The Weeknd's major label debut, Beauty Behind The Madness, has quickly become one of the most anticipated albums of the year after "Cant' Feel My Face" became a strong candidate for the song of the summer. The rest of the album is filled with bops and Abel Tesfaye's signature brand of dark, sexy pop. Here's everything you need to know about the new album.
There's a ton of sex...
With lyrics like Give me head all night, cum four times/Baby girl just wanna smoke a pound/Do an ounce, get some dick/Tell her friends about it, this album is kind of raw. Since House of Balloons, The Weeknd has never been afraid of getting intimate and he hasn't cut down on any of the details on his major label debut.
And a whole lot of sadness and messiness.
On BBTM, The Weeknd's signature mix of toxic love shines through. On "Acquainted," he sings about a "dangerous" love that he's thankful for and on "Shameless," he talks about a girl who just can't quit him. It's rough. He copes through heavy drinking on "Dark Times" and battles his demons in "Prisoner." All is not happy for Abel Tesfaye.
He talks about his mom.
Sex, drugs, and heartbreak are the three tenants of The Weeknd's oeuvre, but on this album we're treated to a quick glimpse into his family life. On the album's opener, "Real Life," he sings, Mama called me destructive, oh yeah/Said it'd ruin me one day, yeah/Cause every woman that loved me, oh yeah I seemed to push them away.
All the hits are there.
If you like "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills," The Weekend's two chart-topping summer hits, you're going to like this album. "Acquainted" is just as brooding as "The Hills," and "In the Night" has that Michael Jackson flair that you can't get away from. "Earned It" got a slight rework and feels super fresh. Expect a lot more singles and a lot more Weeknd in your life as he crosses America on his tour this year.
He worked with some big hitmakers.
The Weeknd definitely stepped out of his comfort zone in the studio for this project. Billboard regulars Max Martin, Mike Dean, and Savan Kotecha all appear in the liner notes and have helped him craft songs that slightly curve his sound for a mass audience.
There's a Kanye West-produced song.
"Tell Your Friends" was produced by Mr. West and his influence on the track is incredibly strong. The song samples "Can't Stop Loving You" by Soul Dog and features a Yeezus-esque breakdown. The Soul Dog sample has been used several times before, most notably on Common's "Hungry," which was produced by No I.D.
There's also a sample from Turkey.
That snaking high-pitched voice in the background of "Often" is actually taken from Nükhet Duru's "Ben Sana Vurgunum." Duru is a legend in Turkey, and has had a strong career in music and film since the 70s and 80s.
There are some guests that you know...
Lana Del Rey appears on "Prisoner" and is the quintessential version of herself, entering the song by singing Lyric lyric/ Next lyric line. The album also features an assist by Ed Sheeran who trades off verses on "Dark Times" with The Weeknd about fighting guys and waking up covered in blood.
And some you might not be familiar with.
British singer Labrinth lends a verse to early cut "Losers" and Maty Noyes adds uncredited vocals to the ambitious rock ballad "Angel," which finishes off the album. Noyes is signed to Lava/Republic, the same label as The Weeknd, but Labrinth is on RCA.