The Weeknd has big shoes to (continue to) fill. In 2011, in what's now nearly a legendary run, he began releasing intimate but brooding mixtapes including the funk-infused House of Balloons. He subtly blended dubstep with a soulful set of vocals and quickly received a substantial amount of mainstream attention. In fact, it wasn’t long before he was being credited for reviving R&B for a modern audience alongside Frank Ocean. He then was co-signed to Republic Records, releasing remastered versions of these mixtapes as The Trilogy. After this, however, The Weeknd released his most pop skewed efforts to date with Beauty behind the Madness and Starboy. On the latter, he offered a more disco influenced electronic sound. The albums both received massive commercial success with huge singles such as coke anthem 'I Can’t Feel My Face' and the Daft Punk collab 'Starboy'. Though the albums had strong tracks, they were not nearly as unique as his previous releases as Abel’s tried and tested style had begun to wear thin.

My Dear Melancholy, opts for a smaller set of songs, bringing in notable collaborations in order to bring a fresh soundscape to the EP. On the opener Call out My Name Abel’s signature vocal thread plays over a very subdued drumline and harp flourishes. As the track builds we are introduced to chiptune sounded electronic flair and vocal distortions reminiscent of his previous single The Hills. It is a solid beginning that leads into trap-infused ballad 'Try Me'. Which falls flatter than the opener as for the most part it is incredibly simplistic and dated. The pitched vocal harmonies at the climax almost redeem the track. But both these song’s lyrics as leave a lot to be desired. (As Usual for The Weeknd.)

'Wasted Times' is the highlight of the EP, a garage-tinged track that contrasts its fast-paced club beat with provocative pleading vocals. Building to a very smooth blend of Garage and R&B traits that make you wonder why Abel hasn’t attempted this combination before. Production on this track strangely comes from Skrillex who steps outside his usual style for this very interesting combo. The next two tracks 'I Was Never There' and 'Hurt You' feature production turns from French Techno artist Gesaffelstein. Who brings interesting synth samples to 'I Was Never There' and a breakbeat line to 'Hurt You'. On 'I Was Never There', Abel sings about a toxic relationship: “You'd rather something toxic So, I poison myself again.” A self-destructive attitude that is a common occurrence in The Weeknd’s music. Unfortunately, both these tracks suffer from incredibly repetitive lyrics elsewhere. Ultimately though dealing with a fresh wound, The Weeknd fails to deal with this topic with a new perspective that hasn’t already been covered or touched upon in his previous work.

'Privilege' is a strong album footnote, detailing the messy end of a relationship. The lyricism leans into interesting territory but ultimately the track doesn’t last long enough to explore its concept. The production is eloquent and layered and along with 'Wasted Times' it is one of the stronger offerings of the EP.

Overall, the EP is decent, its production hearkening back to Abel’s pre-pop efforts. It brings in a range of genres and collaborators into The Weeknd’s canon but fails to truly cover new ground in the lyrics and vocal threads. My Dear Melancholy is a promising output but here’s hoping these stylistic ideas can be explored more originally on a full-length EP.