After starting his career in the early 2010s with three mixtapes known collectively as “Trilogy,” The Weeknd has become one of the most commercially successful artists of all time. He is already known for a collection of hit songs, such as “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Blinding Lights,” but there are many works in The Weeknd’s discography that go underrated and deserve a listen.
This track is a standout from The Weeknd’s second mixtape, “Thursday.” "The Birds Pt. 1" starts with a drum pattern that repeats throughout the verses, making the delivery of lines feel more animated. The song reaches its peak with the final repetition of the chorus stripping away all instrumentals other than a simple guitar riff, allowing The Weeknd’s vocal ability to shine through. The structured focus makes for what is one of the best vocal performances of The Weeknd's career and thus deserves more appreciation.
The outro to his debut studio album, "House Of Balloons," “Tears In The Rain” is one of The Weeknd’s most under-appreciated ballads. It's somber and minimalistic instrumental serves as a great companion to the song’s melancholic lyrics, in which The Weeknd croons about the proverbial one that got away.
“They all feel the same / Adjust to the fame / 'Cause no one will love you like her / It’s pointless / Like tears in the rain,” The Weeknd sings.
The comparison of futile longing for a past lover to crying in the rain conveys his hopelessness perfectly, making the chorus an unforgettable one.
“Same Old Song” is from The Weeknd’s third mixtape, “Echoes Of Silence,” and is another underrated ballad. The Weeknd sings mournfully about a past partner who mistreated him and only sees his value now that he’s reached fame and wealth.
“Where were you when I needed you eight months ago? / All your girlfriends talkin' 'bout me, now you ringin' up my phone,” he sings.
What makes the betrayal expressed in this song even more visceral is the gasps that can be heard in between lines of the chorus, leaving the impression that The Weeknd is crying while singing. This makes the sadness of the lyrics feel more authentic.
“Shameless” is a notable track from The Weeknd’s second studio album, “Beauty Behind The Madness.” The chorus of the song is lyrically vivid. It describes a toxic relationship in which The Weeknd’s partner finds comfort in his lack of commitment because of their fear of a true relationship.
“I don’t wanna hurt you / But you live for the pain / I’m not tryna say it / But it’s what you became / You want me to fix you / But it’s never enough / That’s why you always call me / Cause you’re scared to be loved,” The Weeknd sings.
This storytelling, when paired with The Weeknd’s impassioned singing, makes for a captivating listening experience.
The song, whose title refers to a person who can't stay settled in one place for very long, "Rolling Stone" is about The Weeknd's relationship with fame. It is one of The Weeknd’s most introspective songs from the earliest phase of his career. A simple guitar pattern serves as the backdrop for scathing lyrics detailing his desire for more fame and status as he struggles with poverty before his success.
“I’m in a life without a home so this recognition’s not enough / I don’t care about nobody else / 'Cause I've been on these streets way too long, too long, too long / Baby, I’ve been on this too long,” The Weeknd sings.
The vulnerability about his past is sung in contrast to the mellow instrumental and fading falsetto that comes later in the song, which create an emotional crescendo while maintaining a light and airy feel in the production. The structuring of the song gives it a sense of musical irony, making it very cleverly put together.
Although The Weeknd is known for his chart-topping hits, these underrated songs of his are definitely worth a listen.