My Dear Melancholy

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My Dear Melancholy
MyDearMelancholy - album by The Weeknd.jpg
EP by
ReleasedMarch 30, 2018 (2018-03-30)
Studio
Genre
Length21:50
Label
Producer
The Weeknd chronology
Starboy
(2016)
My Dear Melancholy
(2018)
Singles from My Dear Melancholy
  1. "Call Out My Name"
    Released: April 10, 2018[6]

My Dear Melancholy (stylized as My Dear Melancholy,) is the first extended play (EP) by Canadian singer and songwriter The Weeknd. It has been referred to alternatively as an album and a mini-album, with the project's liner notes simply describing it as an "official studio recording". It was released on March 30, 2018, by Republic Records and XO. Primarily produced by Frank Dukes, who serves as an executive producer alongside The Weeknd, it features contributions from Gesaffelstein, as well as Mike Will Made It, DaHeala, Skrillex and Daft Punk's Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, among others.

My Dear Melancholy has been described as a return to the darker style of The Weeknd's earlier work, such as Trilogy (2012) and Kiss Land (2013) and focuses on the Weeknd's past relationships with model Bella Hadid and singer Selena Gomez. The EP was supported by the lead single, "Call Out My Name". It received generally positive reviews from critics and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200.

Background and release[edit]

On March 3, 2018, American rapper Travis Scott teased a new album by The Weeknd on Twitter, referring to it as "scary", and comparing it to when he "first heard" his music.[7] Later that month, The Weeknd suggested that he was in the finishing stages of completing a new project, sharing multiple silent videos on Instagram of a recording studio, with the caption "mastering". This followed several months of in-studio pictures shared on the platform.[8][9]

On March 28, The Weeknd teased the release of a new project, posting a screenshot of a text-message conversation between creative director La Mar Taylor and himself, concerning whether or not they should "drop [a new project on] Friday".[10] The next day he announced the project to be released that night, sharing its cover art and title.[11] On February 22, he had previously shared an image of the album's title written on a notepad.[12]

Following the album's release, vertically-orientated music videos for "Call Out My Name" and "Try Me" were released exclusively through Spotify.[13][14]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Gesaffelstein (pictured) is the project's only feature, producing the tracks he is featured on.

The project has been described as "darker" than the Weeknd's previous studio releases Beauty Behind the Madness and Starboy, and has been described as a return to his earlier work though with more electronic music based production[3] with Israel Daramola from Spin describing it as him "returning to the darkened drug den sounds of his earlier work".[15] My Dear Melancholy is characterized as an alternative R&B,[1] R&B[3] and electropop[5] project with production credits from Skrillex and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo from Daft Punk.[16] My Dear Melancholy's only feature is techno artist Gesaffelstein who produced the tracks "I Was Never There" and "Hurt You".[17]

Lyrically, My Dear Melancholy focuses on heartbreak and anger related to a breakup.[18][19] The lyrics focus around The Weeknd's past relationships, mainly with model Bella Hadid[20] and singer Selena Gomez, the latter being highly publicized.[21] The theme is a complete change from The Weeknd's past two projects which were pop-based and more mainstream.[22] The Weeknd sings in relation to Gomez' kidney transplant operation and her relationship with Justin Bieber with CNN's Lisa Respers France labeling Gomez as The Weeknd's "muse".[23] The Weeknd uses Gomez' lyrics from the song "Same Old Love" on the song "Wasted Times" in a way that Billboard described "tormenting."[24]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?5.7/10[25]
Metacritic63/100[26]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[27]
The A.V. ClubC[28]
Consequence of SoundC+[19]
Exclaim!8/10[29]
The Guardian3/5 stars[18]
HipHopDX4.0/5[4]
NME3/5 stars[30]
Pitchfork6.5/10[5]
PopMatters5/10[31]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[32]

My Dear Melancholy received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 63, based on 16 reviews.[26] Alex Petridis of The Guardian stated that My Dear Melancholy "abandons the pick'n'mix and indeed hit-and-miss approach of previous album Starboy in favour of something more cohesive: uniformly downbeat and twilit, it flows really well", but criticized its lyrical content.[18] In a positive review, Ryan B. Patrick of Exclaim! commented that the project serves "as a soft reset of sorts, a musical palette cleanser that takes stock of what the Weeknd has accomplished thus far."[29] For NME, Jordan Bassett called the album "thrilling", praising its tight and concise nature and "notable moments of stylistic brilliance" evident in Gesaffelstein's contributions, however criticizing its lack of character, nothing that The Weeknd's predictability has led to his "impact [becoming] increasingly scattershot".[30] Online publication HipHopDX commented that the EP "doesn't break any new ground, and — as he's done in the past — revisits elements of previous projects. However, without the bloated tracklist of Starboy, and any attempt to please an audience outside of his core, the lack of innovation doesn't seem take away from the concise, focused, conceptual nature of this well-produced R&B gem."[4]

In a mixed review for Pitchfork, Larry Fitzmaurice wrote that the project "finds him in limbo between the bleary-eyed vibe of his early mixtapes and the bulletproof pop stylings of his last two albums", praising the album's production and "Tesfaye's still-sharp ear for cool, contemporary sounds", but criticizing similarities to his earlier work – specifically between "Call Out My Name" and "Earned It", as well as "Hurt You" and "I Feel It Coming" – and concluding that "it's too early in this stage of Tesfaye's career to so obviously attempt to replicate past glories".[5] Israel Daramola of Spin criticized the album's lyrics as "mopey" and "whiny", and its production as "endlessly sludgy and murky", writing that the album "is incredibly self-involved and self-pitying, nothing but surface-level introspection that shows a lot of emotion but none of it in the service of anything but the singer's ego".[15]

Accolades[edit]

Publication List Rank Ref.
Complex 50 Best Albums of 2018
46

Commercial performance[edit]

My Dear Melancholy was streamed more than 26 million times on its first day of release on Apple Music,[34] this was double the amount of streams that were obtained on Spotify according to Republic Records,[35] though Spotify claims that My Dear Melancholy was able to rake up 29 million streams in 24 hours.[36] The EP was projected to move between 165,000-180,000 album-equivalent units first week[37] and eventually moved 169,000 album-equivalent units with 68,000 being pure sales, hitting number one on the US Billboard 200. My Dear Melancholy was also the shortest album, by track count, to top the Billboard 200 in eight years, a feat previously done by Glee: The Music, Journey to Regionals.[38] As of July 2018, it has sold 117,000 copies in the US.[39]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[40]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Call Out My Name"Frank Dukes3:48
2."Try Me"3:41
3."Wasted Times"
3:40
4."I Was Never There" (featuring Gesaffelstein)
4:01
5."Hurt You" (featuring Gesaffelstein)
3:50
6."Privilege"
  • Tesfaye
  • Quenneville
  • Feeney
  • Frank Dukes
  • DaHeala
2:50
Total length:21:50

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[40]

  • DaHeala – keyboards, programming (tracks 2, 6)
  • Shin Kamiyama – engineering
  • Florian Lagatta – engineering (track 5)
  • Jaycen Joshua – mixing
  • Maddox Chhim – mixing assistance
  • David Nakaj – mixing assistance
  • Chris Athens – mastering

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[76] Gold 10,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[77] Silver 60,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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  77. ^ "British album certifications – Weeknd – My Dear Melancholy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 15, 2018. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type My Dear Melancholy in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.