The Weeknd

Why Do People Hate The Weeknd?

The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye, is one of the most popular and successful musicians of the past decade. With chart-topping hits like “Blinding Lights,” “Starboy,” and “Can’t Feel My Face,” The Weeknd has amassed a huge global fanbase.

However, despite his success, The Weeknd has also garnered a fair share of haters and critics over the years. In this article, we’ll explore some of the main reasons why certain groups of people dislike The Weeknd and his music.

His Music Style and Image

One of the most common criticisms of The Weeknd is that his music all sounds the same. His vocal style and overall aesthetic have remained relatively consistent since his mixtape days in the early 2010s. While fans appreciate his signature sound, some argue that his music lacks diversity and innovation.

Related to this is The Weeknd’s dark, hedonistic image that focuses on sex, drugs, and partying. While this image resonated with many listeners initially, some argue that The Weeknd glorifies a shallow lifestyle and promotes unhealthy behavior through his lyrics.

Key Points about His Music Style and Image:

  • The Weeknd’s music style has remained relatively similar for a decade, lacking diversity for some.
  • His lyrics and image are focused on partying, sex, and drugs, which some find overdone and detrimental.
  • Fans are attracted to his unique, signature sound and aesthetic.
  • Critics feel he glorifies shallow values and promotes unhealthy lifestyles.

His Pop Crossover Success

After building his early audience with dark, moody R&B mixtapes, The Weeknd began shifting towards more mainstream pop music in the mid-2010s. His album Starboy incorporated more electronic and pop influences as he climbed the charts.

For some longtime fans, this transition from The Weeknd’s underground roots to top 40 radio felt like selling out or compromising his sound. His music took on a more upbeat, danceable tone that was accessible for pop audiences. This growth in popularity expanded his fanbase but alienated certain groups who preferred his early work.

The Weeknd’s Journey to Pop Stardom:

  • Early mixtapes had darker R&B sound aimed at niche audience.
  • Starboy and later albums incorporated pop and electronic influences.
  • Mainstream crossover brought chart success and new fans.
  • Some original fans felt his shift to pop was “selling out.”

Public Persona and Controversies

Another source of criticism is The Weeknd’s public persona, which some view as arrogant or self-indulgent. This perception may stem from public feuds, like his dispute with the Grammys over past nominations. The Weeknd has also faced other controversies, like accusations of plagiarism.

While his fans admire his blunt honesty and cocksure attitude, these traits rub some people the wrong way. His unfiltered comments on social media and award show incidents have turned off those who feel he lacks humility and graciousness. The Weeknd’s persona attracts as many detractors as it does fans.

The Weeknd’s Contentious Public Persona:

  • Perceived by some as arrogant, cocky, and self-indulgent.
  • Public feuds with institutions like the Grammys have created controversy.
  • Blunt comments on social media alienate those who want more humility.
  • His persona attracts plenty of fans who admire his bold honesty.

Competition and Jealousy in Music Industry

As with many hugely successful artists, The Weeknd also faces envy from other musicians and industry players. Some peers may feel eclipsed by his monumental success over the past decade. Rival artists who once occupied similar musical lanes now hear The Weeknd dominating airwaves.

Jealousy and competition exist in any profitable industry, and the music business is no different. The Weeknd’s far-reaching accomplishments inevitably breed resentment among those aspiring to similar fame and acclaim. However, this envy stems more from his circumstance than any personal animosity.

Success Breeds Envy in the Music Industry:

  • The Weeknd has achieved a level of fame and success unmatched by many peers.
  • Rival artists in similar music lanes now live in his shadow.
  • Industry jealousy is somewhat inevitable for any hugely successful musician.
  • Resentment is circumstantial rather than personal in most cases.

His Work Ethic and Perfectionism

While The Weeknd’s talent is undeniable, his success also stems from an obsessive work ethic and perfectionism. He has a reputation for being extremely meticulous in crafting songs and albums. While fans appreciate his attention to detail, this perfectionism means The Weeknd demands a lot from collaborators.

There are stories of The Weeknd reputedly making engineers and producers work 16-hour days during recording sessions. His excessive quality control and revisions have frustrated some collaborators. So while his strong work ethic contributes to his artistry, it has also allegedly alienated certain colleagues.

The Weeknd’s Demanding Work Ethic Has Tradeoffs:

  • His success partially stems from tireless work ethic and perfectionism.
  • He is known for exhaustive sessions and constantly revising his music.
  • Colleagues occasionally complain of The Weeknd’s unreasonable demands.
  • Fans appreciate his attention to detail and quality control.
  • His high standards take a toll on relationships with some collaborators.

His Voice and Singing Style Are Polarizing

The Weeknd has an unorthodox, nasal vocal style that is instantly recognizable but divisive for some listeners. For fans, his trembling vibrato and lithe falsetto have become signature strengths.

But critics argue his voice lacks power or rhythm at times. His verbal style relies heavily on interpretation rather than technical skill. While he deserves credit for making his unusual voice a trademark, many dispute The Weeknd’s pure vocal talents. Like his music overall, his singing elicits strong reactions on both sides.

Perspectives on The Weeknd’s Singing Ability:

  • His vocal style is unique and identifiable but polarizing.
  • Fans are drawn to his trembling delivery and lithe falsetto range.
  • Critics argue his voice objectively lacks power and rhythmic skill.
  • He relies more on stylistic interpretation rather than technical ability.
  • Reactions tend to be split between loving or hating his unorthodox vocals.

Accusations of Promoting Drug Use

The Weeknd’s early work was riddled with references to various controlled substances like cocaine, MDMA, and prescription pills. While he avoided preaching the benefits of drug use, some argued his lyrical content glorified a lifestyle of addiction and substance abuse.

Critics pointed out that The Weeknd referenced drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms for pain, loneliness, and boredom. His graphic descriptions of binges arguably romanticized dangerous habits, especially for young, impressionable fans. The Weeknd dismissed these critiques as overreactions, though accusations of promoting drug use have persisted for years.

Drug References in The Weeknd’s Music:

  • Early lyrics contained copious references to substances like cocaine and pills.
  • He has been accused of glamorizing drug abuse and addiction.
  • Critics argue he portrays substance use as a coping mechanism.
  • The Weeknd asserts critiques overstate and misinterpret his content.
  • Accusations of promoting drug use have followed him since his debut.

Questions About Authenticity and Sincerity

Some listeners question how much of The Weeknd’s hedonistic, troubled public persona is authentic versus an invented caricature. Fans debate whether he truly lives the excessively decadent lifestyle depicted in lyrics.

Or is it partly embellished entertainment and carefully molded branding? This ambiguity causes some to doubt the sincerity behind his graphic stories of drugs, partying, and women. However, The Weeknd asserts that his art reflects his genuine experiences and emotions. It remains an ongoing debate among fans.

Debating The Weeknd’s Authenticity:

  • Fans question how much of his bad boy image is real versus branding.
  • Critics doubt the sincerity of his party lifestyle based on lyrics.
  • It’s unclear whether he embellishes his stories for artistic effect.
  • The Weeknd maintains his music reflects his authentic experiences.
  • There is ongoing debate around the sincerity of his image among listeners.

His Music Lacks Meaning or Substance for Some

Apart from criticisms of The Weeknd’s singing ability or controversies, some people simply find his music hollow and lacking substance. Beyond catchy melodies and brooding atmosphere, they argue his lyrics fail to convey meaningful themes or messages.

Fans connect with vulnerability and emotion in The Weeknd’s work. But detractors contend his graphic tales of partying, addiction, and promiscuity ring shallow. While pop music historically emphasizes entertainment over depth, The Weeknd’s critics believe his art lacks important human elements like empathy, wisdom, or purpose.

Perceptions on Substance in The Weeknd’s Music:

  • Critics argue his lyrics lack meaningful themes beyond surface-level partying and sex.
  • Fans connect with vulnerability and emotion in his work.
  • Detractors find his graphic content shallow, empty, and immature.
  • Pop music often prioritizes entertainment over depth.
  • Some believe his work fails to convey wisdom, empathy, or purpose.

His Transition From R&B to Pop

As mentioned earlier, The Weeknd’s musical evolution from indie R&B to mainstream pop alienated some original fans who were drawn to his underground sound. While expanding his audience with a more accessible, upbeat style, he left certain groups wanting the raw, dystopian vibes of his early work.

His pop crossover success with songs like “Can’t Feel My Face” and collaborations with artists like Daft Punk felt uninspired to longtime listeners. The Weeknd gained chart dominance but partially diluted his dark edge in the process. This transition, while commercially fruitful, cost him some credibility among fans of his formative work.

The Weeknd’s Progression from R&B to Pop:

  • Early mixtapes had a raw, dystopian R&B sound that resonated with specific groups.
  • Crossover hits like “Can’t Feel My Face” had a more upbeat, pop-friendly sound.
  • Mainstream collaborations expanded his audience but alienated original fans.
  • His evolving style gained mass appeal but lost some of its dark edge.
  • Commercially successful transition left some wanting his old alternative R&B style.


In summary, while beloved by millions, The Weeknd also has his share of detractors for understandable reasons. His style, image, and controversies rub some listeners the wrong way even as others connect deeply with his work. No artist can please all audiences, and The Weeknd is no exception.

However, his unique sound and vulnerable songwriting have clearly impacted mainstream music and culture over the past decade. The Weeknd has cultivated a dynamic persona that elicits strong reactions across the spectrum.

His career exemplifies both the heights of success and the harsh critiques that fame naturally breeds. He continues to thrive as one of pop’s most unpredictable and unfiltered superstars.

Frequently Asked Questions About Why People Dislike The Weeknd

What are the main reasons people criticize The Weeknd’s music?

Some common criticisms are that his music all sounds too similar, that it glorifies shallow lyrical themes involving sex/drugs/partying, and that his pop crossover diluted his original dark R&B style that long-time fans prefer. His distinctive voice and public persona are also polarizing factors.

Does The Weeknd care that he has haters?

While he hasn’t directly addressed his critics much, The Weeknd appears indifferent to naysayers. With his massive success and fame, he seems unfazed by those who dislike his work. He maintains confidence in his artistic vision.

Is any of the criticism against The Weeknd valid?

Some arguments against The Weeknd have more merit than others. Fair critiques include his lack of musical diversity/growth over time and promotion of unhealthy lifestyles in early lyrics. However, accusations of insincerity or lack of talent are more subjective and dubious.

What are The Weeknd’s biggest musical strengths?

Fans and critics agree his standout talents include a unique, distinctive vocal style and ability to craft infectious pop melodies and hooks. The vulnerable themes and emotions conveyed in his lyrics resonate with many listeners as well.

Does The Weeknd deserve his immense mainstream success?

Critical reception is mixed, but his success is undeniable. The Weeknd has earned industry acclaim, record-breaking sales, and global fandom through sheer talent and craft. While people debate his merits, his accomplishments speak for themselves.

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