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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 21, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Old and new sounds create beautiful blend of music

"Beauty Behind the Madness"

The Weeknd

Two years after the release of his debut studio album, Canadian rhythm-and-blues artist The Weeknd released his second full-length record Aug. 28, titled “Beauty Behind the Madness.”

Though the album still features the slow, emotional tunes The Weeknd is known for, it also introduces the artist’s capability to produce more fun, upbeat and high-tempo songs. Even with the transition in sound, “Beauty Behind the Madness” is a sonically cohesive, lyrically meaningful treat to listen to.

The track “Can’t Feel My Face,” one of the album’s four singles, is certainly a standout on the album, and not just because it is the only one not labeled with an explicit warning. It hit airwaves June 8 and was quickly touted as “the song of the summer,” going on to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming The Weeknd’s first No. 1 single. The high-energy tune is stuck-in-your-head, dance-to-the-beat catchy.

In the past, The Weeknd has most commonly produced much slower, somber tracks, making “Can’t Feel My Face” seem out of character. However, while most artists flop when they try to transition their sound, The Weeknd more than succeeds in doing so with this track and others on the record, such as “In The Night” and “Losers,” while still maintaining the sound he is known for with tracks like “The Hills,” “Tell Your Friends” and “Angel.”

Despite having tracks with contrasting sounds, “Beauty Behind the Madness” flows musically. Even the more upbeat tunes are still true to The Weeknd’s sound, using his style of instrumentals and musical production.

Another notable tune on the album is “Dark Times,” which features pop/folk artist Ed Sheeran. Though the duo seems to be an unlikely musical pairing, the track is one of the best on the record, as it features powerful lyrics and displays The Weeknd’s superb vocal talent.

“Beauty Behind the Madness” is impressive as an album. It is more than worth the listen, as it features powerful lyrics and diverse but unified sounds.