Music January 16, 2012 By Thomas Beckwith

eos 1 The Weekndweeknd title The Weeknd
On the first two entries in his mixtape trilogy, the native Torontoan Abel Tesfaye turned the meaning of R & B on its head. In place of the easy nostrums and tear-the-house-down melismas given precedence by his forebears, Tesfaye wrote confessions of his menace, letting anyone who dared to think well of his lifestyle understand how degraded it can be. His capstone, Echoes of Silence, is the trilogy’s dark apotheosis – at times, you wonder if songs like “Initiation” are grounds for criminal charges. Lyrics like “I love it when your eyes are red” and “You probably went and fucked the world” betray his true intentions, while the work of his producer, Illangelo, obscures them with somnolent synth lines. It’s tempting to label him the Antichrist of R & B, but that undersells his accomplishment. As a heretic of modern nightlife, The Weeknd is making his own genre.