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posted: 9/19/2013 6:00 AM

The Weeknd flows nicely on 'Kiss Land'

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  • The Weeknd, "Kiss Land"

      The Weeknd, "Kiss Land"
    Associated Press/Republic

Associated Press

The Weeknd, "Kiss Land" (Republic Records)

The Weeknd, who became a critical darling after releasing a trilogy of mix tapes in 2011 thanks to his eerie R&B sound, sticks to his guns on his official debut album, "Kiss Land."

The 10-track set plays smoothly, and the singer's falsetto weaves into the tracks nicely. "Wanderlust," which samples Fox the Fox's "Precious Little Diamond," is the disc's most adventurous song: The Michael Jackson-esque tune is energetic, beat-driven and could be a monster hit on the pop charts.

Most of "Kiss Land" isn't as up-tempo, but the Canadian singer doesn't disappoint as he stays true to his soulfully eclectic vibe and progressive R&B sound. The Weeknd's mainly singing about relationships, and on the appealing "Belong to the World," he sings, "But you taught me how to feel when nobody ever would." And on "Adaptation" -- which samples the Police's "Bring on the Night"-- he sings about regret, "But I chose the life, I chose the life, then I realized she might have been the one, I let it go for a little fun."

While "Kiss Land" is sonically enjoying, some of the tracks sound too similar. Additional collaborators could probably help split up the sound: Drake, who has worked with The Weeknd, adds a ton of flavor to "Live For," a track highlighted by handclaps and lyrics about getting ahead.

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