House of Balloons - The Weeknd
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 139 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 3 out of 139

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  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.
  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. Expand
  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. Expand
  4. Jul 8, 2012
    I've honestly never discovered an artist like the Weeknd. It's not just about his voice or the beats: He's really telling stories. The stories mostly revolve around this upcoming, young artist who's thrusted into the spotlight and his experiences. I think older, mature people can have an easier time staying grounded. The Weeknd makes mistakes and sings them for all to hear. R&B has a place in the future, thought hear the Weeknd's style is PBR&B or Alternative R&B.

    Long story short, this is one of the best albums of 2011-present (whatever date you are reading this). I know I didn't say much about the album, but the mix-tapes free on the Weeknd's site. All you need to know it that 81 people can't be wrong.
  5. Jan 28, 2012
    With House of Balloons, The Weeknd's subversive genius was unveiled. In coalescing tranquil vocals with a dark and insidious subject matter often associated with R&B's audacious relative (hip-hop), Abel Tesfaye established himself as a trailblazing wonder-kid with the potential to take the music industry by storm. Although he has released two more exemplary mixtapes, House of Balloons remains his best and most holistic work. From the first song until the last, Tesfaye and his team of innovative producers were able to create an atmospheric sound that was both innocent and predatory -- which is probably why The Weeknd resonates with so many of us. Expand
  6. May 8, 2011
    I expected a lot more from this album. I got such great critic reviews. Now I wonder if they were listening to the album with the speakers turned off or someone with a gun to their head forcing them to write a great review. Sure, maybe some people like songs all about sex, drugs, and violence, but it gets boring after a while. I actually thought that the singer was a woman at first. There is something off with that. The only song worth listening to is the first track "High For This". Other than that, don't bother with it. Collapse
  7. May 22, 2011
    The instrumentation is fantastic and while the vocals aren't the best, they serve their place here. I have never liked R&B as a genre in anyway, but at some point during House of Balloons the atmosphere will overtake whatever preconceived notions you might have had. Although I usually don't have a problem with profanity in music, I swear the guy says 'f-ck' no less than 30 times here, and it's often unnecessary. In short, House of Balloons is an immersing album and really great overall, but it still succumbs to some typical genre-shortcomings. Yes, that includes 'shawtys f-ckin' in the corner.' Expand
  8. May 15, 2012
    This has to be the one of the best albums I have ever heard. The style that I haven't heard blew me away. Very relaxing chill music to listen to. It calms be out and puts me in a very good mood. This is such a great album that I listen to every couple of days. Hopefully when he gets big he doesn't change up his style. I like his uniqueness and that is what I believe makes his music so special.
  9. Apr 13, 2011
    I gave this album a 1 instead of a 0, because, while it is utter trash, it does have slightly better instrumentation then more mainstream R&B releases. However it still has negatives like those awful drum machines beats. I simply cannot stand the R&B Style vocals. Every time I hear them I immediately think of mainstream stuff weather its a fair comparison or not. However the worst part of this album is the lyrics. Even if it was a concept album you can pretty much forget all of that, because the guys behind The weekend just seem to be genuinely terrible lyricists. To top it all off I had to constantly keep reminding myself that I wasn't listening to the radio. Its almost as if The Weekend released this album with the soul intent of being picked up by some major label. It just sounds like the average money grabber of a song they usually produce. Expand
  10. Sep 28, 2011
    This mixtape/album is really damn good. Vocals and lyrics are emotive and thought provoking and the production hits between the lines of a commercial R&B sound and an ambient electronica feel. Oh, and it is also free to download. One of the best albums I've heard this year. And it's free.
  11. Apr 9, 2011
    Hard to believe that the backlash against this album is already happening (that smug smegma Alex Macpherson at the Guardian can take his elitist opinions on R & B and shove them up his mother's arse) . An assured and near-perfect debut. Don't be dissuaded by the contrarian douchebag haters.
  12. Nov 27, 2011
    This mixtape is really good. The Weeknd is the next big R&B star. This is the best mixtape this year. If he made this an album it would hav been one of the best album. This is a free download it worth downloading. You have nothing to lose.
  13. May 24, 2011
    Outstanding, original R&B. It's dark, a little jaded, sexy as hell, and brutally, in-your-face honest. I can't imagine another album trumping this one for best of the year for me personally. I can't stop listening to it and it gives me goosebumps every single time. These tunes are stuck in my head all day, and playing in my car or on my computer constantly, and it just never gets old. Can't wait to hear some new material Expand
  14. Jun 21, 2013
    I'd be an idiot swaggot to criticize the enigmatic and transcending nature of the mixtape. The Weeknd showed that he is and still at his own PBR&B prime. The structured and aesthetic contents are able to give you the chills in a very calm pulsation. And this is where I worship the gifted talent, The Weeknd!! One day, for sure he will become a great artist!
    Highlights: ''Twenty Eight'' and
    the dark, sexual detail of the song itself, ''High For This'', which is the first song that caused me into getting interested in The Weeknd's music for the first time I listened to him, the relaxed song ''The Morning'' and the go-with-the-flow tune ''Loft Music''! Expand
  15. Jul 19, 2011
    This album is. Amazing. I actually deleted ( available free ) but i had a separate copy which i started listening to again. Never has an album taken so long to get into but now its in my Top 10 along with Destroyer, Antlers, Whomadewho, Wild Beasts etc for 2011. Get into it. You won't regret it.
  16. Apr 15, 2011
    It's an amazing entry from the R&B front. Its sounds like if House of Balloons is just about filthy sex and drugs but it is an amazing imaginative journey of progressive new R&B styled music. The term "Broken Soul" music was invented to describe the Swedish act cirKus (Neneh Cherry, Cameron McVey, Lola Moon and Matt Karmil) but it would fit even better to this album. For me the surprise of the year (Ok - we are only in the beginning of 2011 but I'm sure that this one will last).
    Just go to the homepage and download the whole goodness for free and enjoy!
  17. Nov 17, 2011
    Absolutely outstanding. 'Album' of the year for me. Just amazingly unique. The dark, drug-fueled mood is set brilliantly by the wonderful production by illangelo and DocMckinney with Jeremy Rose and the astounding vocals by Abel.
  18. Jul 8, 2011
    Though left-field experiments are evident, The Weeknd reaches a certain degree of commercial goodness in the likes of a Ne-Yo album. This is refereshing R&B that never denied its sound, unlike modern R&B artists that mash up with dance and pop. Definitely a must-hear.
  19. Jun 6, 2011
    I just didn't get the hype. I agree with Stuie, musically it's a little above average and lyrically it's sub-par. I downloaded it for free off of their website, and I got what I paid for.
  20. Jun 29, 2011
    Easily my favorite album so far in 2011. The beats, the vocals, everything works so well. Lyrically content is catchy, sometimes simple, but it works. I'm not much into R&B style, but this is by far my favorite album over any genre.
  21. Jul 13, 2011
    This album projects the intentions of a shadowy artist while concomitantly challenging the listener's own values, beliefs, and morals. Therefore, it is a rare and poignant album that will produce strong reactions in people who give it a good listen. On an emotional level (pretend that you don't know English), this album somehow conveys a sense of overindulgence and related uneasiness in the instrumentation and production alone (feel free to disagree). However, when this vague impression is combined with the lyrics to various songs, what you have is something that is strangely familiar yet novel in its own right. In other words, if our lives were projected on the big screen, the Weeknd would be playing in the background when we slipped up and drove home completely wasted, hooked up with a random stranger in the dark corner of a bar/house party, experimented with illicit drugs, and woke up with a feeling or regret, longing, and disillusionment. Although you don't want your kids to identify with anything that is described on this album, listening to it allows for a brief regression into one's own guilty pleasures and perhaps past experiences (or desires?). Perhaps this phenomenon is what contributes to the somewhat ineffable nature of House of Balloons's hypnotic appeal. Expand
  22. Jul 26, 2011
    Over hyped. Production by Doc is up to his usual standards but considering his experience (he's done tracks for britney spears to MSTRKFT) this can't be considered a debut. Vocals and lyrics are utterly forgettable. Typical R&B with dark production.
  23. Sep 22, 2011
    For sure one of the best albums this year. I hope he gets a Grammy, or at lest gets nominated for one. Best tracks: House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls, Wicked Games
  24. Sep 24, 2011
    This is one of the best r&b albums in the last 5 years. he brings a experimental crossover vibe to the genre. It's a dark, drug-induced, love album.
  25. Oct 16, 2011
    Truly, one of the most addictive album I've ever heard in years. I wouldn't even know how to categorize this whole album as because of how dark and stunning the samples are. Not only was his sound so beautiful but his voice also forced us to leave the pause button alone. This is 2011's Best Album of the Year.
  26. Dec 15, 2011
    With massive collaborations and critical love, The Weeknd hype was trend this year, almost like Drake's debut So Far Gone. I have to say I had high expectations mainly because of this, and while the House of Balloons is not bad it is just safe. The Weeknd sounds just like Drake 2.0 to me right now.
  27. Apr 4, 2012
    Amazing! the best album 0f 2011! The weekend is ahead of his time! you must listen to this album, don't wait to long or you'll regret it. With many other albums you listen to now you really don't go back to them, but with this one I keep on listening to it over and over. CLASSIC!!!!!!
  28. Jan 10, 2012
    This album was classic great lyrics and great content when i heard about The Weeknd I thought he was bad but i was wrong he's the next big thing in R&B and music in general pay attention to him
  29. Jan 20, 2012
    'House Of Balloons' is likely to be the darkest R&B record you will ever have the pleasure of stumbling across. Covered in a layer of mystery, The Weeknd is unsigned and no one knew what it was at the time of release. All they could do is appreciate their tales of kinky sex and unusual choice of samples (Beach House, Siouxsie & The Banshees). At first Abel Tesfaye's voice can be mistaken for commercial R&B but when you look at how strange and eerie 'Glass Table Girls' is or how deliciously original 'The Morning' is, it is clear that you are in for something that has never been done before. The Weeknd completely redefine soul music with a record that is impossible to pull yourself away from. Expand
  30. Mar 8, 2012
    This is an amazing debut for hopefully an amazing artist. If Abel can produce another album like this we will all be hearing about The Weeknd. The production on the album is like no other. When you listen to this mix tape you'll think its a real album that you bought.
  31. Apr 19, 2012
    This album is about as good as R&B gets nowadays. Despite using cliche themes, The Weekend fuses this album into something worth listening to. Great vocals and instrumentation, but at times it gets bogged down by overly repetitive hooks.
  32. Jan 20, 2013
    Abel Tesfaye deserves to be on top of Billboard! On his first mixtape he serves us 9 tracks full with smart lyrics about drugs, sex and love and his celestial voice that impresses me everytime I hear it. It's mainly music for young people but in this sad and partly melancholic way, you don't see often. This mixtape is an artwork and one of my favorites of 2011.
  33. Dec 22, 2012
    This album is beast. It is full to the brim with sex music that will make your ears orgasm to the point of feeling drunk or high. The Weeknd and his sweet falsetto is a breakthrough for new original artists like him and his music is explored but lies unexplored, which brings new listeners hope for Fresh, new music.
  34. Feb 24, 2013
    Pretty much the most refreshing listen I've had in a long time. Any occasion is a fine occasion to play this record. These songs are never out of place. Instant classic.
  35. Oct 29, 2013
    The production on each track is pretty good in a vacuum, but that's because they all sound the same in my opinion. To me this album sounds like one really long song that just drags on forever. The beats have to change up at SOME POINT, right? I find this kind of boring. A few great moments in the album, but the only time I listen to any track except Wicked Games and maybe The Party & The After Party is when I'm taking a midday nap..not even joking Expand
  36. Feb 13, 2014
    I can rarely say this but every single song on this mix-tape is OUTSTANDING , usually when i listen to a mix-tape of someones i have to skip one or two songs but with house of balloons every song is amazing!
    No skipping for me !!!

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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Aug 3, 2011
    For what The Weeknd have produced, regardless of what genre it is or isn't, is a very good record.