After having a banner 2015 by ruling the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts with his smash hits “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills,” Toronto singer The Weeknd has been spending this year grinding (and sleeping) in the studio to work on the follow-up to his second studio effort Beauty Behind the Madness (via Republic Records).
After experiencing massive success with Beauty, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last September, the XO fan army has their fingers crossed that the falsetto-flaunting crooner (real name Abel Tesfaye) will churn out some more high notes on his next offering. Here is everything we know (so far) about The Weeknd’s third album.
A source tells Billboard that The Weeknd has been recording in Hollywood’s Conway Studios, a super-private compound that has previously hosted acts like Dr. Luke, Katy Perry and Beyonce. The singer rented out the space, which sits right across from the Paramount Pictures studio, for at least three to four months and has sent some of the studio staff home so that he and his team can work privately.
In a July interview with Billboard, Republic Records executive VP/head of urban A&R Wendy Goldstein revealed that the XO leader was logging studio time with masked electronic music duo Daft Punk. “Actually, we have a session coming up in two days … with The Weeknd and Daft Punk,” she said. “I’ve always been a massive Daft Punk fan, and this is the first time that I’ve actually been involved with an artist who’s going to go and work with them.”
The Weeknd also shared a Facebook photo (Aug. 17) of miniature Daft Punk figurines on top of a speaker.
In May, another A-lister, Justin Timberlake, teased that an XO-meets-JT track could happen. “[The Weeknd] and I have been talking about doing a collab,” the Trolls soundtrack producer told BBC 1Xtra. “He’s working on an album right now. I don’t know if I was supposed to say that.”
The Weeknd told Vogue in May that he is reuniting with the production team responsible for his 2011 mixtape House of Balloons. “But it’s a new thing,” Tesfaye said simply. “Always a new thing.” The mood music master — who was also featured on Beyonce‘s sultry Lemonade track “6 Inch,” Rihanna‘s Anti cut “Woo” and Kanye West‘s Life of Pablo song “FML” — also noted of his time in the studio, “Creatively, some magic is happening right now, and I don’t want to lose it.”
The Weeknd often refers to his opuses as “chapters.” In March, he shared a smoky selfie in a tweet that read, “chapter done soon. just let these pages flip.” The upcoming album would be considered “Chapter IV,” following the releases of 2012’s Trilogy, 2013’s Kiss Land and 2015’s Beauty Behind the Madness.
According to Complex, The Weeknd’s Twitter bio once read, “Chapter 1: Trilogy | Chapter 2: Kiss Land | Chapter 3.”
chapter done soon. just let these pages flip. pic.twitter.com/0VpiqcHVhJ
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) March 13, 2016
The Cover Art
On Wednesday (Sept. 21), The Weeknd unveiled his new haircut and the title of his third studio effort Starboy. The cover art featured the loc-less singer with an intense gaze while holding his head against a red backdrop and the album’s title in bold, yellow letters, shot by photographer Nabildo.
The Lead Single and Release Date
According to a pre-order link on iTunes, the 18-track set will be released on Nov. 28. The special announcement also coincided with the release of the title track and lead single “Starboy,” the stunt-worthy ode to fame which features electronic duo Daft Punk. The set will also contain a song titled “False Alarm.”