It’s funny to think back to when the Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) emerged, purposefully cloaked in mystery, back in 2011. He released three free mixtapes to universal acclaim, especially from the indie-leaning music press. But as soon as he got his foot in the door, he headed straight for pop stardom. Tesfaye has cited his admiration for R. Kelly and covered Michael Jackson—all the smoke and mirrors were just a means to an end.
It didn’t take Tesfaye long to figure out the key to the charts either: this singer is on a hot streak. “Often,” one of his most relentless tracks to date, rose to No. 15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart. “Love Me Harder,” the Ariana Grande duet that drew on the same Miami Vice textures as Tesfaye’s official debut, Kiss Land, was a top ten pop hit. And then he connected with 50 Shades Of Grey for the blatantly-throwback “Earned It,” which reached No. 3 on the Hot 100.
It’s not surprising then that the singer might work with Max Martin: three new Weeknd tracks have leaked, and one of them, the disco-leaning “I Can’t Feel My Face,” is purportedly a collaboration with the Swedish pop mastermind. There’s also a snippet of a song called “In The ‘90s,” which finds Tesfaye singing these girls born in the ‘90s are dangerous. The last track, “In The Night,” leans towards MJ-homage, with a “The Way You Make Me Feel” type of beat.
FADER reached out to representatives at Tesfaye's label and is awaiting comment. In other Weeknd news, the singer posted a photo of himself seemingly covered in blood over the weekend.
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