Beauty Behind the Madness

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Beauty Behind the Madness
The cover features face of The Weeknd in his iconic dredlocks hairstyle. It appars like the cover has been torn and those torn pieces are placed again.
Studio album by The Weeknd
Released August 28, 2015
Recorded October 2013 – July 2015
Studio
  • Maison de Musique, Santa Monica, CA
  • Conway, Los Angeles, CA
  • The Lab
  • Daheala & Co.
  • No Name, California
  • Bota, Toronto, ON
  • Abel's Crib, Toronto, ON
  • Jungle City, New York, NY
  • MXM, Los Angeles, CA
  • Wolf Cousins Studio, Stockholm, SE
Genre
Length 65:06
Label
Producer
The Weeknd chronology
Kiss Land
(2013)
Beauty Behind the Madness
(2015)
Starboy
(2016)
Singles from Beauty Behind the Madness
  1. "Often"
    Released: July 31, 2014
  2. "The Hills"
    Released: May 27, 2015
  3. "Can't Feel My Face"
    Released: June 8, 2015
  4. "In the Night"
    Released: November 17, 2015
  5. "Acquainted"
    Released: November 17, 2015

Beauty Behind the Madness is the second studio album by Canadian singer The Weeknd. It was released on August 28, 2015, by XO and Republic Records. The album features guest appearances from Labrinth, Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey, with production handled by The Weeknd himself, Stephan Moccio, DaHeala, Illangelo, Ben Billions, DannyBoyStyles, Max Martin and Ali Payami, among others.

The album was supported by five singles: "Often", "The Hills", "Can't Feel My Face", "In the Night" and "Acquainted". "The Hills" and "Can't Feel My Face" both reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100. Beauty Behind the Madness also includes the Academy Award-nominated song "Earned It", which was released as a single from the soundtrack to Fifty Shades of Grey.

Beauty Behind the Madness received generally positive reviews from critics, debuting at number one in several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, and in its first week recorded sales of 412,000 units in addition to streaming. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, it became the tenth best-selling album of 2015, with 1.5 million copies sold worldwide. To date, the album has sold over two million units in the United States.[4]

Background[edit]

In 2013, in an interview with MTV, following the release of his debut album, The Weeknd spoke of his compilation album Trilogy, as the first chapter of his life and [Kiss Land] as the second chapter. He described his first two releases, saying:

Following the release of his debut album Kiss Land, The Weeknd began appearing in numerous soundtracks; including the soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, contributing "Devil May Cry" and featuring on "Elastic Heart" by Sia, released as the second single from the soundtrack,[6][7] and the song "Love Me Harder" was released as a duet between The Weeknd and Ariana Grande, and became a commercial success.[8]

On June 26, 2014, The Weeknd announced that he would be headlining the King of the Fall tour, essentially a mini-tour across America in September and October 2014. Schoolboy Q and Jhené Aiko were confirmed as support acts.[9] The announcement came on the day after The Weeknd released his new song "Often" on SoundCloud, leading to speculation the tour will unveil more new material from him.[10] On December 23, 2014, "Earned It" was released as a single from the soundtrack of the film Fifty Shades of Grey (2015). The song peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100.[11]

On July 5, 2015, Ed Sheeran revealed on Beats 1 that he had worked with The Weeknd on his forthcoming album. Sheeran also said that Kanye West would feature in this collaboration on the album.[12] On July 9, 2015, The Weeknd announced that his second studio album would be titled Beauty Behind the Madness and shared the album artwork on Twitter.[13]

Singles[edit]

The first single, "Often", was released on July 31, 2014.[14] The song peaked at number 59 on the US Billboard Hot 100,[11] it also peaked at number 69 on the Canadian Hot 100.[15]

The album's second single, "The Hills", was released on May 27, 2015.[16] The song peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.[11]

The album's lead single, "Can't Feel My Face", was released on June 8, 2015, following the performance of the song by The Weeknd at Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on the same day.[17] The song peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.[11]

"In the Night" was released to contemporary hit radio on November 17, 2015, as the album's fourth single in the United States.[18] The song peaked at number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[11]

"Acquainted" was released to urban contemporary radio on November 17, 2015, as the album's fifth and final single in the United States.[19] It was also released to rhythmic contemporary on February 16, 2016.[20] The song peaked at number 60 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[11]

Release[edit]

On July 4, 2015, The Weeknd headlined FVDED in the Park in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. On July 9, The Weeknd continued to promote the album by headlining summer music festivals, including Lollapalooza in Chicago, the Hard Summer Music Festival in Pomona, California, the Summer Set Music and Camping Festival in Somerset, Wisconsin, Philadelphia's Made in America Festival, Austin City Limits in Austin, and Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival.[21]

This followed the leak of three songs from the album in May 2015: "In the Night", "Can't Feel My Face", and a working version of "Acquainted" referred to as "Girls Born in the 90s" that was heavily reworked before release.[22]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?6.9/10[23]
Metacritic74/100[24]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[3]
The A.V. ClubB[25]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[26]
The Daily Telegraph3/5 stars[27]
Entertainment WeeklyB[28]
NME7/10[29]
The Observer3/5 stars[30]
Pitchfork7.2/10[31]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[32]
Spin7/10[33]

Beauty Behind the Madness received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 74, based on 26 reviews.[24] Sheldon Pearce of The A.V. Club said, "It expertly and carefully closes the gap between The Weeknd's perception and his reality."[25] Greg Kot of Chicago Tribune said, "He's aiming for harder truths, creating pop that also works as a commentary on choice and consequence."[26] Mackenzie Herd of Exclaim! said, "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."[34] Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly said, "Anyone looking for a collection of homages to the King of Pop will be disappointed. Those masterpieces ["Can't Feel My Face" and "In The Night"] are outliers, and they end up making Madness' missteps all the more jarring.... In the middle of those two poles lies a series of bass-heavy throb-and-moan blasts with the signature oddness (shape-shifting melodies, twitchy percussion) that makes the Weeknd a compelling artist."[28] April Clare Welsh of NME said, "He may have softened his edge, upped the production and pulled in the stars, but The Weeknd remains an outsider."[29] Andrew Ryce of Pitchfork said, "In the end, enjoying the Weeknd requires a certain suspension of disbelief, and that remains true on Beauty Behind the Madness. You really have to buy into his bad-guy persona.... For newcomers, there's a whole world to explore, and on Beauty Behind the Madness it's richer and smarter than ever."[31]

Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone said, "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."[32] Harley Brown of Spin said, "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."[33] Andy Kellman of AllMusic said, "The commercial strides are obvious. The creative advancements are less apparent, obstructed by some unappealing measures, but they're in there."[3] Helen Brown of The Daily Telegraph said, ""Real Life" builds up to a pitch of doomed drama from a corrosive slash of guitar as Tesfaye confides that even his "Mama called me destructive". But Ed Sheeran fails to rescue him on the tedious "Dark Times" and Lana Del Rey—who ought to be his perfect partner in pop-noir—adds nothing but a bored spritz of vocal perfume to the lethargic "Prisoner"."[27] Andy Gill of The Independent said, "Beauty Behind the Madness leaves one feeling just as estranged from Abel Tesfaye's depraved character as previous releases boasting less adhesive tunes."[35] Kitty Empire of The Observer said, "The Weeknd's most conventional songs thus far are Sheeran's boringly retro "Dark Times", and "Shameless", a guitar ballad unredeemable even by its deranged guitar solo. Elsewhere, the step up is more convincing, if not always easy to listen to."[30]

Accolades[edit]

Year-end lists
Publication Rank Ref.
Billboard
18
Complex
23
Mojo
45
NME
19
Pitchfork
43
Rolling Stone
5
Awards
Year Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2015 American Music Awards Favorite Soul/R&B Album Won [42]
2016 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Album Nominated [43]
Best Urban Contemporary Album 58th Grammy Awards Won [44]
Album of the Year Nominated

Commercial performance[edit]

On August 31, 2015, Billboard estimated that Beauty Behind the Madness would sell approximately 300,000 copies during the first week of its release in the United States.[45] The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 412,000 album-equivalent units; it sold 326,000 copies in its first week, with the remainder of its unit total reflecting its streaming activity and track sales. Its number-one debut gave The Weeknd his first number-one album.[46] It remained atop the chart for the next two weeks and was the first album to spend three weeks at number one consecutively since Taylor Swift's 1989.[47][48] The album also remained in the top 10 on the US Billboard 200 for a total of 21 consecutive weeks.[49] According to International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, Beauty Behind the Madness was the tenth best-selling album of 2015 worldwide.[50] As of August 2017, the album has earned 3.7 million equivalent album units in the United States, of which 1.23 million are in traditional album sales. The set has also generated 2.05 billion on-demand audio streams for its songs.[51]

Track listing[edit]

Credits were adapted from the album's liner notes.[52]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Real Life"3:43
2."Losers" (featuring Labrinth)
4:41
3."Tell Your Friends"
5:34
4."Often"
  • Ben Billions
  • The Weeknd
  • DaHeala[a]
4:09
5."The Hills"
  • Tesfaye
  • Balshe
  • Emmanuel Nickerson
  • Montagnese
  • Mano
  • Illangelo
4:02
6."Acquainted"
  • Tesfaye
  • Quenneville
  • Schofield
  • Montagnese
  • Diehl
5:48
7."Can't Feel My Face"
  • Martin
  • Payami
3:33
8."Shameless"
  • Tesfaye
  • Svensson
  • Kotecha
  • Payami
  • Balshe
  • Martin
  • Payami
  • Svensson
  • The Weeknd[a]
4:13
9."Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)"
  • Tesfaye
  • Moccio
  • Quenneville
  • Balshe
  • Moccio
  • DaHeala
4:37
10."In the Night"
  • Tesfaye
  • Balshe
  • Payami
  • Kotecha
  • Svensson
  • Martin
  • Martin
  • Payami
  • The Weeknd[a]
3:55
11."As You Are"
  • Tesfaye
  • Balshe
  • Schofield
  • Quenneville
  • Montagnese
  • DaHeala
  • Illangelo
  • DannyBoyStyles
  • Ben Billions
  • The Weeknd
5:40
12."Dark Times" (featuring Ed Sheeran)
  • Tesfaye
  • Quenneville
  • Sheeran
Illangelo4:20
13."Prisoner" (featuring Lana Del Rey)
  • Tesfaye
  • Del Rey
  • Montagnese
  • Illangelo
  • The Weeknd[a]
4:34
14."Angel"
  • Tesfaye
  • Moccio
  • Schofield
  • Diehl
  • Moccio
  • The Weeknd
6:17
Total length:65:06

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[c] signifies a remixer
  • "Real Life" features background vocals by Stephan Moccio
  • "Tell Your Friends" features backup vocals by Kanye West
  • "Angel" features guest artist vocals by Maty Noyes and background vocals by Stephan Moccio

Sample credits

  • "Tell Your Friends" contains a sample of "Can't Stop Loving You", written by Carl Marshall and Robert Holmes, and performed by Soul Dog.
  • "Often" contains a sample of "Ben Gene Sana Mecburum", performed by Nükhet Duru.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[113] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[114] Gold 7,500*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[115] Gold 20,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[116] 4× Platinum 320,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[117] 2× Platinum 40,000^
Mexico (AMPROFON)[118] Gold 30,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[119] Gold 15,000*
Poland (ZPAV)[120] Platinum 20,000*
Sweden (GLF)[121] Platinum 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[122] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[123] 3× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
United States August 28, 2015 [124]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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