Breaking Down The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness

With his hypnotizing lyrics, about raunchy sex, love and intoxication, The Weeknd blurs the line between eerie, euphoric, tender and hella dirty on his sophomore album

the weeknd beauty nehind the madness
Beauty Behind the Madness (XO/Republic)

The Weeknd (a.k.a. Scarborough, Ont. native Abel Tesfaye) has once again flexed his talent for turning tragedy to triumph and weaving it into accessible pop music that’s still manages to be raw and authentic. His music melds genres, mixing hip-hop-tinged R&B with electronic progressions and grimy rock. Sonically, we aren’t the first to point out that his new album Beauty Behind the Madness undoubtedly channels the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, but it delves deep into the melancholy behind Tesfaye’s sexed up, drug-fuelled hedonism.

“Real Life”
Key Lyric: “I’ll be the same, never changed for nothin’.”
Tesfaye stays real despite the fame and fortune, refusing to change for anyone. Judging by his moody tracks we’re not sure how that’s working out for him, but Real Life serves as an undeniably strong opener packed with charging, electric instrumentals and funky melodic undertones.

“Tell Your Friends”
Key Lyric: “Driving by the streets I used to walk through, when I had no crib I guess you call that shit a miracle.”
Here is living proof that your past does not dictate your future. The jazzy minimal keys and percussion are a smooth backdrop for his money-chasing ways in this Kanye-produced track.

“Often”
Key Lyric: “She asked me if I do this every day, I said ‘Often’.”
Moral of the story: The Weeknd does the whole sex thing very frequently. And he’s good at it.

“The Hills”
Key Lyric: “I’m just tryna live life for the moment…Who are you to judge?”
A reflection on judgement, fame and substance-induced realness, The Weeknd just wants to live his life away from all the criticism—can you blame him? The seductively dark and aching meditation is its own type of melancholic twisted lullaby.

“Can’t Feel My Face”
Key Lyric: “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you.”
 What’s there to say? Look up earworm in the dictionary. Find this highly addictive pump-up jam. Dance.

“As You Are”
Key Lyric: “Show me your broken heart and all your scars…I’ll take you as you are.”
Because all your quirks and flaws might just might mean that you’re perfect for a love song-singing, p***y-loving dude like The Weeknd.

“Dark Times”
Key Lyric:
This ain’t the right time for you to fall in love with me.”
Guys, The Weeknd really wants you to know that he’s got lots more badass brooding left to do, so just hold off on falling in love with him for now, okay?  The addition of everyone’s collabo-BFF Ed Sheeran is everything we never knew we needed. Their voices blend together in gothic blues ballad that will leave you thinking, “But if I was his girl, he’d change, right?”

“Prisoner”
Key Lyric:
“Love will always be a lesson, let’s get out of its way.”
Looks like The Weeknd is ready to let love in and learn from the journey! Yet another brilliant duet, this time with Lana Del Rey. The king and queen of gloomy glamour and sad pop star life are truly a match made in heaven.

“Angel”
Key Lyric: “I know what I am and the life I live…I hope you find somebody to love.”
The Weeknd discovers selflessness, and rounds out the album with an epic orchestral effort. Ending on a hopeful note, the song climaxes with a glorious choir, as he pours his heart out in a truly grand finale.

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