In November, Abel Tesfaye, who makes music as the Weeknd, released Starboy. That's six projects in five years, and all of them save one have been well-received. In 2011, the year of his debut, he put out three mixtapes and all would have been career-altering for other artists—especially House of Balloons, which remains his best, most focused release. In five years, he's gone from an anonymous voice at the edge of R&B to a global pop star, one calculated step at a time. He's used musical relationships with Drake, Ariana Grande, and Max Martin to his advantage, moving closer and closer to the center of popular music, with its big budgets and even bigger audiences. That he's done so while maintaining a low profile—no wild sound bites, little courting of splashy paparazzi opportunities—makes it all the more impressive.
Now that we've had some time to digest Starboy, here are his 31 strongest.