The Weeknd doesn’t give a rat’s ass about whether you buy his record or not. At least that’s the impression you get when listening to »Kiss Land« – it doesnt’s sound as if The Weeknd is trying to prove anything here. Back in 2011, he used his mixtape »House Of Balloons« to dip R&B into codeine and thereby paradoxically helping to revitalize the whole genre. In contrast, »Kiss Land« doesn’t sound as if it’s trying to set another milestone, which has two different effects: Firstly, it seems as if The Weeknd has just released a random record (and not his first ›real one‹), and so it doesn’t quite stand out between the impressive releases of this year’s late summer or fall. On the other hand, this seeming carelessness fits The Weeknd like no other. He presents himself as if it all was happening against his will: music-star, womanizer and in the right place to release the R&B-record of the last years. Hence, »Kiss Land« is drawing its strength from the fine sketches of The Weeknd’s character and the atmosphere around. Still, the record lacks some musical class in order to stand out or to even trump »House Of Balloons«. His disillusioned and gloomy R&B still stands unequaled in this genre with its echoing snares and his stretched out synths, yet no chorus can reach the strongest moments on his mixtape-collection »Trilogy«. Neither a Portishead-sample nor The Weeknd’s voice are to change anything about that, even though we’d have to dig in Micheal Jackson’s catalog in order to find any valid comparisons for his vocals. As indicated: This record could have aimed for higher grounds – but then again, it thrives from not trying too hard.