Tag Archives: The Weeknd

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

After having gone through the PBR&B rabbit hole, and after many rotations of the mixtapes House of Balloons and Echoes of Silence, we have come to a point at which we know what to expect from the Canadian producer and singer Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd. His feelings seep through every word and coo, often reverberated heavily with tinges of extreme sadness. “Wicked Games,” in particular, became a YouTube sensation, hitting over 25,000,000 views and becoming the quintessential Weeknd song, complete with an eerie, hypnotic beat, heavily altered drum patterns and vibrato vocals full of fear, detachment and a longing for companionship. Since 2010, when Tesfaye began releasing songs to the Internet under his current pseudonym, he has become buddy-buddy with Drake and gotten signed to Universal Republic Records and, finally, released his first studio album. Read More

Genres of music are being broken down into very specific, micro classifications due to the tags that taste makers, music bloggers, and critics fabricate to identify a certain styling that has yet to be labeled. At times, it can be difficult to keep up with but, at the same time, they are very fun to explore. Each week, I will explore a different sub-genre and try to explain the stains left on my shirt after climbing out of each tedious rabbit hole of musical stylings.

PBR&B (also known as indie R&B, alternative R&B, or, yikes, urban contemporary) is a relatively new sub-genre that was slapped with this distinction around the time that artists like Frank Ocean, Miguel, How to Dress Well and Theophilus London started to drop material. The sound of PBR&B is more or less defined by an exchange of ideas from several other genres such as EDM, hip-hop, rock and soul. It draws greatly upon the influence of R&B from generations past and filters it through a modern lens. The best examples of this are Ocean’s Channel Orange and How to Dress Well’s Total Loss. The former utilizes a lot of the same style techniques from legends like Marvin Gaye, Al Green in a lush, hip-hop oriented soundscape, while the latter feels more like a Ralph Tresvant record set to Gregorian chants. The artists that represent the sub-genre also diverge from the common theme that dominates the narratives of its standard bearers.

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