AOTY 2019

Beauty Behind the Madness

The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness
Critic Score
Based on 24 reviews
2015 Ratings: #447 / 772
Year End Rank: #43
User Score
Based on 675 ratings
2015 Ratings: #353
August 28, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
XO, Republic / Label
R&B / Genres
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theweeknd.com / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

90
HipHopDX

This isn’t an album as much as it is a burgeoning pop epic that’s likely to develop into something more ostentatious. Beauty Behind The Madness is The Weeknd’s superstar coming out party.

90
Exclaim!

Beauty Behind the Madness proves that the Weeknd can thrive in the mainstream, and while the lyrics aren't overtly profound, he's proven that he is more versatile than previously thought, which is perhaps of greater importance at this stage in his career.

85
The 405

As a cohesive album, Beauty Behind The Madness showcases artistic growth and sonic progression through danceable pop deliveries like 'In The Night' and grand acoustics like 'Shameless'.

80
Drowned in Sound

Part celebration, part declaration, part maturation; Tesfaye’s second studio album proper presents a man seemingly obsessed with the opposite sex and his role in such encounters.

75
Consequence of Sound

In between Beauty’s innumerable hooks, Tesfaye finds room to be a pop figure with something to say, even if what he’s saying is literally “when I’m fucked up, that’s the real me” or “I’d rather be complacent.”

75
A.V. Club

With Beauty Behind The Madness, The Weeknd successfully creates space for self-discovery outside of a drug coma, reconciling who he is and has always been with who his fans and critics believe he’s becoming.

75
Entertainment Weekly
While his talent is undeniable, once he fully harnesses it, he’ll really be dangerous.
72
Pitchfork

Beauty Behind the Madness sees Tesfaye hell-bent on stardom, shedding the fat from his disappointing major label debut, Kiss Land.

70
Complex
If there is any connective tissue bounding this album together it’s the idea that the Weeknd doesn’t have to fundamentally change who he is in order to became a superstar.
70
Spin

Beauty Behind the Madness is front-loaded with fresh directions for the Weeknd that achieve the impossible: make it sound like he’s actually enjoying himself.

70
FasterLouder
Despite needing a serious edit at 65 minutes, we’re on our way to exploring what The Weeknd as a sonic idea sounds like as a mainstream pop artist – and it’s got a world of promise.
70
NME

He may have softened his edge, upped the production and pulled in the stars, but The Weeknd remains an outsider.

70
Rolling Stone

If the sound has widened and even brightened in spots, the Weeknd still rocks a serious Eeyore vibe for much of Beauty Behind the Madness.

70
Sputnikmusic

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.

67
Pretty Much Amazing

Beauty Behind the Madness convinces me of three things. One: The Weeknd is still capable of making great music. Two: Abel Tesfaye has constructed a gorgeous suicide note. Three: I have zero interest in witnessing another young artist’s self-implosion. Beauty Behind the Madness is the best album I’ll never listen to again.

60
PopMatters

Despite such strong highlights dropped in the album’s middle section ... Beauty ends up having a strange beast of a failing: none of the guest spots really add to the album’s overall vibe.

60
AllMusic
The commercial strides are obvious. The creative advancements are less apparent, obstructed by some unappealing measures, but they're in there.
60
Clash

While 'Beauty Behind The Madness' has its moments, it feels like a collection of rushed songs designed to arrive while Tesfaye is riding a wave of good press - rather than a complete body of work.

60
NOW Magazine

His lifestyle addictions reach their nadir on the Lana Del Rey duet Prisoner. "I'm a prisoner to my addiction," he sings, blandly. The album is plagued by similarly banal lyrics about sex and drugs that make his playboy image feel all the more superficial.

50
The Line of Best Fit

Beauty Behind the Madness actually reveals itself to be quite a safe, risk-free transition for Abel. This is the same old monotonous Weeknd melancholy, only distilled through a huge pop filter.

50
The Needle Drop

The Weeknd's new album takes a lot of stylistic risks, experimenting with not just alternative R&B, but soul, rock, and pop. However, few of these forays into other genres pay off, and they leave the album feeling pretty inconsistent and directionless.

amygoodall
50
I have successfully found a place where I cannot buy into Abel's songwriting :o
MinatoArisato
25
Man, we fell a long way from the trilogy. This album just feels bland, stretched out and a massive step backwards for The Weeknd.

Best Track: The HIlls
Worst Track: Shameless
Leo_AV
90
Continuing with the albums that I liked most of the decade, now it is the turn of Beauty Behind the Madness. Many have not liked that The Weeknd has become mainstream, but for me it was the best, it is one of my favorite current male artists, much fought with Post Malone in recent months for that place. "Often", the first single, I absolutely did not like at all at that time, practically for me The Weeknd did not exist, was not on my radar, but after "Love Me Harder" with ... read more
TheDankestMeme
72
While Beauty Behind the Madness is not The Weeknd's best project, it still carries some of his most solid songs. The only problem is that they are mixed in with lots of filler and boring tracks.

BEST TRACKS: Tell Your Friends, Often, The Hills, Acquainted, Can't Feel My Face, Earned It

WORST TRACKS: Dark Times, Prisoner
AZIZ
70
Easily Abel's weakest project, good as a pop album but this album is mixed with a handful of very mid songs.
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MISC LISTS

#4/Exclaim (Soul/R&B)

Track List

  1. Real Life
  2. Losers [ft. Labrinth]
  3. Tell Your Friends
  4. Often
  5. The Hills
  6. Acquainted
  7. Can’t Feel My Face
  8. Shameless
  9. Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)
  10. In the Night
  11. As You Are
  12. Dark Times [ft. Ed Sheeran]
  13. Prisoner [ft. Lana Del Rey]
  14. Angel
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Added on: July 9, 2015