Kiss Land - The Weeknd
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 91
    Sonically, his oeuvre has bridged the divide between barren and lush. Lyrically, he has perfected the motif of narcotized horror.... This is the real deal.
  2. Sep 10, 2013
    88
    For an act founded in anonymity and reserve, it turns out the Weeknd's most convincing work of art is Tesfaye's own rollout as a star and storyteller.
  3. Sep 9, 2013
    84
    It allows listeners to refamilairize themselves with the Weeknd's aesthetic, which was striking and singular to begin with.
  4. 83
    He isolates himself inside long, slow-tempo songs that edge from seductive into oppressive--and, with their reverberating guitar chords and crisp, dominating drum sounds, will feel oddly familiar to anyone who's enjoyed a 1980s ballad by Genesis.
  5. Sep 27, 2013
    80
    Ultimately the genius of Kiss Land‘s production lies in its ability to literalise Tesfaye’s fractured state of mind.
  6. 80
    Kiss Land is a fascinating record, Tesfaye defying reservations with the self-absorption of a madman.
  7. Sep 19, 2013
    80
    The 23-year-old Ethiopian-Canadian's sonic evolution continues on Kiss Land. [Oct 2013, p.88]
  8. Sep 18, 2013
    80
    Kiss Land is pulpy, mournful, pungent, unnerving.
  9. Sep 16, 2013
    80
    The result is a seductive layering of glittering, MOR surfaces, ambient textures and a deep, aching undertow.
  10. 80
    In all though, Kiss Land succeeds on not only being an album in the assumed sense of the word, with big singles, tasty hooks and singalong phrases, but as a concept record too, one that takes you hostage.
  11. Sep 12, 2013
    80
    Kiss Land is proof for the unconvinced: the Weeknd is a star whether he wants to be or not.
  12. Sep 6, 2013
    80
    He’s managed to transcend his previous efforts via the scaling up the sonics and simply maintaining the quality of this excellent record.
  13. Dec 4, 2013
    70
    Kiss Land covers musical and lyrical territory similar to 2012's Trilogy, but Abel Tesfaye's falsetto recollections of joylessly shallow sexual escapades still sound relatively fresh and novel. [Nov-Dec 2013, p.100]
  14. Sep 12, 2013
    70
    Overall, Kiss Land is a decent first full-length, but for the hype that The Weeknd had built up leading to this release, some (if not most) will say that it failed to meet expectations, especially compared to the incredible hype that surrounded his 2011 debut.
  15. 70
    The 23-year-old Tesfaye will almost certainly make a bigger, better record soon. For now, Kiss Land works fine as one of the year’s most fearless pop releases.
  16. Sep 6, 2013
    70
    Kiss Land plays like a more considered, better-mastered continuation of Echoes of Silence, not anything dramatically different.
  17. Sep 9, 2013
    62
    Kiss Land sounds every bit as isolated and singular as Tesfaye feels.
  18. Sep 27, 2013
    60
    While this leap into the big leagues proves that he’s still very much a rare talent, it unfortunately seems that genuine inspiration is even rarer.
  19. Sep 12, 2013
    60
    This album is a polished, lateral step with an accompanying barcode for Weeknd’s fans. And outsiders looking to understand his appeal are likely better off downloading the three mixtapes that preceded the album.
  20. Sep 10, 2013
    60
    Unfortunately, Tesfaye can veer toward the portentous with his youthful, conflicted lyrical vision, which often confuses sex with love.
  21. Sep 6, 2013
    60
    It's in these moments--when he's paying attention to melody and songwriting--that Kiss Land demonstrates plenty of promise and tentative steps in the right direction.
  22. He still has an ear for production and his voice remains a pliable tool, but to keep himself tethered to an aesthetic he defined and completed within a year is to do himself and the listener a disservice.
  23. Sep 16, 2013
    50
    Despite Kiss Land being The Weeknd’s major label debut release, what was once a breath of fresh air now sounds rather played out.
  24. Sep 11, 2013
    50
    The punches seem half-pulled, and the production glides by without much of an impact.
  25. Sep 9, 2013
    50
    The slightly wider vocal range and additional expressiveness don't hurt his cause. For those who aren't as easily drawn into Tesfaye's world, this will seem roughly as insufferable and as bleakly aimless as the earlier material.
  26. Sep 23, 2013
    40
    Kiss Land follows in the lethargic steps of 2012's Trilogy, but the pace is slower, songwriting thinner and vision more bloodshot.
  27. 40
    This debut album proper fails to develop or change-up his formula of predatory sexuality expressed in tremulous tones.
  28. Sep 12, 2013
    40
    Killer hooks might transform his singular subject, "the loneliness of filling every need", into a perversely seductive portrait of ennui, but Tesfaye has always been a middling songwriter.
  29. Sep 12, 2013
    40
    For the most part, songs come off as vapid and barely take a knife to the surface of his earlier work.
  30. Sep 10, 2013
    40
    The initial mystique of The Weeknd is gone, and we’re now confronted with the work of a young man who possesses an impressive voice, an incredible ear for production, and a complete lack of purpose in his confrontational, intensely graphic lyrical obsessions.
  31. Sep 9, 2013
    40
    The problem with Kiss Land is that it fails on both fronts, presenting a musically static album that's also disturbingly backward on gender issues, with a sustained focus on degradation that no longer seems anything but vile.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 93 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. N10
    Sep 10, 2013
    10
    It seems like critics really want to put out reviews as fast as they can, it's like a rally. Let it grow on you, take you're time it's just been a day since it offically have released. A record you really need to sit down with to really appreciate as a whole. Small details here and there in the production did alot for my listening experience too, not big just some tiny instruments. Sonically it's rich and cinematic, I mean it all ends with track 10 "Tears In The Rain" (a one of the many references to the 80's movie Blade Runner) so you kinda get where he's trying to get with his sound for his big major label debut album.

    Like Janelle Monáe's new release, both are heavily influenced by SCI FI, the SCI FI heads of R&B. Monáe with Metropolis, The Weeknd with Blade Runner. And like his Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford influences it all begins with "Professional" a dreamy, catchy and heart broken set, both sonically and lyrically, the vocals are well executed and a great first play into the album. Quietly from the first piece of the album we're in this atmospheric world created and signed by Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd), it all stays in the lane of the first track until the boombastic and synth heavy pop song "Belong To The World". A good song with some clever lines, tough it's a preference of what you find as 'good' when he sings "I'm not a fool I just love that you're dead inside I'm not a fool I'm just lifeless too". My opinion, it's one of the most original and strangest hooks I've heard in years, laughable or lovable, I personally like it.. a lot.

    Right after the centerpiece we have the little hip hop anthem "Live For" with a feature from fellow Canadian, their very own, Drake. Well, let's put it like this, when it came to Drake on this record he really sounded to bring big, HUGE, inspirations from J. Cole's "N***as Know" that was included earlier this year on his sophmore "Born Sinner". Similiar rhymes, lines.. and topic at certain points, and even flow wise. But hey, the verse was not bad, just a bit suspicious about it that's all. Sounded like a re write of Cole's with just some lines off the board, not a better verse though either. The track was quite fitting to what it all built up too and it's a more up tempo track than most of it. Overall it's a fun song.

    Wanderlust, a song which could have made it to a Michael Jackson singel in the 80's, a great track and one of the best songs on the album, loving it. The fun parts are over, now with the titel track "Kiss Land" and tracks there after it's all pain, depression, misogyny, he's voice starts cracking up. I guess, John Carpenter and those great horror directors did this kid a favor, cause at the end, The Weeknd has released a excellent debut album. Don't miss out my favorite one of the album, "Adaptation", it reminded me of "The Prince of Egypt" while track #2 "The Town" had some vibes of the 90's cartoon/animé televsion "Sailor Moon".
    Probably gonna get mixed opinions from both critics and listeners in this day in age where living in now, give it some time and I think it's gonna lead a new wave of artist's with it's sound and topics. See "Kiss Land" as one of Marvin Gaye's most influential records "Here My Dear" which didn't get the same acclaim as his previous releases, but look at what it did to quiet storm and contemporary R&B as a genre, The Weeknd can be doing the same thing for PBR&B or whatever we gonna call this.

    Literally have been playing it from start to end about 20 times, more or less, and I've gotta say, "Kiss Land" is The Weeknd's most ambitious and interesting work yet. The top album of it's genre with Monáe and James Blake for sure, they will definitely be fighting for my album of the year.
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 10, 2013
    10
    The Weeknd tries a new sound and it works out perfectly.

    In Kissland instead of the normal drugged out and raw Weeknd we get a more
    vulnerable and personal artist. It's a very cohesive project in where the outro will literally having you feel his pain, it was clear that this was music written from the heart, not for critical acclaim and that's what make's it even better. How personal it is. Full Review »
  3. Sep 13, 2013
    10
    Critics are losing their minds. The depth of production and quality of sound on this album is impeccable, and Tesfaye has moved into the debate of best singer alive with his stunning vocal work across every track. I feel like every review disses him for "misogynistic elements" (even though it's a modern R&B album. I mean... seriously) yet even if you liked none of the lyrics the complexity of sound and rhythm is impossible to ignore. 6.1/10? What a joke. This is an excellent album at worst and at its best it is transcendent.

    Kiss Land is music at its finest, no matter how politicking or conflicting interests is driving critics to say otherwise.
    Full Review »