Kiss Land - The Weeknd
Kiss Land Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 92 Ratings

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  • Summary: After a trilogy of mixtapes, the Canadian artist releases his debut studio release that includes a guest appearance from Drake.
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. 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.
  3. Sep 19, 2013
    The 23-year-old Ethiopian-Canadian's sonic evolution continues on Kiss Land. [Oct 2013, p.88]
  4. Sep 6, 2013
    Kiss Land plays like a more considered, better-mastered continuation of Echoes of Silence, not anything dramatically different.
  5. Sep 12, 2013
    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.
  6. 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.
  7. Sep 9, 2013
    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.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. N10
    Sep 10, 2013
    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.
  2. Sep 13, 2013
    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.
  3. Sep 10, 2013
    Just let it grow on you, it's quiet well made. Really nice production as well, gives listeners a feeling of elation unique to the Weeknd's music. Pretty good follow-up to his Trilogy. Expand
  4. Feb 6, 2014
    Basically, different from trilogy but he stays true to his craft, took some time to grow up on me. Every single song in Kiss Land is amazing and unique in it's own way. Collapse
  5. Jan 19, 2014
    Kiss Land is an atmospheric and rather grand debut album by PBR&B artist The Weeknd that all together is a moody and sonic masterpiece that has been made impeccably. Kiss Land's only flaw is that some of its writing delves it uninspired rap music cliches; sex, drugs, money and what not, but these flaws are made up for by Abel Tesfaye's fantastic and beautiful vocals. Kiss Land, in the end, is a brilliant follow up to The Weekend's Trilogy of mix-tapes and is a fantastic studio debut. Expand
  6. Oct 28, 2013
    As much as an Abel fan I am, I must say that this album was my least favorites of his past few releases but still manages to kick ass in the R&B genre. Kiss Land still had the dark lyricism, incredible vocals, and misogyny storytelling that he is known for in the R&B genre. Well, what was missing? Illangelo. I think the production on this album was well done but it was missing the very dark production that existed on Echoes of Silence. With all that said, this is the best album of 2013 so far but the least favorite of The Weeknd's releases. Expand
  7. Apr 16, 2014
    This album is a bit of a letdown from Tesfaye's previous work. The versatility of the sound has been sacrificed for pop sensibility, and what was a strong lyrical voice has now fallen to trite cliches and unfortunate metaphors. In addition to the failure that is Tesfaye's lyrics, the production is a step backwards as well, with songs like "Pretty" and "Tears in the Rain" wandering aimlessly against a static atmospheric backdrop. The beauty of Tesfaye's previous works was their ability to jostle about, even with somewhat static instrumentals, the beauty and poise of the vocals as well as the candid lyrics made the whole thing seem active. On "Kiss Land," Abel allows the instumentals to stagnate. The only points on "Kiss Land" where Abel & Co. create moments vaguely resembling anything from "Trilogy" are on the first few tracks (Professional, The Town) and the title track ("Kiss Land"). Those tracks take a more aggressive and industrial direction, to wonderful results. But it's these moments that cause the album to be such a disappointment: we know Abel is capable of deliciously seductive slow jams and frightening electronic odysseys. But it feels like the majority of the tracks here are filler between the more fleshed out and more audacious tracks. Expand

See all 20 User Reviews