The Weeknd
Beauty Behind the Madness


3.5
great

Review

by Jordan M. STAFF
August 29th, 2015 | 298 replies


Release Date: 08/28/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You could call it a sell-out but you'd only be cheating yourself out of one of the smartest pop records of the year

When analyzing Drake's monumentally narcissistic 2013 effort Nothing Was the Same, Adam Thomas deferred much of his criticisms in favour of blankly enjoying the walking contradiction Drake had so shamelessly become. It was a more than reasonable conclusion to come to- the contradiction most black artists rely on nowadays has become a tiring, solipsistic game for critics- and it speaks to a suspension of overly critical analysis that we should sometimes encourage. An extension of Drake's vile and misogynistic tendencies, co-signed Abel Tesfaye took much of this to its absolute limit, resolutely finding himself an audience difficult to please in lieu of The Trilogy, a series of albums that stand among the decade's finest.

The problem that occurred in the immediate furor of those mixtapes was whether or not to confound or comply to commercial desires, resulting in Kiss Land, an overly long attempt to continue the lecherous, hook-averse formula perfected on Echoes of Silence. Suddenly, The Weeknd appeared a tired and stale concept in comparison to his counterparts, unable to adapt to the mainstream or satisfy the underground. In retrospect, it's likely the reason why designed-for-Top 40 hit "Can't Feel My Face" is such a breath of fresh air. It doesn't attempt to wallow in The Weeknd's usual fare of the sleazy predator, opting instead for sharp and on-point hooks; when he does devolve into the lothario, such as on Kanye West assisted "Tell Your Friends", he drags scummy words through the tune of a sparse soul standard ('I'm that nigger with the hair/Singing 'bout popping pills, fucking bitches, living life so trill'). Any obvious attempts to pander to his audience- the cynical admission of, 'When I'm fucked up, that's the real me' on "The Hills", "Often"'s close associations to Illangelo's production techniques- still provide greater thrills than the homogenous nature of Kiss Land's lesser material. No doubt the presence of Cali the Producer, whose engineering fingerprints are all over the best moments of Carly Rae Jepsen's E•MO•TION, has helped move The Weeknd away from weak attempts at mimicking the Trilogy and firmly into the chart success he's capable of achieving.

That being the case, it's understandable why many will turn their back on The Weeknd and his abandonment of his perverted underground persona. Obviously, Tesfaye hasn't topped The Trilogy- Ed Sheeran's boozy turn on "Dark Times" simply doesn't measure up to the devastating coda Drake delivers on "The Zone"- but then it's unlikely himself or his PBR&B counterparts ever will. You could call it a sell-out but you'd only be cheating yourself out of one of the smartest pop records of the year; considering the caliber of pop music charting thus far, that's no mean feat.



Recent reviews by this author
Sheck Wes MudboyTravis Scott Astroworld
Denzel Curry TA13OOPusha T DAYTONA
Post Malone beerbongs and bentleysJ. Cole K.O.D.
user ratings (519)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
theBoneyKing
August 29th 2015


16328 Comments


Excellent review! Imaginary pos.

Album's not my thing though so probably won't check.

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2015


12093 Comments


nice dude

Digging: Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising

Gyromania
August 29th 2015


26859 Comments


this is one of your best reviews man.

going to give it a full listen

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
August 29th 2015


6686 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

agreed. definitely finding the right balance in your writing

anarchistfish
August 29th 2015


27149 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

"An extension of Drake's vile and misogynistic tendencies"



really? dude's like white knight xl



it's well written but i totally disagree with your review

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
August 29th 2015


25121 Comments


I love House of Balloons and enjoy Thursday and Echoes of Silence to varying extents, but I really can't stand any of his post- Trilogy output as much as I really want to like it. It all feels so disingenuous.

Digging: Remete (AUS) - Into Endless Night

Tunaboy45
August 29th 2015


16734 Comments


Excellent review, haven't heard much of his stuff but Can't Feel My Face is a fun track.

Digging: PUP - Morbid Stuff

trackbytrackreviews
August 29th 2015


3383 Comments


This is so meh

Pangea
August 29th 2015


2960 Comments


good review

Digging: The Tallest Man on Earth - I Love You. It's a Fever Dream.

beachdude
August 29th 2015


846 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review... didn't know Cali the Producer was involved in this.

BP98
August 30th 2015


2 Comments


"I can't feel my face when I'm with you, but I love it, but I love it, oo-ooh!"

DropdeadWHA
August 30th 2015


1396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't agree with what you said about Drake but nice review. Glad other people are digging this...

TheStoebZ
August 31st 2015


85 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm digging this dude lately. Not even close to my style of music but love his work.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2015


32190 Comments


You know it!

MrMatt767
August 31st 2015


558 Comments


cool review dudey

RadicalEd
August 31st 2015


9510 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

great review. album is the continuation of his downward spiral though.

Digging: Fennesz - Agora

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2015


31519 Comments


finding the new soilwork far more interesting right now

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 31st 2015


4473 Comments


that is either quintessential acad or completely antithetical to standard acad and I can't tell which

yeah as others have said solid review. can't feel my face is a jam and a half and i'll want to check this sometime soon

LotusFlower
August 31st 2015


12001 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I really wanted to like this, but way too many tracks on here are just so boring.

TenSecondsToThink
August 31st 2015


1789 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's a growa fo sho, i felt like never listening to it a second time but u know i did it anyways



the hills, can't feel my face and in the night are among his best tracks imo



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy