#300WordsorLess Review - @TheWeeknd: Beauty Behind The Madness

By Speed on the Beat (@SpeedontheBeat)

Since 2013’s Kiss Land, fans and critics have waited to see if The Weeknd’s official sophomore release’d break new ground or continue to simply, as I mentioned in my own review of Kiss Land, retread what initially made him successful. The verdict on Beauty Behind The Madness is that it retreads some comfortable ground while expanding on The Weeknd's new audience and experimentation with sounds.

While we still get a lot of ILLANGELO-tinged beats and topics, we also get full-out instrumentation and hear Weeknd revisit those Noise demos with songs such as the Kanye West-produced "Tell Your Friends" and the Michael Jackson-esque "Can't Feel My Face," respectively. As I previously mentioned, "Tell Your Friends" is kind of a mix of "'Runaway meets 'Come Live With Me'" with a bit of Jodeci for good measure. 

We’ve heard a couple songs already over the past two years ("Often," "Earned It," "The Hills," "Can't Feel My Face," etc.). But, the amount of new material and spins on “Weeknd topics” (drugs, sex, meaningless sex, pressures of fame, escapism, suite songs about the way things’ve changed up since House of Balloons, etc) around these teaser singles is fresh enough to keep you from skipping over the retreads. Secondly, the retreads are, possibly intentionally, grouped together. Additionally, the artists Weeknd features on the project (Kanye, Lana Del Ray, Ed Sheeran, and Labrinth) cover a lot of different genres. It's that genre-bending that drew people into The Weeknd in the first place.

“[Just] trying to live life for the moment, and all these motherfuckers want a relapse,” Weeknd sings on “The Hills,” possibly defying the notion of being “just a drug singer.” BBTM showcases his versatility and growth beyond “just a drug singer.” There’re the “drug songs,” but there’s so much more.

Final Verdict: Buy


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