Soaked in self-loathing and hedonism, The Weeknd’s “Beauty Behind the Madness” is a bonafide, soul-shattering masterpiece masquerading as a Top 10 album aimed at teenagers. While the music itself is an exciting fusion of modern hip hop (with traces of classic rock and trip-hop) and soulful R&B (often not unlike Erykah Badu’s later works), the lyrics are often so uncomfortably honest and direct that it becomes impossible to casually enjoy the album, demanding a serious, focused and ultimately rewarding effort. Almost like a journal entry from a self-hating drug addict seeped in unsafe hedonism to soothe over long-unhealed wounds, the album’s title couldn’t be more appropriate, finding beauty in misery and smothering it with groovy, lush sounds that intentionally cover the very real pain that motivated them in the first place. It’s really unlike anything else and is worth checking out, even for the uninitiated.
Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)
You can watch the video for “Often” here: