May 16, 2013

Song Review: The Weeknd's "Kiss Land"


Abel Tesfaye captivated the Internet music game in 2011 with his mysterious rise from obscurity as the slowburning R&B maker behind the Weekend and winning tastemakers over with an ambitiously full-proof trifecta of new age sex jams given away as free mixtapes. Last year, Tesfaye commercially re-released the three efforts collectively as Trilogy, not before remastering them with big-money production tools while maintaining his signature calling card of underscored sensuality. Kiss Land is the Weeknd's forthcoming sophomore LP (Trilogy collectively accounts as his debut) whose street date we're still not sure of, nor do we know if Tesfaye will be putting it out on his own terms or again with help from Republic. Whatever the case, its title track and initial listen won't change the fact that it's a big step above all else he's done on first try. The sultry soundscapes of yesteryear now burn like hot neon lights, enhancing the not-so-subtle innuendos unfurling every detail surrounding groupie sex the charm-voiced Canadians has apparently become an expert on since achieving household name status (choice cat calls include "Go ahead, girl / Strip it down / Close your mouth / I just want to hear your body talk..." and "You can meet me in my room / Where the kisses aren't free / You have to pay with your body..." ) Stalking his sexual prey with synthetic beats and dizzying effects transform into various mutations throughout the nearly 8-minute listen and are aggressive attempts to record the Weeknd's fast-living lifestyle inside the studio, but even they take a second to come up for air during the marathon session. When absorbing "Kiss Land" through its official YouTube stream, you're bombarded by a screen grab culled from a Japanese adult film which might be your best visual descriptor for the listen, as it combines Tokyo's sensory-inducing night life and the Weeknd's dangerously tripped out passion tales all in one. If "Kiss Land" isn't a bold and hypersexualized attempt at audio pornography, I don't know what else you would call it.

The Weeknd - "Kiss Land"

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