If you like your baby-making music with a little soundtrack to your murder on the side, then look no further than the Weeknd’s fourth studio album, Kiss Land. Abel Tesfaye, the Canadian artist behind this ’80s electro-R&B album, once again plows through sex, drugs, misogyny and violence with reckless abandon. Continually channeling his inner Michael Jackson, Tesfaye creates another catchy album here, but it’s clear that his best work was on his previous Trilogy collection, back when the atmosphere was soaking with self-aware images of dead-end parties and questionable life choices. With Kiss Land, the Weeknd is hitting the same notes, trying too hard to convince us that we’re in new territory. “This ain’t nothing to relate to, even if you tried,” Tesfaye says on the title track, and while that sounds like a challenge, it’s really just wishful thinking. He wants us to feel as uncomfortable as we did on Trilogy, but we’ve been here before, and enveloping production and atmosphere doesn’t atone for copy-and-paste lyrics and emotionless delivery.
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