If anyone owned the summer of 2015 music-wise, it’s The Weeknd. The R&B singer rise to mainstream success was slow and steady, pr...
REVIEW: The Weeknd 'Beauty Behind the Madness'
If anyone owned the summer of 2015 music-wise, it’s The Weeknd.
The R&B singer rise to mainstream success was slow and steady, preceded by the 2013 R&B record “Kiss Land.” Before The Weeknd was featured on the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack earlier this year, he was just an elusive R&B Internet staple, similar to Frank Ocean.
This year marked The Weeknd’s exit from obscurity and into the whirlwind of popular radio. Already boasting three well-known singles, “Beauty Behind the Madness,” was highly anticipated by critics and fans alike.
The album begins with the triumphant “Real Life.”
It is an expected track from the artist, who trades in more of a traditional R&B beat for a synthy sound. The reflective “Real Life” sets the tone for other songs on the album like the Kanye West produced “Tell Your Friends.”
Not a traditional West track in composition, but the confident lyrics of the song sound like something West could have penned. Complete with drug and sex references, “Beauty Behind the Madness” has no shortage of pompous lines.
The record offers many different producers unlike the few writers and producers on “Kiss Land.”
One producer who caught a lot of buzz is Max Martin. Martin produced for pop powerhouses such as Britney Spears, ‘NSYNC and Taylor Swift in the past . Martin’s songs typically have a habit of staying in people’s heads and on the radio.
Martin worked his magic with The Weeknd producing “Can’t Feel My Face,” which dominated the airwaves. The song is pure pop perfection with the strongest chorus on the album, and it doesn’t take a psychic to predict it will stay a radio repeat.
“Can’t Feel My Face” is reminiscent of a young Michael Jackson.
The album’s love song “As You Are” is the one track off the record that gives an early ‘90s vibe of Jackson or his sister Janet. Nevertheless, the song is simple and sweet, and displays a different side of the artist who’s known for his sultry style.
In the opening track, “Real Life,” the artist states he’s better as a loner, but the artist’s collaboration with Lana Del Rey proves otherwise. The melodic and mellow “Prisoner,” composed with a dance beat, includes the alternative artist on the track.
The track is perfect for the record, with both artists having a similar writing style and fan base. The breathy, depressing vocals from Lana Del Rey, leaves you wanting more from the duo.
Unlike the collaboration with Lana Del Rey, the Ed Sheeran duet, titled “Dark Times,” falls flat. Sheeran’s acoustic style doesn’t complement The Weeknd’s R&B vocals and feels out of place on the record.
The album reaches its victory lap with “Angel” and is perhaps the most self-reflective and personal offering off of “Beauty Behind the Madness.” The Weeknd expresses his love for a former flame, closing out the album on a vulnerable note.
“Beauty Behind the Madness” is a great effort from an artist who is at a crossroads in his career.
Recently gaining the support of mainstream radio, the album won’t disappoint his long-time fans. The record is more polished than his previous work and includes head-boppers that are sure to please listeners.
The album solidifies The Weeknd as a force to be reckoned with in the genres of mainstream pop and alternative R&B.
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