Beauty Behind the Madness

The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness
Critic Score
Based on 25 reviews
2015 Ratings: #522 / 915
Year End Rank: #43
User Score
2015 Ratings: #244
Liked by 30 people
August 28, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
XO, Republic / Label
R&B / Genres / Website
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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.


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.

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'.

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.

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.”

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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.

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.


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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

So what if it’s too poppy? Abel can do it right…unlike someone I know…
Lmao. This dude just tryna sound like Michael Jackson.
I have successfully found a place where I cannot buy into Abel's songwriting :o
The Weeknd goes for full-on pop on "Beauty Behind the Madness" and he seems to pull it off with relative ease. Given his influences, this direction wasn't really a surprise. Even if I do miss his darker direction, he still came out with some genuine pop bangers on this one. "The Hills" and "Can't Feel My Face", the big singles, are both infectious and hit-ready with fantastic hooks! "Often" and "Tell Your Friends" (which was supposed to have a ... read more
This was the first project I ever heard from The Weeknd. While poppier that his previous albums, this album still keeps the dark themes and tones and takes some risks.

Fav Tracks: Real Life, Tell Your Friends, Often, The Hills, Can’t Feel My Face, Shameless, Earned It, In The Night, Prisoner

Least Fav Tracks: Dark Times
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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