Upon its release, Thursday received generally positive reviews from critics, who drew comparisons to House of Balloons. "Rolling Stone" and "The Birds Part 1" were released as buzz singles to precede the mixtape's release. Thursday was later remastered and packaged with The Weeknd's compilation album Trilogy (2012).
Thursday received generally positive responses from contemporary music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 80, based on 17 reviews, which indicates "critical acclaim".BBC Music's Mike Diver made a positive review, saying, "File him beside Frank Ocean as an RnB star set to climb to new heights in 2012." Matthew Cole from Slant Magazine wrote, "The Weeknd is in full command of his craft, and at this point it's almost impossible for me to imagine that he won't deliver on the finale. He's earned my trust, as would any other artist who had already released two of the year's best albums." Jody Rosen of Rolling Stone gave a mixed review, commenting, "While it's refreshing to hear an R&B singer emphasizing the psychic toll of libertinism, his angst sex grows tiresome. Once in a while, can't this dude just get laid, and have fun doing it?"