• Record Label: Republic
  • Release Date: Nov 25, 2016
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
Buy On
  1. Dec 19, 2016
    80
    The Weeknd is a self-described pop star, and proves his worth on Starboy, an album with plenty to love.
  2. Nov 28, 2016
    80
    While Starboy may not be a giant creative risk stretching away and beyond what we've come to expect from The Weeknd (like many of his A list peers such as Beyoncé, Rihanna and Kanye West have done with their albums earlier this year), it's a continuation of Abel's edgy salacious narrative and a complete assassination of pop's thematic normalcy.
  3. Nov 25, 2016
    80
    What is surprising is how seamless and integrated the sound is--a really luxurious, supple groove of sparkling electronica and sinuous, melodic vocals.
  4. Nov 29, 2016
    78
    Starboy won’t immortalize his legacy just yet but it will strengthen a once desolate Toronto kid’s placement in a musical sect he probably couldn’t even have ever dreamed of being in.
  5. 75
    While musicians writing about coping with newfound celebrity is one of pop’s oldest tropes, the Weeknd avoids the usual clichés with observations and anecdotes that feel specific and genuine.
  6. Nov 28, 2016
    75
    The record is a few songs too long, and it loses steam as it progresses. But such imperfections are par for the course: He’d rather express everything he’s feeling than put forth an airbrushed or idealized version of himself. In that sense, Starboy is one of the most confident releases of the year, one bold enough to reveal the cracks in The Weeknd’s façade for the sake of resonant art.
  7. Dec 5, 2016
    70
    It may showcase a cleaner sound, both in lyrical content and production, but its value for money at eighteen tracks comes at the cost of coherence.
  8. Nov 30, 2016
    70
    Those wishing for a return to the Trilogy days will have to bit a tad longer; across 18 tracks, the Weeknd proves he's ready for primetime here, but there's still a sense of feeling out the new parameters.
  9. Nov 29, 2016
    70
    Starboy has something for each individual, this is without a doubt, but it has nothing for everybody as a collective, a balance he managed on his first three releases.
  10. Nov 28, 2016
    70
    Some of the most exciting songs on Starboy are the least expected. ... But brevity is almost too central here: Some songs (“Love to Lay,” “Nothing Without You”) have barely any verses at all, largely relying on pre-choruses and choruses.
  11. 67
    It would help if more of the album were idiosyncratic that way, but as is, Starboy is still the sound of Tesfaye knowing he has what it takes to be a major figure in pop music for a very long time.
  12. Nov 30, 2016
    67
    Starboy, by way of contrast [to Trilogy], feels more like an opportunistic compilation of B-sides than an album. Who is the Weeknd? At this point, even the man behind the curtain might not know.
  13. 67
    As Tesfaye notes on “Reminder”, The Weeknd has inspired a lot of imitators. Instead of moving forward on Starboy, he ends up sounding like one of them.
  14. Q Magazine
    Dec 13, 2016
    60
    Tesfaye can't decide if he's having the best time f his life or the worst. [Feb 2017, p.119]
  15. Dec 1, 2016
    60
    Starboy is fine, it’s grand and it will do, and it really should be so much more.
  16. 60
    His guests include Lana Del Rey, whose affectless manner makes her a perfect match for him; though the best grooves here come courtesy of Daft Punk, bookending the album with the scudding title-track and Michael Jackson homage “I Feel It Coming”.
  17. Nov 30, 2016
    60
    The productions--the majority of which involve Doc McKinney and/or Cirkut, low-lighted by maneater dance-punk dud "False Alarm"--are roughly as variable in style as they are in quality. When pared down to its ten best songs, Starboy sounds like Tesfaye's most accomplished work.
  18. 60
    If there’s a problem here, it’s the obvious 2016 one: length.
  19. Nov 29, 2016
    60
    He remains an exceptionally talented vocalist, yet none of the many studio wizards represented in the album's by-committee structure is capable of wrenching him out of his usual morose rhythms. To be fair, none of them really try, playing to his basic talents while also coddling his laziest inclinations, swaddling songs in scintillating soundscapes that coat these sour centers in layers of sweetness.
  20. Nov 29, 2016
    60
    There are more tracks to like than not, even stretching all the way to the end of the record. If you want Starboy to be a good album, it can be that. It may require some personal editing. It also may require that you ignore what even the most sterilized tracks seem to be about.
  21. Nov 28, 2016
    60
    Despite an overlong hour-plus runtime and surplus of filler, Starboy does have highlights. ... But for longtime fans that believe the Weeknd is one of the major R&B artists of the decade, Starboy will ultimately seem like a disappointment.
  22. Nov 28, 2016
    60
    At 18 tracks, Starboy delivers some pop gems, but its last third falters with a string of schmaltzy ballads eventually rescued by the Daft Punk-assisted closer, an enjoyable bit of retro lite-funk that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Random Access Memories.
  23. Nov 25, 2016
    60
    There are things worth hearing on Starboy. It seems to capture an artist in a slightly awkward state of flux, unsure whether to cravenly embrace the kind of pop stardom that gets you on the shortlist for the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice awards or throw caution to the wind and do something more interesting artistically. Starboy hedges its bets and tries to do both. You can see why, but it makes for a curiously uneven album.
  24. Dec 5, 2016
    40
    Unable to elicit more than a shrug for most of its runtime, the record is just one more passable pop album in a year that really didn’t need another.
  25. Nov 28, 2016
    40
    It’s hard to overstate how aggravating it is to hear somebody who once stood as the dictionary definition of “less is more” fly so flagrantly in the face of the mantra that made him.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 566 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 43 out of 566
  1. Nov 25, 2016
    10
    If you are only looking for Trilogy-like songs, you will be disappointed. However, the album is a masterpiece in modern pop music and thereIf you are only looking for Trilogy-like songs, you will be disappointed. However, the album is a masterpiece in modern pop music and there are plenty of songs that rank among the best songs the Weeknd. Stand out has to be Secrets, which is a beautiful pop song with a dark undertone. Full Review »
  2. Nov 25, 2016
    10
    Killing his old style has let out an entirely different beast. The Weeknd's "Starboy" is wild and explosive, jumping from bangers (Starboy,Killing his old style has let out an entirely different beast. The Weeknd's "Starboy" is wild and explosive, jumping from bangers (Starboy, Six Feet Under) to R&B slow jams (True Colors) to pop gold (Love To Lay, I Feel It Coming). Great album full of amazing singles. Full Review »
  3. Nov 25, 2016
    10
    This album is a big masterpiecei¡ in the modern pop music. Full of songs that could be easily hits, surprised for the album. I have beenThis album is a big masterpiecei¡ in the modern pop music. Full of songs that could be easily hits, surprised for the album. I have been loving The Weeknd for years, but now finally I can define myself as a fan of Abel after listening to Starboy several times since it came out a few hours ago. Full Review »