the-weeknd-beauty-behind-the-madness

Another week has flown by: I remember a week ago I was reviewing the new Disturbed album, Immortalized, and on Wednesday gave a listen to Jess Glynne´s debut album I cry when I laugh. You can see a trend here, don´t you?

I like listening to new music and express my thoughts on what I´ve just heard. Now is the turn for The Weeknd, or Abel Tesfaye, a Canadian singer, songwriter and record producer that caught the world´s attention after he posted several anonymous mixtapes on YouTube back in 2010.

I sat down to check out his latest album. Beauty behind the madness, mainly because I liked his single Can´t feel my face and his voice reminds me of one of my idols, Michael Jackson.

Keep in mind that this is the first album of The Weeknd I listen. Right after I clicked the “play” button on my computer, Real Life made me feel like I was listening to a Ne-Yo track – Abel has a similar voice (I think).

The lines “cause every woman I loved I seemed to push them away” and “that´s real life” seem to set the tone of the album, although (I hope) this can change. The track had a very powerful and theatrical sense and made me want to keep listening.

The name Labrinth appeared on the pop-up notification next to the track title Losers; the British rapper is set to release a new album in October, and I´m looking forward to reviewing it. Losers´piano intro somehow made me think of Take Care, the track by Drake and Rihanna.

The piano, clapping and upbeat chorus intertwine to make an excellent collaboration for Labrinth to join. And a set of trumpets closes the track in a very Labrinth Let it be style.

Tell your friends could be the most explicit piece of the record, with an overuse of the N-word, some drug references and the occasional F and B-bombs. I like rap, so I can´t say my ears started to bleed, although it was odd listening to this kind of language in slow and ballad-like song.

Often is a sexy – and explicit – slow rap. According to the lyric website Genius, the song features “a poem written by Turkish poet Sabahattin Ali, which Abel sampled in this song.” A line from the poem translated into English reads “Each day without you feels like years”; you can watch the Not Safe For Work (NSFW) official video for Often after the break.

Keeping in tune with the slow melody from Often, Hills brings in the story of an autodestructive relationship based on drugs and lies. Have a listen:

The song got me moving my head up and down. If I had to say one word of the album, half through, that would be slow. I don´t mean this in a bad way, but Acquainted reinforces that premise with another sexy slow-paced song (“You got me touching on your body,” reads a line.)

It was about time, Can´t feel my face started to play. Coincidentally enough, I find myself in the middle of the album, which gives the record a second – dance and clean– breather to make me keep listening.

We get back to the slowness I mentioned before. This time, Shameless introduces an acoustic guitar, the bridge “Who is gonna f*@k you like me” and the chorus “I don´t want to hurt you for you live for the pain”. Oh, and Abel assures the “fictional” girl from the lyrics that he “will always be there for you cause I have no shame.” The “Parental advisory, explicit content” logo on the cover rightly suits the album.

Beauty behind the madness couldn´t stay away from the Fifty Shades of Gray mania, and includes Earned It, a track that was featured on the movie´s soundtrack. The song has an official – and explicit – video!

Is it art or just sexism? I don´t know, but from what I gather the lyrics stay away from any sadomasochism connotations from the movie – unless you count the double-entendre contained in the title.

Moving on to In the night, this is a track that also reminded me of Michael Jackson, thanks to Abel´s loud “ji” and “ooh” screaming in the chorus. In As you are, Abel accepts the girl´s flaws, even though she breaks his heart – that´s why he wanted to express it with yet another slow song.

Almost at the end of the album, Abel offers two significant collaborations; one with Ed Sheran, in Dark Times, and the other with Lana Del Rey, in Prisoner.

Ed Sheran gives Dark Times a strong sentiment while Lana Del Rey makes a great and powerful duet with Abel. Lana Del Rey sounds different in the bridge, moving away from her previous melancholic work (by the outro Lana Del Rey releases that melancholy that she tried to contain.)

Abel, or The Weekend, wraps things up in the way he started the album: yet another slow track, Angel. “And if we´re in need, I hope you find somebody” sings Abel, just to close with “I hope you find somebody to love”.