R&B rarely looks at life in anything other than black and white. Love is the best, except when it’s bad, in which case it’s the absolute worst. Constant partying has no side effects, and if anything goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault.
Providing some much-needed shades of grey is Canadian Abel Tesfaye, working under his nom de croon, The Weeknd – a character lost in a vapid whirlpool of decadence and self-loathing. What’s fascinating is that he knows it and communicates it so engagingly on Trilogy, a major-label compilation of his three excellent self-released mixtapes. While many will have heard it already, its physical release is welcome, adding some honesty and maturity to the R&B charts that Labrinth and Chris Brown have yet to bring.