In 2012, Abel Tesfaye, more popularly known as The Weeknd, revolutionized sex with his first album, Trilogy. There were 3,932,181 births reported in 2013. Coincidence? We don’t think so. Since then, The Weeknd has continued to discuss drugs and sex in two other albums — Kiss Land and his newest endeavor, Beauty Behind the Madness.
A lot of the tracks on Beauty Behind the Madness were released before the album itself, attacking the radio with popular hits such as “Can’t Feel My Face,” “The Hills” and “Earned It,” the last of which was featured in the movie, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’
By collaborating with top artists such as Lana Del Rey and Kanye West, The Weeknd managed to make headlines repeatedly this past year. He immersed himself in the pop scene without changing his hypersexualized, drug fantasy aesthetic.
Now, The Weeknd isn’t restricted to the confines of teenage bedrooms anymore — his music is everywhere. He has made his mark on Top 40, hip-hop and even throwback stations, intelligently releasing a new song every so often.
Though there are a few tracks, namely his collaboration with Ed Sheeran on “Dark Times,” that don’t fit well with his aesthetic or the rest of the album, most of the songs on Beauty Behind the Madness are hits. Ed Sheeran’s sound seems too innocent compared to the Michael Jackson-esque vibe of The Weeknd. No, that comparison is not the equivalent of saying that Justin Beiber is the new Beatles.
The Weeknd has been exposed to this comparison before in his older track, “Dirty Diana.” He has embraced the similarity in his new track “In The Night,” featuring high-pitched vocals and an upbeat rhythm, which are both hallmarks of Michael Jackson’s style. Yet, The Weeknd stays true to his roots in Trilogy. On his latest album, he adds a sensual voice to a rhythmic, slow beat that increases with intensity as the seconds pass by in his album, Beauty Behind the Madness.
The Weeknd’s voice stands out in one of the best, least-discussed tracks on the album, “Shameless.” The song features an acoustic guitar, highlighting his sensual voice, which is a valuable instrument in itself. While “Tell Your Friends” may get the crowd pumped on his upcoming tour, “Shameless” will be the song that has the audience swooning.
We may have wanted our middle school teachers to stop discussing sex, but The Weeknd should never let the subject rest.
Contact Ilaf Esuf at [email protected].