I could easily make this post about the influx of “weekend” related band names, sorting through the stylistic differences in Weekend, Weekends and The Weeknd, but this is bigger than seasonal moniker overlaps. Let's face it, the world is a floating nexus of collective thought, put “wolf” in your band name and it's out there for the masses to consume and create derivatives.
How much bigger you ask? Drake big. The Weeknd is making the rounds in the blogosphere as schmaltzy white-boy soul is no longer in the weather report. The House of Balloons mixtape is breaking the mold, much like Odd Future's Frank Ocean, by gracing the Pitchfork pages, who gave “What You Need” Best New Track honors, being declared genre facelifters by Complex and burrowing deeper into niche hip hop blogs like Ill Roots and 2DopeBoyz—who won't even show Frank Ocean love due to affiliation. Yet the media just can't help, but remain cautious of the project simply because The Weeknd are skilled at obscuring its identity.
The caution is out there and it is hilarious. Are we cautious because it's Canadian? Are we cautious because it samples Beach House and bares stylistic similarities to The XX? Yes, Drake endorses The Weeknd, but he is also known for filling the “black student” role on Degrassi. His hood pass isn't necessarily in tact. Why does every blog and magazine insist on pondering the identity of The Weeknd?
Is it so we can determine whether they are of the James Blake and Baths ilk of redefining R&B or group them with Frank Ocean's reclamation? Or perhaps we are just itching to bring back the “multi-cultural” brand once proudly placed in front of Bloc Party and TV On The Radio?
Once the identity is revealed the true clusterfuck of media nut hugging will remain at bay, making it a good chance to enjoy House of Balloons as a free download before the fat cats in the majors get their sweaty palms on it.
Download House of Balloons here.