The answer to the headline is “No.” Of course the world couldn’t be ready for the Weeknd. The Weeknd from six months ago probably wasn’t ready for the Weeknd, who is premiering songs at an Apple Press conference. 2015 for the Weeknd has nearly been a perfect storm of excellent guest features, right placed singles and popping wheelies on the zeitgeist at every turn.
Four years ago though the Weeknd was just a guy making moody music and went from a critical darling to becoming the first artist to really benefit from Drake’s promotion. He was mysterious, unseen, Canadian all of the adjectives moody Tumblr kids love and he owned the outsider r&b lane was being crafted around him and other artists at the time. Eventually his music started to get minor radio play and in 2013 he put his official debut album, Kissland that moved from his earlier sound into closer to anime soundtrack than contemporary R&B.
Kissland was not a commercial beast, but the Weeknd remained in demand enough to appear on Ariana Grande’s single “Love Me Harder,” which rose into the Top 10 earlier this year and gave the world this lovably awkward SNL performance:
The fluke success proved to not just be a single crossover moment for the Weeknd when his single “Earned It” was released to the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack. The movie was a tremendous success, and the single became the singer’s biggest single by a good margin as it peaked at number 3 on the Hot 100 chart. All of a sudden it was Abel’s time to shine.
With the spotlight ready to beam down upon him, Abel turned to Max Martin, the king of modern pop music to craft a perfect hit to keep his momentum going forward. The duo came out with the deliciously Michael Jackson-esque—R.I.P. King—”Can’t Feel My Face.” Upon immediate listen this was going to be the song blasting out of… well, everything this summer. The song is already a Top 15 hit and once more people can’t get the hook out of their face then it’ll be aiming to be his biggest single soon enough. The Weeknd might’ve been a guy making leftfield R&B not that long ago, but when kids see NBA rising star Elfrid Payton and think it’s Abel. But soon enough everyone’s hair is going to look like a fucking saiyan.