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

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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 190 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.
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Top Track

Pretty
Somebody told me it was pointless for me to come back Into your arms Said you fucked another man Finally, I knew this day would come Whoa oh oh Cause... See the rest of the song lyrics
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. Mojo
    Sep 19, 2013
    80
    The 23-year-old Ethiopian-Canadian's sonic evolution continues on Kiss Land. [Oct 2013, p.88]
  4. Sep 6, 2013
    70
    Kiss Land plays like a more considered, better-mastered continuation of Echoes of Silence, not anything dramatically different.
  5. 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.
  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
    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.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 25
  2. Negative: 1 out of 25
  1. Sep 10, 2013
    10
    The Weeknd, yet again, delivers and makes every other R&B singer look average. Easily one of, if not the, the best R&B releases of the yearThe Weeknd, yet again, delivers and makes every other R&B singer look average. Easily one of, if not the, the best R&B releases of the year and it is a fantastic addition to his already immaculate discography. Expand
  2. Sep 10, 2013
    10
    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'sJust 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
  3. 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 justIt 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.
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  4. Sep 10, 2013
    9
    A very well crafted album, with good songs and lyrics. I do admit that the lyrics isn't the best but overall I thought the album had some goodA very well crafted album, with good songs and lyrics. I do admit that the lyrics isn't the best but overall I thought the album had some good lines. I love the type of songs he produced. It sounds much different from his previous album, but it's still as good, may be better.

    For this album I was expecting a much better album than the last one but ended up listening to an album thats on the same level as the first album. This album isn't better or worst. The thing that I like about The Weeknd is the features. He doesn't have a lot of feature on this album. The only major feat. on this album was Drake.

    I am looking forward to more of The Weeknd albums in the future.

    I give it an 8.5/10
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  5. May 9, 2017
    8
    Easily one of the most underrated albums of the 2010's. This debut was a direct continuation & logical step forward of the lyrical themes andEasily one of the most underrated albums of the 2010's. This debut was a direct continuation & logical step forward of the lyrical themes and sonic ideas that were explored on Trilogy.

    The production is now much more vast, atmospheric and cinematic than anything on Trilogy, and the lyrics are a clear step forward from those mixtapes as well (check out the hook on Wanderlust).

    The sequencing on this album is perfect; Professional is a perfect opener, and the song (along with track 2's The Town) establishes Kiss Land's themes & Blade Runner-esque/cyber-punk soundscapes perfectly.
    These first four songs are free-forming, have no obvious hooks, and flow perfectly one after another, and almost put the listener into a trance. The first obvious hook only comes on the lead single 'Belong To The World', with its pounding Portishead-sampled drums and vivid string sections.

    Other highlights include 'Wanderlust', 'Pretty' 'Tears In The Rain'. The former being a prototypical Weeknd song (sampling and re-appropriating an 80's synth pop song to transform it into something wildly different) whilst 'Pretty' & 'Tears' are great testaments to The Weeknd's great vocal capabilities. Of course, you cannot talk about this album without mentioning its sprawling, 7 minute long title track, which is easily the album's apex.

    The production, the beat switch and the incredibly raunchy but ironically great vocal performance are pretty much everything that made The Weeknd special and different when he first entered the game with 'House of Balloons'; it was a sound that was incredibly raw, moody and nihilistic and this style is perfected on this song.

    This album isn't perfect however; the only song that is easily a misstep would be 'Life For (ft. Drake)'. Although Weeknd's verse is nice and melodic, the hook is simply horrendous, and Drake's verse is uninspired. The only thing that saves this song from not being a total disaster is the production; I love the huge Hans Zimmer-like strings that are heard in the last chorus of the song; this alongside the drums maintains the cinematic element of the album. Another complaint would be the album's mixing; compared to Trilogy, this album sounds very flat in comparison (the kick drums on Adaptation could be louder, and many more examples), and isn't really a headphone album as Trilogy is.

    All in all this is a great project. If you're in a mood for a moody, atmospheric and melancholic album on the electronic/alt.r&b side, listen to Kiss Land. It's a great companion piece to the mixtapes; listen to it on a rainy night on your stereo for the best experience.
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  6. Sep 29, 2013
    8
    I don't know why critics are so harsh to Kiss Land, probably the similarity to Trilogy and the overwhelmed theme made them really bored, butI don't know why critics are so harsh to Kiss Land, probably the similarity to Trilogy and the overwhelmed theme made them really bored, but actually this is a good follow-up one. Expand
  7. Apr 16, 2014
    3
    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 whatThis 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 25 User Reviews