Have you ever wanted to Netflix and chill with your significant other but you don’t have Netflix? Daily Chiefers has found you the perfect solution: The Weeknd’s new album Beauty Behind The Madness.
The Canadian singer/songwriter’s sophomore album (abbreviated BBTM) without a doubt contained the most hype for its release, and attention grew as he released universally catchy singles like “I Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills”. Not only were these singles a huge success leading up to the release date, it exposed the The Weeknd’s intentions to capture the pop genre and take it for his keeping. And that he did.
Instead of talking the album’s chart accomplishments let’s talk the music. On BBTM The Weeknd guides us through his dark world of women, drugs, and love. As far as love, The Weeknd battles back and forth between his resentment of the emotion, and the yearn for it as well. It becomes apparent quickly that he faces a lot of personal issues with this, and is not scared to admit it, like when he begins his album saying, “Tell em this boy wasn’t meant for loving”. However later in the album he confesses, “It ain’t the right time to fall in love with me”. Whether it is the money and the fame or previous experiences that cause this disconnect, The Weeknd makes it clear that this feeling is significant to him regardless.
Although many would consider love a drug, we also are carried into a setting of drugs that are consumed. For example, on Often, The Weeknd states, “My god white, he in my pocket”. This is one of many seeming-to-be cocaine references throughout the album. Many would argue the song “I Can’t Feel My Face” is a complete tribute to the drug, saying things like “And I know she’ll be the death of me, at least we’ll both be numb. And she’ll always get the best of me, the worst is yet to come.” I mean, the chorus is “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you, but I love it”. Doesn’t take a narc to figure out what he’s talking about there. While this song may be fun and happy, there are many more dark points in BBTM that refer to drugs. On The Hills, he states that people are “Always tryna send me off to rehab” and his drugs are “starting to feel like decaf”. Shit’s heavy and could be considered a cry for help from The Weeknd. Regardless, The Weeknd therapeutically expresses his personal issues and allows the world in for a brief glimpse.
This 14-track album maintains the same sound for the most part, giving the listener tons of piano and groovy melodies with some funk sprinkled in here and there, while some instrumentals yield an atmospheric sound to allow his crisp vocals to lead the song. Some material in the latter half bring a choppy percussion with a slight swing, like on Dark Times with Ed Sheeran. And how can we forget to mention the wonderful production contribution of the great Kanye West on Tell Your Friends?? A key difference in sound comparing to The Weeknd’s prior work is the pop appeal, a very substantial element of BBTM, which led to his absolute crushing of the charts this go-around.
Beauty Behind The Madness is a very-much complete album but lacks a variety of content. Nearly every song, if not all, is about his female counterparts and the consumption of drugs, which can become uninteresting after multiple spins. If The Weeknd approached this album with the goal to create an extremely successful pop/R&B album that gained universal radio play and topped the charts, he fuckin’ hit that nail on the head with a 24 carat gold hammer. However, to the listeners who want more substance and less simplistic radio appeal, this album may be a disappointment. Regardless, Beauty Behind The Madness does hold a lot of The Weeknd’s personality, and he does in fact define this identity briefly on the album: “I’m that nigga with that hair singing bout poppin pills, fuckin bitches, living life so trill.” You get what you expect right?
Written by Mike T