The Weeknd’s new album ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’ was greatly anticipated and now, the critics are weighing in. They are giving this new release from the Canadian R&B music artist mostly reviews as they acknowledge a unique and undiluted vision. Check out a roundup of what’s being said.
Yes, the reviews are in, and they confirm — the sudden uptick in the 25-year-old Canadian R&B singer’s success and significance in our pop music landscape. After the success of the singles from the album — “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Often” “Earned It” and “The Hills” — now the album has arrived in full and critics are raving.
Yes, and that’s an understatement. In fact, what’s also notable is just how many critics are raving. The album has been widely reviewed — and again, that’s an understatement — nearly every major publication including such legacy media outlets including The New York Times and GQ are weighing in.
The artist whose real name is Abel Tesfaye is now a major star and what’s notable is that he has remained true to an artistic vision we first saw when he was a rising cult favorite with a series of mixtapes — House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence — that he released a few years ago. And now, with this album, he’s gone from cult fave to the darling of critics. Even those who give The Weeknd less than reviews don’t deny his artistry but rather, in most cases, take issue with the subject matter which more than earns the album’s parental advisory.
His songs have become hits on the radio, something he never accomplished with his 2013 release, ‘Kiss Land.’ We can imagine Grammy Awards will soon line his shelf.
Here’s a roundup of what the critics are saying.
“….The music has moved from the shadowy haze of trip-hop to an emphatic, monumental clarity–high-end pop craftsmanship. The production still conjures huge spaces, but now they are brightly illuminated, with each sound in crisp focus…..” — New York Times
“….This time, Tesfaye brings more beauty to his madness. He elaborates the tunes, magnifies the arrangements, speeds the pace in places and even hires writers as pop-friendly as Max Martin. At the same time, Tesfaye holds true to his character — a man both sexually ravenous and guilt-ridden…..” — New York Daily News
“….The lecherous lyrics that built his core are still here, but the beats are larger, more capacious, and more lush….. [“Tell Your Friends”] shows a growth in the Weeknd’s songwriting that unfortunately isn’t more prevalent throughout the album….” — Complex
“….Without fail, the best Beauty Behind the Madness moments come when his producers try to break through the gloom. “Losers” is literally about being too cool for school, but what’s actually transgressive is how it periodically erupts with bright piano and horns (Martin isn’t credited on the track, but I hear an echo of “Baby One More Time”)…..” — The Atlantic
“….Beauty Behind the Madness is relentlessly dark—especially for a major-label album with pop-chart pretensions and a duet with Ed Sheeran. Tesfaye has always loved to present himself as some kind of perversely anhedonic sybarite, endlessly chasing highs that only leave him feeling ever emptier. Apparently success has only allowed him to follow his compulsions to further extremes…..” — GQ
“….Beauty Behind the Madness convinces me of three things. One: The Weeknd is still capable of making great music. Two: Abel Tesfaye has constructed a gorgeous suicide note. Three: I have zero interest in witnessing another young artist’s self-implosion. Beauty Behind the Madness is the best album I’ll never listen to again……” — Pretty Much Amazing
“….Spoiler alert: There is nothing as good as “Can’t Feel My Face” on Beauty Behind the Madness, but there are a few other truly great songs, many of which acknowledge how far he’s come in spite — or perhaps because — of his unapologetic #badboy status…..”SPIN
Yes, it is a musical journey, from those 2011 mixtapes to the album we now have that has drawn so much attention from the critics. What’s next for the new music superstar is the only question. As an artist true to his undiluted vision and yet finding commercial success he’s an inspiration. Watch the official music video of ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ and ‘Tell Your Friends’ from The Weeknd’s triumphant new album ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’ below!
Pictures: PR Photos