Finally, the world has been introduced to the madness of Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, where the beauty lies in his raw, lust crazed, drug-filled lyrics. When House of Balloons dropped in March 2011, I knew it was only a matter of time before music lovers would fall in love with his mind bending, drug induced, sleek dark R&B sound. Fast forward four years later (with a duo of free mixtapes Echoes of Silence and Thursday) and you get Beauty Behind the Madness (BBTM), Tesfaye’s follow-up to 2013’s Kiss Land album. Beauty Behind the Madness provides a striking balance between reality and excess. There is a definitive progression in his beats and his hooks that allow you to enjoy some of life’s vices (drugs, sex, and alcohol) which are routinely found in his hazy lyrics. “Tell your Friends” is a stellar track which is produced by none other than Kanye West. The Weekend expresses his emotions with no filter and displays his song writing skills with choice of words to fill your ear with seductive praises ‘bout popping pills, fucking bitches, and living a life so trill.” Like no other, Abel Tesfaye has the ability to make such gritty lyrics sound so appealing and normal.
Throughout Beauty Behind the Madness, The Weeknd croons in a silky smooth R&B voice that gives Frank Ocean a run for his money, and literally, makes you forget about Miguel. There is no denying the influence of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, as you listen to the album. Songs like “In the Night” and “Can’t Feel My Face” establish a pop feel where The Weekend seems comfortable dabbling with songs that have a mainstream appeal. With the aforementioned tracks, you can tell Abel is not afraid of the Michael Jackson comparisons, but instead embraces them in order to move further into the world of stardom. Previously released songs like “The Hills”, the Fifty Shades of Grey contribution “Earned It”, and “Often” are familiar songs that help bridge the gap for newcomers. “Can’t Feel My Face,” peaked at No. 1 and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. His other single “The Hills” peaked at No. 5. BBTM is filled with sombre and haunting sounds which set the perfect setting for partying early in the morning, having multiple love affairs (possibly all in one night) or getting intimate with the lady of choice for the night.
BBTM includes an impressive line-up of collaborators such as Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey (if you do not know the latter, you are missing out) however, both do not seem to add much value or profound appeal to their collaborative efforts. In all fairness, this is a project to propel
The Weeknd to the mass world, not a means to deepen their musical careers. Nonetheless, what makes BBTM so intriguing and fresh is the growth and evolution Abel experiences as an artist which is felt throughout the majority of the album. His lyrics are not crafty, complex or far-fetched where an avid listener may get lost in his vivid images. Abel manages to bring the topic of relationships in the fore-front of his album with various choice encounters that can either be summed up as short-lived and/or blurts of heartache. “What can you show me, that my heart don’t know already?” is a question Abel professes in “Losers” where more often than none, we beginning to sense that The Weeknd is trying to work through trust issues, albeit with the use of various illicit substances. Essentially, Beauty Behind the Madness is raw, sultry, catchy and euphoric from one of R&B’s more complicated artist. For those of you, like me that were hooked from the first track off House of Balloons, you can consider BBTM as a crowning moment for Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd.
Here is the latest track by the The Weeknd
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