House of Balloons - The Weeknd

Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Jun 13, 2011
    When it's all said and done, Tesfaye has presided over a mind bending, drug induced tour through an underground world of debauchery that only leaves him hollow. He commands the mood better than artists who have been in the game for years and yet this his first release.
  2. May 10, 2011
    Here, the Weeknd thumbs its nose at mainstream R&B's hollow hedonism while simultaneously creating a flawless soundtrack to a blackout house party. What you should do with the track, ultimately, is press play.
  3. Apr 20, 2011
    House of Balloons is a surprisingly strong and confident debut for a new artist.
  4. Apr 27, 2011
    House of Balloons is a gorgeous album that pairs moody beats and samples with morbid lines about drugs and late-night encounters, all of it caulked with sex.
  5. The core of the album's success is its fantastic establishment of tonal environment--a brooding sexuality both sadistic and carnivalesque.
  6. Apr 8, 2011
    What makes this whole thing work in an album context is that all the thematic and sonic pieces fit together-- these weird, morning-after tales of lust, hurt, and over-indulgence ("Bring the drugs, baby, I can bring my pain," goes one refrain) are matched by this incredibly lush, downcast music.
  7. Apr 11, 2011
    House of Balloons is an album suspended in contradiction--a collection of sex jams tired of sex, or a paean to coke addled irretrievably by the same. It lacks dynamism because it has to; the Weeknd know nothing else, just that in every solid groove lurks the metronomic pulse of something waiting to die.
  8. Apr 8, 2011
    House Of Balloons' hook is its canny incorporation of indie-rock attitude into R&B songs. But Tesfaye's lurid, unrepentant depiction of hard drugs and empty sex is what lingers long after the novelty of a couple of Beach House samples wears off.
  9. While overall House of Balloons carries a chilling vibe, it proceeds to rock the listener with exciting tempos and relaxing melodies that intertwine to form a beautiful piece of art.
  10. Aug 3, 2011
    For what The Weeknd have produced, regardless of what genre it is or isn't, is a very good record.
  11. Jul 14, 2011
    A startling debut from a young Canadian RnB artist with huge potential.
  12. 80
    The Weeknd have brought something much more, something much needed: something real. Kudos.
  13. Apr 8, 2011
    The wormy hooks and earnest falsettos suggest the possibility of ginormous hits if Weeknd were to clean things up a bit, both lyrically and sonically. But let's hope that doesn't happen too soon.
  14. Apr 8, 2011
    Lyrically, the mood vacillates between confrontational and reflective, but House Of Balloons really soars when his blunt resolve collides with a more nuanced or gentle vocal delivery, creating a tension reminiscent of Aaliyah's clear-headed emotional states.
  15. Apr 8, 2011
    Despite being a free mixtape, House of Balloons feels like a true album, a true labor of love (and pain and hardship and everything else), more genuine than more prominent R&B stars, but perhaps that is due to The Weeknd's anonymity.
  16. Dec 21, 2011
    It's no turning point in a field populated by dozens of elder space cadets and mood architects, from Massive Attack to Spacek to Sa-Ra. As a flawed first step from a young newcomer, however, it's impressive.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 139 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 37
  2. Negative: 1 out of 37
  1. Apr 15, 2011
    This is quality, one of the best things ive heard in ages. I cant quite work out why its so good, it just is and I cant stop listening to it. It kind of reminds me a bit of Massive Attack in their earlier days.... the Siouxie and the Banshees sample really works. Its quality, best album of 2011 so far for me. Full Review »
  2. Jul 9, 2011
    It's a bit of a grower. Lyrically, the album doesn't stray much from themes of sex and drugs. Rather than seeming boastful, the pained vocals and dark instrumentals lends these themes a hollow feeling. Early standouts include "Glass Table Girls," "Loft Music," and "What You Need." Overall, the album definitely isn't perfect. Some of the tracks are forgettable, and the singer's delivery rarely seems to vary throughout the album. Still, worth checking out. Full Review »
  3. May 23, 2011
    Without a doubt the best album of 2011 so far. For an R&B album, it has a very raw feel to it, both lyrically and musically.  Tesfaye runs his voice through same vein we've come to know in most pop R&B, and for that The Weeknd seems to get less than a second listing to from many.  Though there is nothing commercially appealing about House of Balloons and it's cadence measures out more Prince than Bruno Mars.  Either way, once you give the album a chance, you might find it's hard to dig yourself out of Tesfaye's hole--and you probably won't want to. Full Review »