Decade of Dominance: The Weeknd's Singles, Ranked and Reviewed

Over the years, fans have witnessed The Weeknd transform from R&B’s mysterious heathen, to a household phenomenon. The defining series of events only became possible due  to his coveted selection of single choices. Launching every new chapter with an exciting lead single, Abel Tesfaye mastered the formula of curating a hit. It’s no surprise that whenever The Weeknd releases a single it becomes an event, as he has dominated airwaves and becomes the topic of conversation once he tops the charts.
 
With the release of his new album, After Hours, here’s all 26 solo The Weeknd singles ranked and reviewed, some included are songs that Abel says “define” him as an artist.

  


26. Pretty (Kiss Land, 2013)

Creating a narrative that touches on revenge in the sake of love, Pretty is everything but what the title suggests. Launching the new chapter that subtly departs from the Trilogy era, the single strikes not as high as what he had to offer, but the 6 minute song travels to atmospheric surroundings, cultivated with a soaring climax. 

                                                                                   
                                            
     
25. Party Monster (STARBOY, 2016)

Returning at what he does best, The Weeknd shines with his display of arrogance. Proving he can turn anything into a hit, he flips a club banger with subdued, haunting undertones. Released as the third single off of his blockbuster album, STARBOY, Party Monster became an ear-worm with it’s hypnotic effect of the repetitiveness. Layered with a Lana Del Rey outro, the song wasn’t your ordinary urban hit, but rather another trick up Abel’s sleeves. 

 

24. Live For featuring Drake (Kiss Land, 2013) 

OVOXO remains undefeated! The unstoppable duo consisting of The Weeknd and Drake proved that even though they are two absolute superstars on their own, they are even better together. Following up to their previous collaborations, The Zone and Crew Love, the third edition, Live For had major expectations, and while it didn’t disappoint, it didn’t deliver to the standards. 

 

 

 

23. Can't Feel My Face (Beauty Behind The Madness, 2015)

The defining song of 2015, and quite possibly of The Weeknd’s career. Can’t Feel My Face was the introduction to the Max Martin era that fans have became accustomed to, even if they refuse too. By no means are there any criticisms to the actual track itself, but at this point let’s consider this to be a sacrifice. 

 

 

 

22. Rockin' (STARBOY, 2016)

It’s only natural for The Weeknd to continue to display his admirations for traveling back into time to curate the ultimate retro infused modern club tunes. Rockin’, the track that suffers due to the overwhelmingly length of STARBOY, is a sick dance number that’ll have you grooving all night long.

 

 

 

 

21.  Earned It (Beauty Behind The Madness, 2015)

Slowly building a mainstream, American top 40 presence that exploded with his feature on the Ariana Grande track, Love Me Harder, the cards were aligned for The Weeknd to score big a second time around. This time, he catered to the sultry soundtrack of the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. Theres no surprise that the song went on to be nominated for an Academy Award, one that wrongfully was awarded to Sam Smith’s forgettable bond song. 

 

 

20. Heartless (After Hours, 2020)

Simply kick-starting his new brain melting, psychotic era, The Weeknd threw the ultimate curveball, shattering expectations with what he was going to do next. Assisted with a Metro Boomin production, Heartless is yet another braggadocious anthem, proving that when you doubt Abel Tesfaye, he just comes back stronger than ever.

 

 

 

19. Secrets (STARBOY, 2016)

Exploring a different route for inspiration from the 80’s, The Weeknd gravitates a nightclub atmosphere on the straightforward hit, Secrets. Can’t help but hear the classic 2001 boyband track, Peaches and Cream whenever the instrumental plays. 

 

 

 

 

 

18. Call Out My Name (My Dear Melancholy, 2018)

On arguably his most emotional performance to date, The Weeknd pours his heart out on Call Out My Name. Recognizing the problematic territories of a breakup, Abel somehow can’t move forward with a relationship that has gone wrong. Call Out My Name, the opening track to the killer 6 track EP My Dear Melancholy, is a tearful ballad that instantly connects listeners to his display of emotions.

 

 

17. In Your Eyes [Solo/Remix featuring Doja Cat] (After Hours, 2020)

A pulsating retro infused modern tune has become the recipe for your classic The Weeknd pop hit. One of Abel’s signature hits that rely on the specific formula is “In Your Eyes”. The third single off of the singer’s forth studio album After Hours instantly connected with listeners, becoming one of the most popular non-single tracks on the album.

 

 

 

16. Love In The Sky (Kiss Land, 2013)

A stunning moment in The Weeknd’s discography. Love In The Sky travels to immense climatic moments, but are all overshadowed by the phenomenal last minutes that reimagines the atmosphere, with the thunderstorm outro that sets the mood right.

 

 

 

 

15. Belong To The World (Kiss Land, 2013)

Falling in love with the wrong girl is always a challenging pill to swallow. On Belong To The World, The Weeknd pens one of his most precise songs to date. The focal point of Kiss Land.

 

 

 

 

14. Acquainted (Beauty Behind The Madness, 2015)

Smoothly crooning over a girl, but not your ordinary girl, but one that has captured his attention, The Weeknd tries to win her over on Acquainted. Aware of the potential, he dedicates his efforts on an effortless R&B number that stuns with a Girls Born In The 90’s outro.

 

 

 

13. In The Night (Beauty Behind The Madness, 2015) 

Crossing over to the pop world so seemingly, The Weeknd proved that he can dominate multiple fields all at once. An obvious monumental pop tune on its own, but the most fascinating aspect is its dark subject matter focusing on child sexual abuse and prostitution.   

 

 

 

12. Wanderlust (Kiss Land, 2013)

The ultimate sign of the times. A preview of what was to come with his next era, The Weeknd mastered the ability to tap into pop music, and undoubtedly showcased his full potential. Wanderlust is his most creative pop vision.

 

 

 

 

11. Die For You (STARBOY, 2016)

What a beautiful love song. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Reminder (STARBOY, 2016)

Relentlessly no holds barred, The Weeknd ruthlessly stunts on his rap peers on Reminder. Dominated by instant quotable, and now iconic one-liners (got a sweet Asian chick, she go lo-mein), the track is a standout on not only the album, but in his discography. 

 

 

 

 

9. The Zone featuring Drake (Thursday, 2011)

Though it was an incredible run while it lasted, OVOXO dominated the rap-r&b in the early 2010s that fans can only appreciate with a sense of nostalgia. The Zone captures the highs of OVOXO. Contemporary R&B through the lens of the dark and eerie The Weeknd, with a perfect Drake feature verse straight out of the Take Care era. What a time, to be alive!

 

 

 

8. STARBOY featuring Daft Punk (STARBOY, 2016)

 

The most important single released thus far, STARBOY, the title track off of the accompanied album marked a new era, one that the pop world wasn’t ready for. Introducing the STARBOY persona, it truly showcased Abel’s dedication too tapping into each character he embodies and commits too. Exemplifying who STARBOY really is, The Weeknd indulges into his fame on an effective number which reaches new heights with the electric Daft Punk production.

 

 

7. I Feel It Coming featuring Daft Punk (STARBOY, 2016)

On yet another Daft Punk assisted single, I Feel It Coming is the ultimate feel good anthem. The perfect credits rolling closer to the blockbuster album that was STARBOY.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Often (Beauty Behind The Madness, 2015)

Bridging the gap between Trilogy and Beauty Behind The Madness, The Weeknd formulated a haunting, yet sultry hit through a mainstream appeal. Often, released just months before the album, proved he can execute the perfect dose of mastering of being ultra confident but yet still seeming humble about it. 

 

 

 

 

5. Twenty Eight (Trilogy, 2012)

The most emotional single in The Weeknd’s discography that is challenging to listen all the way through without breaking out in tears, Twenty Eight is a goosebump inducing thrill of a song. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Kiss Land (Kiss Land, 2013)

This ain’t nothing to relate to…From start to finish, Kiss Land is a perfect song. Transformative first half that invites listeners into a psychedelic escape that gets invades as the song slowly progresses into an intensifying buildup. Crashing into the second half, it shifts into an entire new atmosphere, an environment that is lonesome but a warning to the lifestyle of The Weeknd. Once again, The Weeknd vividly paints a character that addresses the chaotic faults of his own destruction. 

 

 

3. The Hills (Beauty Behind The Madness, 2015)

 A game changer for Top 40 radio, The Weeknd declared dominance with a nightmare of a song that sounded like nothing else in mainstream music. Nightmare of Elm Streets meets Toronto, as The Weeknd taps into a Freddy Krueger mentality for a cinematic thrill. Describing the horror film like lifestyle that comes to life with its music video, the song symbolizes his journey of heaven or hell. 

 

 

 

 2. Wicked Games (House Of Balloons, 2011)

The single that started it all…First appearing on the homepages of Tumblr users around the world nearly a decade ago, Wicked Games sounded like nothing else before, allowing fans to question  what is this song, and where did it come from…But most importantly, it interested fans on wanting to know, who was the mastermind behind it. That man in fact was Abel Tesfaye, the man behind the mysterious aura of The Weeknd. A decade later, the track still gives listeners the chills, and proves it was ultimately ahead of its time.

 

 

1. Blinding Lights (After Hours, 20200

A synthwave soundscape is a natural experiment for The Weeknd, as with every era, he proves exactly why he’s one of the most versatile voices, that isn’t restricted to just one sound. What makes ‘Blinding Lights’ so refreshing is the various storytelling possibilities that the song writes itself into, allowing listeners to reimagine themselves into the song itself, writing their own plot with the theme song already set. With every listen, you instantly tap into the future with subtle references to the past. Throwing a curve ball with every lead single heading into every new era, Abel revived the public interest of what it means to be a superstar. As an ode to the 80’s, while being a sign of the times, and a preview of the future, ‘Blinding Lights’ is an embodiment of who The Weeknd is as an artist. The once mysterious aura now unraveling itself for the full showcase of a natural born superstar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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