I feel like I've listened to more R&B this year than any other genre in 2011. It's hard to find consistently evolving genres- I'm always looking for what's new under the sun. It seems like the social media age and immediate access to all kinds of music has had a huge influence on the R&B community. The Weeknd's first mixtape, "House of Balloons", was released to deafening hype and rapturous reviews. For the first time, we have a potential megastar self-producing tracks with Beach House and Cocteau Twins samples. For a genre that is notorious for providing a few hit singles off of an album with corresponding filler on the rest of the album, R&B has gained credibility amongst the indie community in a similar sense to the turn of the millenium, when Maxwell, D'Angelo, and Erykah Badu released their career defining albums. As fresh as they sounded back in 1996-1999. Just as these artists gave the genre a face lift, so will this new generation of "blogger artists".
The song's almost 7 minutes long, and the atmospheric interlude between The Weeknd and Drake's verses- when has that ever happened before in R&B? The unconventional notions of indie experimentalism and mainstream R&B are finally colliding, and The Weeknd will be remembered as the artist (along with the OFWGKTA collective) that really merged it and created a splash.
As with Frank Ocean, these two artists will become absolute stars over the next year or two. And as for the song itself I'm blogging about... nothing really needs to be said. I guess the most notable thing is that this is really one of the few completely new things happening in music, in ANY genre. Which is why I'm so crazy about it.