on a lonely night, oh…”

9. Attention

I have no idea why, but this one reminds me of an early-2000s pop hit. I’m a fan.

8. Starboy (feat. Daft Punk)

When I first heard the title track, months before the full album was released, I could tell all these songs were going to have a fierce tone to them. The Weeknd himself had already confirmed this when he tweeted that "This one will feel aggresive and warm," referring to Starboy. It’s the ultimate acknowledgement of the fact that no one can mess with The Weeknd: “Coming for the king? That’s a far cry/I come alive in the fall time.” (A 2014 song by The Weeknd describes him as “King of the Fall”.)

7. Stargirl Interlude (feat. Lana Del Rey)

Lana Del Rey is always a good idea, I’m speechless when it comes to this (very brief) song. It sounds like something straight out of a fever dream (as do most tracks that include Lana’s vocals). Way too cool for its own good.

6. Six Feet Under

Heck yeah. This track describes a woman that hustles for her money and lives a good life because of it. It’s arguably empowering for the woman in question, too—“She knows just what to do with her own body.” Bonus: It’s a great study song. Work it, girl.

5. All I Know (feat. Future)

The low-and-slow vibes of this song are unmatched. What’s even cooler is that Tesfaye tweeted what ended up as the opening line of “All I Know” two years ago: “The reasons why I can’t have you are easy to fix.”

4. Sidewalks (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

I love this one because, similarly to “Tell Your Friends” from Beauty Behind the Madness, it features The Weeknd assessing the poverty he once endured compared to the success he’s found. “Homeless to Forbes list…” Plus, Kendrick’s verse in this song is so impressive. 10/10 would recommend.

3. Ordinary Life

This one strikes me as poetic. The Weeknd says that he leads an unusual life, to say the least, and that he’s accepted the course his life will inevitably take. He contrasts his worldly life with the holier one he could have led had he followed a conventional lifestyle: “Valhalla’s where all the righteous are led/Mulholland’s where all the damned will be kept” (referring to the famous Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles).

2. Party Monster

Simply put, I can’t remember the last time I heard a catchier song. Ever. I’m pretty sure this surpasses Carly Rae Jepsen levels of catchiness, and that’s saying something. (Totally different genre, of course.)

1. Reminder

This was the first non-single I heard from Starboy. Using a surprising amount of simplicity, it encompasses what the rest of the tracks highlight: The Weeknd has become popular through his art and his unique public persona, and he’s riding the waves of the success in the only way he knows how. He knows who he is, and now, so does everyone. “Every time you try to forget who I am, I’ll be right there to remind you again… You know me.”

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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