Echoes of Silence

“It’s gonna end how you expected, girl, you’re such a masochist,” Abel Tesfaye warns. That spoiler alert shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Canadian smoothie who records as The Weeknd has helped make R&B a creepier place, crooning too-honest come-ons over cavernous, ballad-slow tracks that balance leering sensuality with vague menace. His third mixtape inside of a year opens with a cover of Michael Jackson’s violence-tinged “Dirty Diana,” setting the tone for a record that goes well beyond the plush glumness of his pal Drake to make sex seem downright sepulchural – from the sad-pianos title track, where a booty call sounds almost suicidal, to the mournfully booming “Montreal,” where Tesfaye sings in forlorn French and testifies “I’m a pro at letting go.” For this guy, every romantic beginning is only a means to the end.

Listen to "Montreal":