Originally published through Tone Deaf
Trilogy is a two and a half hour long epic from mysterious Drake-affiliate The Weeknd – or as we now know he is actually named, Abel Tesfaye.
It brings together mixtapes House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes Of Silence, all released online in 2011, in a sprawling package of reimagined RnB.
House Of Balloons is the most radio-friendly of all the mixtapes – with audiences having probably already heard tracks like ‘High For This’ or ‘Wicked Games.’
It establishes a harem of impressionable girls that will be the main characters throughout the trilogy, and the various carnal acts they can be convinced to perform.
In this narrative, money, fame, drugs, and Tesfaye’s charisma create a cocktail more effective than rohypnol in achieving his sordid aims.
But as we learn the deeper that the three album’s progress, these pleasures are temporary – the narrator’s self-torment is permanent, and by Thursday the cracks are beginning to show.
It is this undercurrent of pain that makes what would otherwise be the story of a predatory creep the tale of an intriguing, three-dimensional character.
Traces of longing, fear, and disgust fade in and out of the seductive base, and Tesfaye’s controlled voice develops a fragile, desperate edge to its crooning.
Echoes Of Silence is the dreamlike comedown to House Of Balloons’ high, with Thursday the brittle, swaying bridge linking them together. All three, however, have the same viscous production and pulsing, gradual momentum.
The touches of echoing synth and thudding, inverted beats are subtle and convincing with shadows disappearing around corners.
Trilogy is a mirror of the dark fantasyland it presents; sexy, addictive and dangerously inviting.