With the opening sounds of a heavy guitar, violin and Abel Tesfaye’s smooth voice, greets listeners to The Weenknd’s third album “Beauty Behind the Madness.”
This time around, the artist is a little bolder in his delivery of sound and music choice, offering a more dynamic range and use of his vocals. Much of the album allows for listeners to hear his voice in a clearer way than his previous two.
Instead of his vocals being shadowed and beautifully laced with his signature echoed tone, his vocals are now in the forefront for much of the album’s 14 tracks.
Prior to its release, The Weekend teased a few songs getting his fans both riled up and eagerly anticipating his release with “Often,” “The Hills,” and “Can’t Feel My Face,” which debuted for the first time at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference becoming an instant hit.
Those who have been plugging into his music since the release of his 2012 compilation album “Trilogy,” already knew the similarities between The Weeknd and the late King of Pop’s vocals and sound.
However, Tesfaye really flexes that vocal strength in “Can’t Feel My Face.” The single kicks off with a synthetic sound as the artist admits knowing the woman would be the death of him while listing reasons rhythmically as to why this is, but as the song builds, so does his vocals before the track kicks off into an upbeat disco dance track.
It is clearly the most recognizable song on the album and one of the best, but it’s only the middle of the album.
One of the most notable tracks on the album is “Tell Your Friends,” it has a sultry piano reminiscent of the 70s. Here is where The Weeknd speaks to his listeners not only about his life prior to being famous, but how jaded people became with his fame.
Easily, the lyric that stood out in the song was “My cousin said I made it big and it’s unusual, she tried to take a selfie at my grandma’s funeral.”
The artist even mentioned casually that he was homeless at one point in the song and stole Jordan’s for cash.
“Acquainted,” is probably one of the sexier tracks on the album with its suggestive lyrics and double meaning behind the song’s title.
Though the track isn’t as salacious as some of his others, it’s still pretty good. It’s one of the more subtler beats featuring a slower tempo version of his lyrics with a piano backing them up.
“Dark Times,” upon a first listen is unlike anything fans have ever heard from The Weekend. The track features vocals from not only the artists, but also Ed Sheeran. Beginning with a soulful hum and blues-sounding guitar, Sheeran sings most of the song setting up the tone for the track, but halfway in, Tesfaye comes in to back-up Sheeran sharing command of the single.
This album definitely has something for everyone and makes for a stronger addition to The Weeknd’s musical line up.
Though the album has only been out for a week, I’ve already given it multiple listens.
It’s another strong entry for the artists and has a few songs that can really make an impact.
Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]