There’s a fair bit of recycling throughout – something that neither of his other two mixtapes that year suffered from. He’s going to drop the word serotonin twice (“Rolling Stone” and “Heaven or Las Vegas”; the latter is sadly not a Cocteau Twins cover and he makes up a variation of the word for the former so it can fit the meter better). Then, there’s the Godawful coda of “Lonely Star” wherein he lists the days of the week that pops up again as the chorus of “Thursday” (and people made fun of Rebecca Black; go figure). Of course, we all knew that the Weeknd’s complete inability to sing about anything other than sex and drugs would get stale soon, but more problematic is the sonic recycling – the acoustic coda of “The Birds, Pt 1” is turned into its own song on “Rolling Stone” and the martial drums are used as the percussive force in three tracks: “Lonely Star,” “The Birds, Pt. 1” and “Heaven or Las Vegas.” That aside, most of the tracks I just mentioned are the mixtape’s highlights, so the recycling is more of an observation than a criticism. The worst tracks are the album’s longest – Drake’s verse on “The Zone” isn’t worth hearing Tesfaye’s directionless croon for 5 minutes; the 8-minute “Gone” reveals the weakness of Thursdayas a whole – it’s basically House of Balloons with conventional drumming.
That being said, there’s plenty of good stuff: the way Tesfaye runs through the hook of “Lonely Star” over the alternating immense bass throb and military drums; the way he squeezes the hook of the peer-pressuring “Life of a Party” (he’ll expand on the suggested violence better on Echoes of Silence) and the military drums of “The Birds, Pt. 1” are huge(though hearing Tesfaye sing “Don’t you fall in love with a niggah like me” on it and its sequel is particularly wince worthy because you can hear the “-h”). “Rolling Stone”’s “So I’mma keep on smoking til I can’t hit another note” is surprisingly touching from an empty human being and I quite dig the psychedelic percussion in that same track – like someone’s knocking on the door from the outside but he’s too stoned to hear it. Should’ve been the album closer if you’d ask me, though that’s not to discount the proper closer, “Heaven or Las Vegas,” the only track on the album that has direction: nighttime ambience, bass bubbles, rolling drums, biting riff, twinkling piano – all introduced one at a time. Still, those successes aren’t nearly as many as they were on House of Ballooons or as interesting as they were on Echoes of Silence. That, coupled with its failures, makeThursday the worst of his mixtape trilogy.