Beauty Behind The Madness marks the end of an era for the old Weeknd, while in the process of introducing the new “pop superstar” Weeknd. This sophomore album from the Weeknd offers fans and new listeners a brand new side of Weeknd. An upbeat side. When going through a first listen through, the album may come off as a “pop” sounding piece of work, but if you listen closely, it’s the same context material you come to expect from Weeknd.
Beauty Behind The Madness does not have a lot of features. The only guest artists to appear on the album are Labrinth, Ed Sheeran, and Lana Del Rey. This is not unusual for Weeknd, as his previous albums didn’t feature many artists.
The album does feature radio hits, The Hills, Can’t Feel My Face, and a new intro for the track Earned It.
Tell Your Friends has a very old school feel and that’s due to the production by Kanye West. Kanye samples Soul Dog’s “Can’t Stop Loving You”, which was a perfect choice as Weeknd brings it on this track – not holding back anything. He’s very bold on this track – The Weeknd explains why he will never wear white, his drug use, fighting with “politics” in the music industry, and surprising – his hairstyle.
The music video for Tell Your Friends serves as a funeral for Weeknds past self. More proof that the Weeknd is done with his “past” is he is actually dancing in the video, something that’s not a go to for the Weeknd.
If you thought “Can’t Feel My Face” had a Michael Jackson feel to it, wait until you listen to In The Night. The track has a very similar sound to Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”. Though the context is a lot different – the track is about a girl who is the victim of childhood sex abuse. In an interview with The New York Times, Weeknd explained the song was homage to the late Michael Jackson.
As You Are has a 90’s R&B sound. Throughout the track, Weeknd exclaims he doesn’t care about this particular woman’s past or flaws, he will take her as she is.
The show-stealer for this album would have to be track 13, Prisoner. The Weeknd and Lana Del Rey work great together. It’s something fans from both have wanted to see for a long time. I won’t spoil too much about the song; definitely give this track a listen.
The entire album has a stadium/arena feel, and that makes sense as the Weeknd will headline his “The Madness Fall” tour beginning this November. I’m sure his band will be awesome live as they were this past July at Lollapalooza.
In all, Beauty Behind The Madness feels everywhere, not one consistent sound, but that’s not a bad thing. Production is top notch and the lyrics do not disappoint. Hardcore fans of the Weeknd may not like this album due to its new sound – which includes a more upbeat Weeknd. If you are looking for “depressing” Weeknd, listen to his previous works, this album is something brand new.
What people have to understand is that artists tend to reinvent themselves overtime to stay fresh, and that’s exactly what the Weeknd did on this album.
– Journalist Without A Beat
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