Abel Tesfaye has morphed from underground mixtape mystique to Grammy-winning certified pop act over the past five years, but you may know him better as The Weeknd.
Even before his chart achievements — including being the first male artist to top the Billboard Hot 100, Billboard 200 and Billboard Artist 100 simultaneously — the singer possessed an undeniable mass appeal with his reinvented R&B of hazy drug-fueled nights and candid sexuality.
At the end of the month, just in time for post-Thanksgiving celebrations, The Weeknd will embark on phase one of his Legend of the Fall world tour, which will kick off in his native Toronto and carry on through Canada, Europe and the U.S. It’s never too early to start a little music pregame for a concert, especially if you’re feeling burnt out from the daily work grind.
Here are some of The Weeknd’s best turn-up songs to prepare for his upcoming tour, or get you hyped for the next night out.
The first single from The Weeknd’s forthcoming album has proven to be one of his strongest, currently peaking at No. 2 on the Hot 100. Even before your first listen, knowing it featured dance music’s legendary Daft Punk was a clear indication of its hit potential. “Starboy” embodies his traditional dark narrative, yet it still has a radio-ready chorus that keeps you singing. Kygo also recently gave it a nice chilly ’80s touch.
“Can’t Feel My Face”
This one goes without saying: All you have to do is whisper “I can’t feel my face” and someone will probably fire back the rest for you. The Juno Award-winning song was a pop-perfected single that defined 2015 and earned much critical and commercial acclaim. Even with its substance-abuse confessional lyrics, which are actually quite sad, it manages to grab everyone’s ear as a conventional upbeat anthem. A year later and it still gets the people going.
“Wanderlust” is a hidden gem, from his debut studio album Kiss Land, that’s packed with all the powerful dance and bass compositions that are echoed later in his chart hits. Starting off with an electrifying guitar intro, the track moves into an his noted ’80s-esque club grooves that’s personified on a sample of the decade’s “Precious Little Diamond” by Fox the Fox. Pharrell also blessed us with a lively remix that was released as a bonus track.
Not too many artists can dethrone themselves with their own music. The lead single off the excellent Beauty Behind the Madness was also his second No. 1 on Hot 100, replacing the previously peaked “Can’t Feel My Face.” It entraps you instantly on those first ominous organ notes and grips you through the pounding melodies of regrettable lust. And fans haven’t grown tired just yet, as “The Hills” remains as The Weeknd’s most popular music video with nearly 1 billion YouTube views.
Another unforgettable Beauty Behind the Madness track, “Often” initially arrived in the summer of 2014 and was a sneak-peak into the song-writing sensations that would arrive on his new album the following year. Although it didn’t reach Top 40 territory, it still became a Weeknd staple for fans with its experimental sample from Turkish singer Nükhet Duru. It also boasted a remix from ScHoolboy Q with Rick Ross and a slinky dance one from Kygo.
“King of the Fall”
What came first: the king or the legend? In The Weeknd’s case, he was a king among his fans before hitting commercial success, and “King of the Fall” was an early proclamation. Released as a standalone single in 2014, it didn’t make the track list for Beauty Behind the Madness, but still centered on all of the misery-driven highs of fame, sex and drugs that were explored on the album. Abel did what he does best on this one; translate stark party confessionals as an unconventional turn-up anthem.
“Drunk in Love” remix
We all know Beyoncé slayed on the original, a club and pop anthem of 2013 and one of her most iconic songs, but The Weeknd also brought his own fire to the track with his contrasting version. While Bey was high on a love like no other, Abel croons of a more literal drunken high that he’s been riding since age 20. It’s raw and honest, the only way The Weeknd knows how to be. This one can soundtrack your night out or the regrettable morning hangover.