The Weeknd dropped his latest release, My Dear Melancholy, at the end of March, and if you’ve heard it, you know that the title definitely fits the music within; a dreary, self-loathing wade through the bog of heartbreak, with a vibe more akin to the earlier and more brooding Trilogy-era Abel Tesfaye than the popstar chart king side of him that we’ve seen emerge over the last few years. What you may not know, however, as the Weeknd revealed in a new TIME Magazine interview, is that My Dear Melancholy could’ve been a different album entirely —one that was “very upbeat – beautiful”, which now has a release date of “never”.
Tesfaye reveals that before Melancholy was even written, back when he was still boo’d up with Selena Gomez and true love was still a thing we all foolishly believed in, he had a whole other album “written, done”, the sound of which “wasn’t melancholy at all because it was a different time in my life.” As his heart broke, however, so did his plans for the release, stating that he shied away from bringing his LP of happiness into fruition because “I don’t want to perform something that I don’t feel.” Sounds like he could really use a hug.
Heart now smashed into a million pieces by way of a powerful curse that could only ever come from a Wizard of Waverly Place, the Weeknd took a page out of the Taylor Swift School of Songwriting and turned his heartbreak into chart success. My Dear Melancholy, the recording of which for Tesfaye was described as a “therapeutic” experience (“You want to get it out. It’s like you close a chapter”), immediately became one of the most-streamed releases of all time – which maybe, just maybe, will put a much-needed smile on the Weeknd’s face.