The Weeknd- Beauty behind the madness
Abel Tesfaye cuts the fat off his underwhelming Kiss Land major label debut on Beauty Behind the Madness. Tesfaye revisits and embellishes his earlier successes on the album, which sounds like a victory lap. When he uses his gift, the results are indisputable.
After contributing a cameo verse to Ariana Grande’s “Love Me Harder” last year, Tesfaye made the transition from cult lothario to pop star. With what authors gave him, Tesfaye decided to try his hand at a radio-friendly stanza instead, and the outcome was his most liked verse since the glory days of the Trilogy. Then came “Earned It,” the theme song from 50 Shades of Grey, which gave him a whole new fan base and showcased his angelic voice over symphonic flourishes—a formula that was difficult to avoid.
With that momentum behind him, Tesfaye is all fired up about becoming a celebrity and removing the weight from his underwhelming major label debut, Kiss Land, in Beauty Behind the Madness.But rather of taking the “Can’t Feel My Face” approach, he goes back to what initially made him so amazing, softening the edges of his sound and making it more expansive.
The album has Tesfaye rehashing and exaggerating his former accomplishments, making it sound like a victory lap.With its spooky screams and disillusioned croak, “The Hills” seems like a song off of a Thursday mixtape done on a Hollywood budget.“Tell Your Friends” is similar to Kanye West’s “The Morning” production.“Angel” puts the Weeknd’s most dramatic moments—think “Heaven or Las Vegas”—into a glossy adult-contemporary framework fit for a Celine Dion song (written with one of her collaborators, Stephen Moccio). “Shameless” is “Wicked Games” from a more knowledgeable standpoint.Then there’s “In the Night,” a disco stomper that sounds uncannily like Michael Jackson and is sure to become a success.
It helps that his music has started to gradually incorporate the self-awareness he has shown in his interviews.Although Tesfaye has made a career out of singing offensive songs in a sweet voice, there are some moments on Beauty—such as the introspective duet “Prisoner” with Lana Del Rey—where he finally seems to be questioning this persona and making his listeners wonder why they have been following along with him for so long.Over the course of six flawless minutes, some of the best of Tesfaye’s career, “Tell Your Friends” examines his ascent.His voice has a new power, even though the themes are well-known. At the end of the chorus, when he sings, “I’m that nigga with the hair/ Singing ’bout popping pills, fucking bitches, living life so trill,” there’s a noticeable change in his tone.
Tesfaye’s defining contradiction is reiterated in that song, which simultaneously embraces the bacchanalian extravagance of his lifestyle and its emptiness.When Tesfaye wrote songs like “High for This” or “The Morning,” he was working at American Apparel and living on couches in Toronto when he was just 20 years old and homeless.“Tell Your Friends” features him as a pop artist on tour, having achieved a number one hit.He’s driving his new Mercedes around the West End and listening to his tunes come out of the Queen Street dives he used to frequent.Despite all the popularity, he’s still the same old person, he tells us with “Tell Your Friends”; yet, certain things have changed since then.
He’s a superstar. Canada first, next the world
Stream The Weeknd’s Beauty behind the madness and let us know what you think
The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the madness Tracklist
1. Real Life
2. Losers featuring Labrinth
3. Tell Your Friends
5. The Hills
7. Can’t Feel My Face
9. Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)
10. In The Night
11. As You Are
12. Dark Times featuring Ed Sheeran
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