The Weeknd continues to master the art of anticipation. After recently trading in indie acclaim for a rumored multi-million dollar deal with Universal Republic Records, singer Abel Tesfaye is preparing to release his debut album, Trilogy, on November 13th. The three-disc set is composed largely of remastered versions of his previous releases – House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence – with the addition of new tracks "Twenty Eight," "Valerie" and "Til Dawn." Rapper Juicy J is slated to add his vocals to "Same Old Song" while OVOXO brother Drake will reprise his bars on "The Zone" ("Whoa, all these broken hearts on that pole/ Man, if pole dancing's an art, you know how many fuckin’ artists I know?")
Last night, The Weeknd previewed Trilogy at The Double Seven cocktail lounge in New York’s tragically hip Meatpacking District. The selection of songs played was sonically pristine, given just enough varnish without overdosing. Refurbished versions of "D.D.," a remake of Michael Jackson’s brazen "Dirty Diana," and the hauntingly sinister "Wicked Games" were especially crisp.
But the music proved rather ancillary – it was the singer himself who took center stage, appearing remarkably gregarious in his first major media meet-and-greet. Outfitted in a dark denim jacket and hooded sweatshirt with his signature unkempt 'fro, the baby-faced 22-year-old spent the evening politicking with guests and snapping enough photos to inundate Instagram. He carried himself with marked ease, breezing through a revolving door of conversations while maintaining personal intimacy with each one.
"I remember you. You tried to interview me at OVO Fest!" he warmly joked, greeting Rolling Stone with a hug. It was a far cry from the reticent, then-unsigned performer I once met while he shyly noshed on Doritos and tinkered on an iPad backstage at Drake’s concert.
Still, newfound sociability had its limits, and The Weeknd refused to speak openly about Trilogy all night. It was unclear whether the decision to keep mum was of the singer’s own volition or a larger public relations strategy. "don't let nothing fool you, i'm alone in this. only time knows how it'll all end," he shared cryptically on Twitter earlier in the week. With one veil pulled back, another remains. Fans will just have to wait and see what’s next.
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