“House of Balloons” – The Weeknd Album Review

Written by on September 23, 2023

Review by Gurleen Kaur

One of my favorite musical artists is Abel Tesafye, who goes by the stage name The Weeknd. His alternative R&B album House Of Balloons which released on March 21, 2011 under the XO Label, and was produced by The Weeknd, Don McKinney, Cirkut, Illangelo, Jeremey Rose and Rainer. This album is approximately fifty minutes long with ten songs on the track list, and contains two singles, “Wicked Games” and “Twenty Eight.” In this review, I will be talking in depth about my favorite songs on the album, the meaning behind them and what they mean to me as a listener!


The first song I will highlight is “High for This.” The song starts off with some instrumental build up, and then it drops as soon as the lyrics begin. It is in a way describing how someone’s mind works, like they feel this rush of thinking of something and then it is back to being present in the moment. The vocals are so soothing to hear – The Weeknd sings a lyric and then proceeds to pause and ease into the next line. It is perfectly balanced and sung, and the vocals are beyond amazing. The lyrics themselves are clearly talking about a girl and guy being together, and consuming something that alters their brain chemistry, and they share this experience with one another. 


To be honest, most of The Weeknd’s songs do not necessarily apply to my life, however, I just love how the music sounds and all of it works well with one another so easily. This song takes away my stress and takes me away from reality, especially when I listen to it with my eyes closed. This truly makes me feel like I am somewhere else, such as Toronto, as all these songs where recorded there. I just love how it makes me feel despite how short the song is.


Another favorite song on this album is “Wicked Games,” which starts by providing the audience a chilling energy, but draws you in more as it once again eases into The Weeknd singing, “Wooahh oooah.” Forum-Theatre explained the meaning behind this song in their article titled ”The Weeknd’s Wicked Games Is A Hauntingly Beautiful Song About The Dark Side Of Love and Lust.” According to this article, the song speaks on having complicated feelings and wanting someone who is bad for you. The narrator is attracted to someone who is bad for them, even though the speaker is very well aware of it. The song itself is about being addicted to someone who is not good for you, which is something that many people in this world still struggle with. Though I have not personally have not struggled with this regarding a relationship, I do consider myself to be quite self-aware, even when I desire certain things I have to remind myself that it’s not a need, but a want. 


In this generation, people tend to use others to fulfill certain things in their life that are missing, and do not genuinely care about how others feel. Those who get used can feel very down as a result. I believe situations as such are avoidable, as long as you make a commitment to yourself, your life goals and your future without involving other individuals. Personally, I have been able to commit to being on my own because I do not want to put myself in a situation that would not bring me any good. It is better to be on your own than let someone or something negatively consume your life. It is your life and you have full control of how you want to live it, so why not make it positive and full of growth? You cannot force someone to be with you, it should be at their discretion if they want to be a part of your life.


My last favorite song on this album is “Twenty Eight,” which starts with a piano and once again eases into the lyrics. I love how this album is so full of energy, but so many of the tracks start out so peacefully. This song discusses how the speaker regrettably let someone into their life and personal space, making that person aware of where they live and their home environment. This relates to the topic of trust issues, and allowing someone into your life in hopes they won’t hurt, destroy, or leave you in a horrible state, or take too much with nothing to give in return. It would be deceptive of me to say that I have not experienced this – I cannot begin to count how many times my trust was broken. As I relate to the theme of this song, I have learned not  to overshare as to let just anyone into my life or environment or space. Allowing someone into your safe-space, whether it is a friend or significant other, requires a lot of trust – something an individual has to earn, rather than simply given.


I view music as a form of entertainment to zone out to. While listening to an artist does not mean I do or act as them, I often connect the lyrics as music has a wide variety of purposes, affecting everyone differently. There are many stereotypes about The Weeknd’s music; some say his message is toxic because he only talks about certain specific Rated-R topics, but at the end of the day, music is just music. It is like when people do not separate the artist from the art, when in reality you are supposed recognize artists are still people, just like anyone else. 


While there are times I stop myself from listening to The Weeknd’s sadder music, this album is great for its melody, vocals, and just overall how it sounds to the listener.


Image Source: Amazon.

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