The Edge’s Top 10 Albums of 2015: The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness

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Abel Tesfaye, who goes by the name The Weeknd, has been around since late 2010, however 2015 has been a real year of success for the R&B singer. Beauty Behind the Madness dropped on August 28th and became his first album to top the charts by selling 326,000 copies within its first week.

Since the untraceable disappearance of Frank Ocean, Beauty Behind the Madness fills the gap in the market for alternative R&B music. Although this album differs from his previous songs, Beauty Behind the Madness continues to delve into Tesfaye’s world which is intoxicated by drugs, sex, love and even homelessness.

Tesfaye’s songs are moody, melancholic, catchy and soulful. ‘Real Life’, the opening song in the album, is dramatic with electric, harsh staccato chords piercing throughout the track. ‘Real Life’ is not as commercial as his hit ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, however after a few listens it unveils Tesfaye’s world where even his “Mama called [him]destructive”, setting up the theme for the rest of the album.

In complete contrast with ‘Real Life’ is the power-ballad ‘Angel’; another one of the stand out tracks of the album. It is a controversial and ambiguous final track. The song moves away from some of the darkness plaguing the album. The uplifting track is centred around Tesfaye letting a woman go so that she can “find somebody” who is better for her.

With the success that Tesfaye has achieved in 2015, he is embarking on a world tour with Rihanna, Travis Scott and Big Sean in 2016. Unfortunately this is the only way to see The Weeknd perform live at the moment, so his fans will have to hold out a bit longer if they want to see Tesfaye headline solo.

After an eventful year for The Weeknd where he finally achieved breakthrough success, it would be fair to say that after listening to this album, Tesfaye has ‘Earned It’.

Beauty Behind The Madness was released on 28th August via Republic.

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I'm in my second year studying English Literature. I specialise in easy reads and you will probably find me in Hartley library engrossed in a picture book.

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