Call it the Joylessness of Sex. Toronto-based crooner Abel Tesfay, a.k.a. the Weeknd, has emerged as one of 2011's breakout stars by giving a bleak, arty spin to Love Man soul. On this mixtape, the music is noirish and dour: beats that blip, click and boom; shuddering, undulating synths; falsetto vocals that drift over spooky minor chords. It's a captivating sound: Check out "The Zone," an eerily spacey jam featuring Drake. But while it's refreshing to hear an R&B singer emphasizing the psychic toll of libertinism, his angst sex grows tiresome. Once in a while, can't this dude just get laid, and have fun doing it?
Listen to Thursday:
• Artist to Watch: The Weeknd