Beauty Behind the Madness Album Review

Hunter Wolff, Editor in Chief



If you have never heard the Weeknd sing, you should probably take a listen. The Weeknd is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic artists and singers of the current generation. With a voice reminiscent of Michael Jackson, Abel Tesfaye (better known as The Weeknd) might just be the next best artist since the King of Pop himself. With two albums under his belt already, and one being a platinum selling record, The Weeknd’s latest album, Beauty Behind The Madness, is received with high expectations.


The minimalist design for Trilogy’s artwork

The Weeknd’s first two albums travelled deep into his heart, surrendering his vulnerability to the world. With production having a foundation in slow tempos, crashing percussion, resounding bass, and soulful echoes of sorrow, all of these components blend together beautifully to create two albums of high quality production and immense attention to detail. Lyrically, both albums were honest and candid. The Weeknd conveyed his pain from his troubling past filled with drugs, crime, partying, and sex. His debut album, Trilogy, was released in 2012 after gaining increasing popularity on the internet via Youtube. Trilogy as a whole blended incredibly, song after song. The album really felt like one long track, differentiating minimally either rhythmically or sonically. The album eventually went platinum in 2013. His sophomore album, called Kiss Land, came out in 2013 and while it was sonically and thematically similar to Trilogy, critically it was not as favorable and got very little attention than it really deserved. So now, after this history lesson on The Weeknd’s successful beginnings, let’s get into his latest project, Beauty Behind The Madness.

The first song, “Real Life,” is played. Woah. When the album begins you notice it. A multitude of synths join in chorus as if to proclaim the start of the album. “Real Life” acts as a disclaimer to the album, as he describes what people should expect from him and his album. Second song, “Losers” is played. A piano crescendos to fortissimo until the first chorus, where, a beautiful explosion of sounds occur. Piano, synths, percussion, guitar, and vocals all harmonize to create a colorful image of sonic in the brain. So crisp and vivid, the production of this album is very well thought out and detailed, even after just listening to two songs.


The Weeknd featured in the latest GQ

The album continues very strongly with a Kanye West produced song called “Tell Your Friends,” harking to vintage soul and jazz. Beauty Behind The Madness features both similar and different sounds compared to his first two albums. His latest body of work features more up beat instrumentals and more pronounced “pops” of percussion. Importantly, these are features that are welcoming to the ear. While the album does feel more up beat, happier, and generally more “pop,” The Weeknd does have several songs that bring up topics of addiction to drugs and sex and the loneliness that comes from these weaknesses of his past. In conclusion, Beauty Behind The Madness features everything that we can expect from a Weeknd album and then some. The Weeknd experimented sonically by having less of the slow tempos and soulful echoes that his fans know so well and instead, successfully integrated crisp sounding instrumentals. With so much great music out in 2015 thus far, this album is, without a doubt, one of the best albums of the year. Despite this, I still firmly believe that Trilogy is The Weeknd’s best album because of the pure candidness and transparency that The Weeknd provides listeners.