On “Mysterious” Artists and If The Weeknd Lost His Luster

the weeknd hair On Mysterious Artists and If The Weeknd Lost His LusterFor all the great things it does for music (and the rest of the world), the Internet can cause some equally fucked up things. One of those happens to be oversaturation, something you know full well if you have ever started and maintained a music site. The struggle to keep up with everything new that arrives is a constant one that has no concept of time or integrity. It builds an ungodly amount of thirst, aka the need to get attention, keep it, and retain relevance. Too often this results in an artist spreading him or herself way, way too thin.

It could appear bratty to complain about all this new music, much of which is free and can just be avoided by, you know, staying off the Internet. But hear me out: this necessity for some artists to flood our newsfeeds, timelines, and the like with a constant barrage of new songs, videos, teasers, covers, photo shoots, etc… is nothing short of unbearable.

And all of this has been on my mind as we now see the release of the Weeknd’s first “official” project, Trilogy. It’s not the actual debut album most of us wanted but rather a compilation of his highly successful three mixtapes—House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence—that dropped for free back in 2011. All the music has been completely remastered and properly mixed, making for a crisp, vibrant effort that basically abandons the raw edge that made Abel Tesfaye and company’s sound so endearing in the first place.

Additionally, there was that air of mystery surrounding the Weeknd when House of Balloons arrived in March 2011. No one knew anything about Tesfaye, then-collaborator Jeremy “Zodiac” Rose, and their team of studio players aside from what was on the record. While plenty of folks were busy trying to figure out the identity of everyone involved—I can’t front, my interest was piqued—we were all mostly swept up in the fact that something so fucking great could come out of nowhere.

Of course, nothing really does just drop out of the sky and into our virtual laps like that. There are marketing teams behind everything, from Odd Future’s bad-assery to Lil B’s absurdity to, well, the Weeknd’s mysteriousness. What better way to build a buzz than drop some fantastic music that has people both listening and constantly searching for answers?

The downside to creating a buzz through these means is that you’re eventually going to be found out. Remember when Complex was able to track down Earl Sweatshirt because some kid at the same school in Samoa leaked photos of him? When it comes to the Internet, no one can really be that mysterious; unless of course you’re on the deep web. *shudder*

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