“I’m very proud of him”: A 16-year-old Weeknd superfan reviews Starboy

“I’m very proud of him”: A 16-year-old Weeknd superfan reviews Starboy

Photograph courtesy of Jahnaea Hines

Last Wednesday night, 16-year-old Jahnaea Hines couldn’t sleep. In the early hours of Thursday morning, she and a friend Ubered from her Mississauga home to downtown Toronto and, by 4 a.m., had staked a spot in line outside Pinewood Studios. Five chilly hours later, they scored wristbands to a listening party that night for The Weeknd’s new album, Starboy, where the singer himself spun the record twice, danced and sang along, and gave a few thank-you speeches.

Calling Hines a Weeknd superfan doesn’t quite do it justice. She listens to his music every day, she’s attended three of his concerts, she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of his Twitter feed, and when she sends an email, her name pops up in your inbox as Jahnaea Tesfaye. During Mr. Tesfaye’s Madness tour, she finally met her hero in person. “It was the craziest moment ever,” says Hines. “I was super-overwhelmed. I was extremely nervous. I started crying, and he asked what was wrong. I just told him I loved him and couldn’t get enough, and he told me he loved me too. That was basically the whole thing.”

For Hines, last week’s Starboy release was A Big Deal. Already, she’s lost count of the number of times she’s listened to it. We asked Hines to guide us through a few of her favourite tracks on the 18-song opus. She’s the first to admit her review is, well, just a little biased.

1. Starboy

Ft. Daft Punk
“This is his first time working with Daft Punk. It was really cool to hear something so different from him. I wanted to think this is what the rest of the album would sound like, but I was totally off. Every song is different. Of the singles, I like ‘Starboy’ the most. It has the best production and lyrics.”


3. False Alarm

“This is the first time I’ve heard him do a rock song. What’s exciting is that he was trying something new. When I first heard it, I didn’t think I was going to like it, but I got into it quickly. After five or six listens, I wanted to listen to it all the time. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I don’t usually like music like that—the screams—but it’s so unique. It was crazy to hear that from him. I wish I’d seen him more in the video because he’s only in it for two seconds at the end.”


5. Rockin’

“This one threw me for a loop. It’s not what I was expecting from the title. I thought it would be more like ‘False Alarm,’ but it’s very different. He’s done an incredible job switching up his style. The lyrics are beautiful and the production is great.”


7. True Colors

“At some point today, it was in my top five, but that changes all the time. Seeing him listen to this song was crazy because I could tell he liked it so much. That made me like it.”


9. Sidewalks

Ft. Kendrick Lamar
“I don’t listen to Kendrick Lamar a lot, but I like all the songs he features on. Like, I don’t have any of his music saved, but I really like his verse on this song.”


14. Ordinary Life

“I really like the first half. The singing before the song starts is so beautiful. I like that he floats on his music. Fluid, like it doesn’t sound hard for him to do. He can do it whenever he wants to.”


15. Nothing Without You

“I’ve been waiting on this song since 2014. He had tweeted, ‘Nothing about you.’ At that point, he never said it was a song. His tweets are so cryptic. Usually they mean something at some point later on. For example, he tweeted, ‘False alarm. She loves everybody.’ He tweeted teases from the album before anybody knew about it. So I was anticipating ‘Nothing Without You’ even though I didn’t know what it was.”


16. All I Know

Ft. Future
“Some of the best vocals I’ve ever heard from him since 2012. Unforgettable. The beginning, before Future starts rapping, is like the most beautiful thing I’ve heard in my life. He says, ‘The reasons I can’t have you are so easy to fix’—that was also a tweet from a while ago. It’s so cool hearing words I already know.”


17. Die For You

“Just the beat alone was enough to catch me. At the listening party, seeing him dance to this and get excited was so cool. No one was as excited about his music as he was—except for me. The lyrics are beautiful. For a sad song, it has an upbeat tempo. He made this album more upbeat than his other stuff.”


18. I Feel It Coming

Ft. Daft Punk
“I hear his inspirations coming out: Prince, Michael Jackson, David Bowie. None of the songs sounds the same, but they flow together. I can’t say one bad thing about this album. I don’t skip one song. Starboy is the greatest project this year.”