The Weeknd – “Starboy” ft. Daft Punk (Singles Going Steady)

The Weeknd returns with one of his tightest pop singles yet.

Andrew Paschal: The Weeknd returns with one of his tightest pop singles yet. “Starboy” eschews the bouncy R&B of “Can’t Feel My Face” for something more nocturnal and tormented. Daft Punk show surprising reserve in their production efforts, pulling back from their maximalist impulses to engage with the track’s brooding ambience. The noirish combination of sensuality and melancholy is oddly reminiscent of Madonna’s 1992 classic “Erotica”, and the tightly coiled, looping beats are like candy for the brain. My first exposure to this song was during the Weeknd’s recent performance on Saturday Night Live, which was propulsive and almost euphoric. The studio track, however, features the blue-hued keyboards more prominently, making for a more somber, but no less engaging, listen. [9/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: Don’t let the featured artist credit fool you: “Starboy” is all about the Weeknd. With a lush, understated Daft Punk-produced cushion behind him, the Weeknd buries his past and embraces his present and future fame by shining the spotlight on his own considerable talent. His voice soars over itself in layers, using simplicity as its strength, and echoes over the whole arrangement. This is the Weeknd’s own anthem, an ode to his own success and confidence. It’s well-deserved and a solid tune. [8/10]

Morgan Y. Evans: I am not promoting violence but when the Weeknd suffocates at the start of the video I thought , “thank God I won’t have to hear anymore of dude’s terrible lyrics ruining his golden voice yet again.” Alas, one more song that says “bitch” casually as soon as possible and has an annoying name that seems to want to bite Bowie. Another beat that would be chill if it didn’t have some parts way too blown out and stupid lines about cars. I don’t care about your main or side “bitch” or desiring anyone cool with being called that. This sexist spongebob MJ-wannabe is so wicked overrated. I miss the real pop stars. I’m broke though so my opinion doesn’t matter and won’t be stopping any crap like this from being made anytime soon. It should be evident in 2016 we sorely need some art with way deeper content even though Public Enemy’s Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black came out 25 years ago. This shit sucks. [2/10]

Chris Ingalls: The percussive, heavily syncopated beat and rich, understated keyboards provide a nice, lush bed for what’s essentially a pretty standard, yet well produced, pop song. The song seems to hold back a bit, simmering and not really “exploding,” giving it a nice sophistication. It won’t change your life, but it’s a good tune. [7/10]

Paul Carr: This is a startlingly mix of Nine Inch Nails beats, languid piano and vulnerable vocals. It’s surprisingly dark and emotional with only the merest traces of Daft Punk’s signature disco sound. This is no upbeat club banger. This a song to be played when you get home from the club after a night of rejection. [9/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Rolling in exotic cars with pumas and wrecking shit, both figuratively and literally, the future rap of the Weeknd over a Daft Punk sonic landscape is pure dope. The video a cinematic indulge as well, although it’s a far stretch to imagine this dude as a hard knock with the b&e and a murder in the first frames, it’s fresh all around. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.00