Earlier this week, Abel Tesfaye, affectionally known as The Weeknd, released “Starboy“, a new pop collaboration with Daft Punk and the title track of his upcoming album. After we got past the initial excitement of The Weeknd being back on the scene, there was a wide range of responses to this alarmingly formulaic tune (including a review of our own here). Some people loved it, some people hated it, most people fell somewhere in between. However, we can all agree that its simple arrangement, repetitive nature, and popular producers will have it hitting the radio waves hard in no time. Another track from Starboy entitled “False Alarm” has just been released, and I anticipate a similarly conflicted reaction.
“False Alarm” immediately brings the audience in, as it starts with The Weeknd’s signature voice, but more uptempo than ever before. It almost feels as if the song was sped up to double time. The fast paced and ever present drum backbeat makes “False Alarm” reminiscent of a forgotten 80’s dance-punk song. To be honest, this song seems much better suited for someone like Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Fitz and the Tantrums, but, hey, I’m all for artist evolution! The song continues with very little variation once the initial contrast between the verse and chorus are established, and closes with a chill and vaguely ethnic vocal outro, similar to The Weeknd’s traditional style. Check out the live performance on SNL:
While my immediate reaction to “False Alarm” wasn’t the best, I wouldn’t be surprised if it grows on me, as I’m sure it’ll get a fair amount of airplay in the coming weeks. As Pigeons & Planes put it, “it’s safe to say that ‘False Alarm’ is shaping up to be one of The Weeknd’s most polarizing songs to date”. Despite “Starboy” and “False Alarm” both somewhat rubbing me the wrong way (or at least confusing me…), I’m still very excited to see what else this evolution of The Weeknd’s musical career entails! “Starboy” and “False Alarm” are both available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify, and Starboy is available to pre-order on iTunes, to be released November 25.