Earlier this year, the music world was batting its eyes and doing embarrassing pelvic grind moves to the music of the new darlings of R&B. Frank Ocean of Odd Future fame dropped his gem Nostalgia, Ultra in February. A few weeks later, the Weeknd (born Abel Tesfaye) made everyone peel their panties off with the first installment of his mixtape trilogy House of Balloons. Some were like, "Oooh, don’t look now, y’all, but this might be The Next Generation of R&B." From the primordial ooze of Twitter the term PBR&B (nice one) was coined. Some of the young traditional-minded connoisseurs of the genre were like, "I don’t know about all that hipster R&B, but it’s good music."
But that was the spring and now it’s the fall, where spring things go to die. Frank Ocean shed the cocoon of Odd Future, along with the underground stigma, when he got to spread his wings with royalty. He’s currently swimming good somewhere.
On Friday, The Weeknd, continued his run of sexy music for vampires with Thursday, the second part of his mixtape trilogy. The blogs and twitter were abuzz. I listened to it over the weekend but couldn’t get you these thoughts until right now. Aww XOXO.
Sunday: Labels, Why Again?
It’s been the case a for a while now that anyone hot is hot off that free download. “Respect first, then money — basic shit,” as Jadakiss said. Last week I swear I used to remember why labels existed. But now I think we’re getting close to only needing: Do you make music? Send me your links. Annnd Scene. That’s it. Oh, And PayPal and a secure server. The politics and bureaucracy of the label system are starting to outweigh its benefits. Ocean’s album was buried in a vault, and now after being released as a mixtape, is being reissued. Label fail. The-Dream, tired of red tape, is putting out his 1977 for free. I got $11.99 says that’s label fail (both Def Jam, btw). Lupe Fiasco started an online petition to stymie Atlantic’s label fail. Even the king of the label system, Jay-Z, said he's done. (The best thing he could do is a mixtape right now anyways. Another S. Carter collection would hit the spot.) Artist liberation, combined with pressure from itunes and amazon, has record labels on notice. Give me your money, stay out of my way.
Monday: American Psycho Music for 2011
Entourage used the Weeknd’s “High for This” in a recent trailer, and of course this is the music Entourage wishes it could use for its entire half hour. Coked-out, panties to the side, we all young, hot with money in here. Let’s party like we mean it. And whoever today’s Patrick Bateman from American Psycho is, he probably listens to this urban coke music at high volume when he’s having sex, while he’s working out (which is having more sex), and definitely while he’s tweeting after killing you.
Seven Day High: Notes on The Weeknd [Grantland]