With 30 tracks spread over three discs, Trilogy is not a quick listen. And with its mournful, ultra-personal tales of broken hearts, lost love, late nights and dodgy sex, nor is it an easy listen. But if you have the time, Abel Tesfaye's absorbing major label debut as The Weeknd (it's pronounced "weakened") is one of the most pioneering, addictive and rewarding collections you'll hear this year. Trilogy compiles three free nine-track mixtapes Tesfaye released in 2011, remasters them and adds a bonus track to each.
And it proves just how single-minded his vision is, channelling his futureproof sound through the spirit of Michael Jackson, the minimal moods of The xx, the nihilism of Nine Inch Nails and the urban atmospherics of British dubstep pioneer Burial.
There's hardly a dud track here, from the bass wobbles of High For This, the hauntingly bleak Twenty Eight ("I'm so alone," croons Tesfaye over a simple piano line), the chirpy Loft Music, the hip-hop stomp of Life of the Party, the horror story vibe of Initiation and the two-part standout House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls.
All that, and you've hardly touched the sides of a masterpiece that signals the arrival of a rare talent already performing at the top of his game.
Verdict: The future of R&B has arrived
- TimeOutBy Chris Schulz @chris__schulz Email Chris