The Weeknd releases new version of 'Wicked Games'
Hearing that The Weeknd has signed a deal with major label offshoot Republic to re-release The House of Balloons trilogy will surely put music fans in a tangled headspace. On the one hand progression and attention can be good if the art stays consistent. But what was endearing about Abel Tesfaye was his DIY ethic. His own set of producers, his own space, his own aesthetic - he triumphed in showing that major label backing doesn’t necessarily correlate with raw talent.
Leaving prejudgement aside, the first fruit spawning from The Weeknd's 'strategic' label alliance is a refined version of 'Wicked Games' - you could probably go as far to say it's been augmented. A minute shorter, the backing track is laden with an all-mod-con superfluous punch. Perhaps most confusing is that the profanities have been pasted over with silence. But he's no poster-boy and he's not prim or pristine. The litter, shabby haze and explicit material that has been deleted, is the real 'stuff' of the trilogy, fitting in with it's wider hedonistic rhetoric.
Still, it probably sounds and feels better than most of the clutter out there. Have a listen for yourselves.