By Kaylin Evans
The Weeknd transitions beautifully from a known alternative R&B crooner to an eclectic R&B/Pop crossover artist with his new album, “Beauty Behind the Madness.” The title is appropriate because he seems to have a knack for artfully turning the worst of situations into beautiful masterpieces. With unlikely appearances by artists like Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey, and Labrinth, “Beauty Behind the Madness” offers something for everyone.
The opening track, “Real Life,” is impactful without the need to be flashy. It sets the tone for the album by giving precedence to what seems like what The Weeknd wants everyone to know—that he’s still the same artist, just with a new, more exciting sound.
The only fault in this album is the lack of thematic diversity. The Weeknd, known for his vulgarity and tales of drug abuse and wild nights, rarely steps away from that subject matter, which makes it hard to find something new and exciting in his personal anecdotes. While the album is still enjoyable to listen to, the content is almost nothing we haven’t heard before.
Even so, this album features fresh sounds. One stand-out in particular is the Michael Jackson-esque “In The Night.” Another is the uncharacteristically sweet “Shameless,” which along with his current single, “Can’t Feel My Face,” is a nice break from the brooding feel of the first half of the album. Also, in his soulful duet with Ed Sheeran, “Dark Time,” The Weeknd gets to showcase his vocal capabilities.
“Madness” combines typical poppy repetition and bouncy back beats with The Weeknd’s original lyrical style and his naturally evocative voice to create something that is much more than just catchy pop music for the radio. In this new era of his music, The Weeknd will continue to stand out because he is still making content that no one else is capable of making.