The Weeknd

23 albums, 157 tracks

Born in Feb 16, 1990

R&B

Narratives

"The Weeknd"

Jun 14, 2019

The Weeknd hits the fourth punch after the trilogy

OlajideTV
Written by @OlajideTV from Olajide TV  / 6 mins read
#KissLand#TheWeeknd#ContemporaryRandB#RandB

Kiss Land marks Abel Makkonen Tesfaye's first major label debut, following three mixtapes packaged as Trilogy released by Republic that contained some of the most influential and gripping R&B of the new decade. Though the pace is slower, songwriting thinner and vision more bloodshot, the debut allows listeners to refamiliarize themselves with The Weeknd's aesthetic, which was striking and singular, to begin with. The Canadian soul stirrer provides an eclectic soundtrack for the bedroom as well as a glimpse at how he may be coping with the exposure he's received since his major label debut/mixtape compilation, Trilogy has captured the public eye. Though he sings about what comes with the good life -- girls, money, and fame -- but He digs deeper and finds a stark, cutting frankness about popularity and its disadvantages; he sets his lyrics to soundscapes that evoke this world of loveless sexual exploits, rough comedowns, and existential dissatisfaction. Musically, The Weeknd is still on his grind with Kiss Land, and he says it is like a horror movie.

Foundation only to be laid by Abel Makkonen AKA The Weeknd

He opens the album with a rather blunt and sinister track "Professional" and gets straight to the point. It gives you an insight as to what you're in store for with Kiss Land. Though not far from his last mixtape, he added some flair to make it sensational: "So, you're somebody now, but what's a somebody in a nobody town?" Abel asks, assuring that he won't be getting so sentimental with his subjects. The track slide between changing R&B backdrops and textures, gaining momentum, and ending with some crisp strings. One track in, it looks like The Weeknd has already produced a powerful mini-album, and with an excellent introduction, the record rapidly progresses into darkness. "The Town" is a legitimate follow-up to "Professional”, a dusky, midtempo musing from Tesfaye that reinvents itself many times over its five-minute runtime. On this track, he's not playing the bad guy. He reflects on a woman of his past whom he took for granted. He didn't want to continue with their reckless lifestyle. "You made me feel so good before I left on the road," he sings to a lost lover, whose absence leaves him tormented. This is a tantalizing track of which I'm sure female fans will enjoy. They'll close their eyes and imagine that he's uttered the words "You did many things that I liked. You deserve your name on a crown" to them. The intro and outro mixed with the chime filled verses mid-track give a song with a subtle flowing variation.

The build-up

With "Adaptation," The Weeknd sets out to see what he can do with his voice. Also, his despairing, pain-filled voice brings the listener in on how tour life has made him sacrifice genuinely loving a woman; The deep background vocals haunt the listener and remind The Weeknd of the life he gave up to pursue fame. Talking of The Weeknd's usual tropes, "Love in The Sky" is the album's most erotic slow jam, accompanied by heavy drums. The sound effects of rain and lightning set a very dark and intimidating environment that is softened by his vocals making it a catchy track that is easier on the listeners' ears and one which has the simplicity similar to those from his previous record. This track particularly stands out to me! It shows a new found sexual desperation in which Abel talks to the woman in the last verse rather than describing the erotic encounters we are used to hearing him repeat. Where Trilogy showcased a man on his way to fame, the follow-up serves as the outcome of that same man getting exactly what he wants. Abel Tesfaye sings while keeping his honesty intact over a seductive beat.

The gold digger

Clearly, the first four songs of Kiss Land were building up to this moment. "Belong to the World" is the big, up-tempo, manifesting around a skittering industrial beat. Talking of a gold digger in a somewhat different way to Kanye West, this track is one for those who enjoy belting out sing along and enjoy the full strength that The Weeknd's voice can offer his listeners. Foul play or not, this song affirms that The Weeknd has made meaningful improvement from his mixtape, Trilogy; it's more muscular and direct, precisely what you'd hope for on a major label debut. "This the shit that I live for. With the people, I die for. This is shit you can't get a fake dog. This is shit you need God for." Drizzly rhymes as Tesfaye sings in a line of true crew love that's echoed by Drake in his guest spot, it's the perfect moment for a word from the man who first introduced The Weeknd to the music world; the track inhabits a smoky nether-region between rap and R&B, which fits Drake's persona completely. The Weeknd he speaks of his annoyance of how people are advising him on how to live but how those in the xo team are just living a young and prosperous life. He seems to be OK as he drowns his issues in sexual escapades with strippers and groupies, the singer outlines the upswing of being who he is.

Message for the girls and The Weeknd

"Wanderlust" is the seventh Kiss Land track; it sounds more commercial than anything else on Kiss Land. The track grooves along at a pop/rock pace and proves that you can dance to a Weeknd track after all. Though almost mocking girls who dream big about love, these are the same girls who no doubt will be dancing to this record at house parties. He's a singer who often evokes late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, but here, he imitates MJ's craft in more than vocal riffs. The album's title track was the first release from the collection and happened to be the longest. The album starts to devolve back from access to the haze of sprawling, contorting epics that it opened with. It comes at the listener in two dimensions with a series of screams and dark sounds which reflects Abel's intent to create a horror story, recreating that ‘under the influence' feeling that his kinds of music often evoke. The last track "Tears in the Rain," reveals the emotions girls have for him due to the many hearts he has broken through a drug and alcohol-fuelled life, leading to females either using him or hating him. He doesn't know what the good things about himself and his personality are anymore. It's as if he's been living in the horror story that is Kiss Land and now he's ready to reveal his fears and more of himself to his fans. Though many questions remain unanswered, this track is a perfect way to ease listeners out of Kiss Land.

Jun 07, 2019

The First Encounter

OBP
Written by @OBP from Omobaba Pension  / 6 mins read
#TheWeeknd#AlternativeRnB#BeautyBehindTheMadness#RnB#SynthPop

The first time I came across The Weekend’s album was in 2017, but I was well aware of his existence in 2015 with his hit singles “The Hills” and “Earned It” and really loved both of them. I was a single being then and guess I was a bit lonely at that point so I could at least relate with the lyrics from the song; a little bit of playboy back then, so the songs helped in my efforts to increase the game. “The Hills” was a turning point in sound revolution; prior to the song, the sounds that interested people then came from the likes of Miguel and Frank Ocean, this new type of sound said both of them back to the backseat while we enjoyed his soulful voice, deep lyrics alongside enjoyable composition and the way he flipped the beat was very interesting as it was rare in the R&B genre. The Weeknd did the beat flip easily, like he was born to do it, and it reminded me of Timbaland and Justin Timberlake doing an entire album with beat flips, FutureSex / LoveSounds. The songs were not strong enough to sway me into finding out more about him, he was just an artiste that was good, but I didn’t believe he was worth my attention; One Hit or One Album wonder I thought. It was on a wet day in 2017, when a course mate of mine came visiting to use my iTunes to transfer some songs from my library and his (music were on his flash drive). He asked if I had The Weeknd, and I replied with sure. Showed him my The Weeknd catalogue, which included “The Hills”, “Earned It”, and “The Hills Remix (feat. Eminem)”. He looked up at me with my eyes glassy with pride, it was then I saw the disappointment on his face as he shook his head and said “You are miss out on a lot fam. Let me catch you up to speed with his album.” He then proceeded to gift me The Weekend’s Beauty Behind The Madness and the rest is history. It has garnered a combined playtime of 1005 from then till date, what an album.

Welcome To Class. I’ll Be Your Lecture for the Semester

“Losers” is one of my favourite songs on the album because it touches a continuous debate about equating education with success. Only this time, The Weeknd was on the side of those who don’t believe in that school of thought that Education equates to school. He flips the beat and goes ok, “we didn’t get the education, at least not from a qualified tutor, now we’re here, we’ve lived our life on our means, we’ve taught ourselves how to do things, so who do we owe it to?” Obviously has to be to himself and his team, as he was a high school drop out at 17 and only got his break after 3 years, after also convincing his producer to also drop out with him so they could pursue the dream together. This little research I did on him also put a quote from an interview across my phone screen about him only being happy when he was high. This was more of a contemporary song and the lyrics were more conversational rather than telling a story or proving a point, which was quite impressive as regards that that concept was kind of rare and only quite a few gifted songwriters can come up with such content. Labrinth added life to the song with his sound, which I suspect was entire produced by him, he is currently revered as a Contemporary sound genius to which I concur. The song practically made me look towards the rest of the album and what it had to offer; to the very last track.

The Miss Understood Message

“The Hills” has to be every junks favourite The Weeknd’s song as it brings out self-reflection about self-destructive habit; drug usage. The Weeknd has not been shy to confirm is use of drugs in interviews, his music, lyrics and album titles as well. Although this song may seem like a double entendre; being in love, or could be being on drugs. It was the music video I watched before I got to have the audio, it was only until I got the audio I got to listen to the lyrics properly. Before then, all I knew was “When I’m fucked up that’s the real me, When I’m fucked up that’s the real me”, which to me seemed like a drug use song. It was later I realized it was a love song which wasn’t really about love, rather it was one of a man look for sex without baggage; friends with benefit kind of guy, seeking to maintain the status of that relationship, rather than take it up the next level. The beat and composition of the song had the feel of “All the time in the world” to make the song. Although the song had little content, it was able to pass enough messages for you to know what he was all about on the song, for one who pays attention to the verses, which was delivered in a sluggish under the breath kind of tone. Thus, most people still think the song is all about drug usage.

Yet Another Song Lacking Lyrics

The beginning to “Acquainted” was what got stuck on it, not forgetting the energy in his first line “BABY YOU’RE NO GOOD” got me like, ok, who hurt this young man. The Weeknd didn’t really pen a lot in this song, 4 or 5 lines for verse one and then a pre-chorus, another four of five lines, which to me is just lazy writing. He could have easily done more or made the song a bit more interesting if he had added more lines to his verses to complete the story or picture, he was trying to paint about the lady that wasn’t healthy for him. He just has a way of dragging lyrics for entire 3 minutes; I guess everyone has what works for them at one point or another. The album is quite good, and the sound was much better because it won the Grammys’ Best Urban Contemporary Album award at the 58th Grammy Awards and was nominated for the Album of the Year award in the same year. It was successfully commercial also as it sold 326,000 copies in the first week and maintain the number one position for 3 weeks in a row, since Taylor Swift’s 1989 held that record.

There will always be beauty behind the madness

Salvador Dali, Vincent van Gogh, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Prince and many, many more in the history of art have had a certain degree of madness. Well, what society understands as madness, because they are not prepared to understand how it is that so many beautiful works of art are generated. They are capable of marveling and admiring everything created by these great artists, but they cannot understand why those men and women touched by something divine behave differently than established by the ties of society. However, for many artists that is the state of the soul in which creativity, inspiration, beauty, high consciousness and what many know as augmented reality that is so fashionable in film works and that offer us a different perspective of what we do every day and that we are not aware of all that is hidden behind those acts. Why do I mention augmented reality in this? Because I think that in the minds of many artists this already existed from time immemorial, but only until today and with the help of all the amazing technological advances, some directors and creatives have been able to show it in video and sound, which is shocking, that's why I add it among all the altered senses that musicians, painters, poets, dancers, writers, directors, even some scientists and all those who have artistic expressions in their work and everyday life have. Art is the word that encloses all the above, having that gift is what generates that supposed madness of some in the eyes of a society that, while appreciating what they do, does not understand and sometimes turns against them. The insanity that has sometimes been a source of mockery and contempt, of persecution and violence, of incomprehension and intolerance. But one thing I'm sure: the world would be much better if we were all a little crazy like all those who have given us masterpieces that will remain for eternity unless those who claim not to be crazy destroy them with their ignorance. It is a primary need of the artist to make those who see and hear understand that behind all that seems strange or different a magical vision of things and an imagination that sometimes leads them to anticipate the time they are living. But, above all, the artist strives to bring people a picture of the moment that the people of his time are going through to create awareness, to point out what in their eyes is wrong, to help them be happy, to share sadness, anguish, to make life more beautiful, to teach how to express oneself to those who are curious or suspect that they also inhabit that madman, but do not know how to let it out. If we call this madness, welcome be Beauty Behind the Madness by The Weeknd.

Written by JorgeDiaz from Electro Arpegio / Jun 07, 2019

The Mood At A Photo Shoot

Formative memories for me were helping out at photo shoots, sometimes paid, but mostly for the love or to connect with artists starting out in fashion or music. The Weeknd’s music is usually a great mood setter, because what lots of people don’t know is that activities like these need some spirit, theme, vibe, backing soundtrack - the alternative is deathly silence, boredom and lots of awkwardness (in nine out of ten cases, everyone is meeting each other for the first time, until you start making real connections). So many of the models will have no experience, and after the makeup, the touch ups, the waiting, morale can evaporate unless you have some common ground musically. Beauty Behind the Madness, I have always felt, fills the void with something atmospheric and cinematic, something that can provoke new ideas in the moment, yet without calling too much attention to itself and interrupting everyone’s thought process.

Written by IrisOsiris / May 08, 2019

Smooth Criminal

I lean towards rock music, but I still have love for the occasional ratchet music, on a purely primal level. Trap beats, synths, as long as they are good with tons of seductive quality, I usually can fall under its spell pretty hard. During the height of Beauty Behind the Madness’ popularity, I loved dressing up real sexy and going to nightspots. Intoxicated, I’d listen more deeply to the quality of Abel’s voice and personality. Where Drake can’t go musically, The Weeknd can, and this is why, of all the R&B singers who have the dark drug sound, he is the smoothest. A smooth criminal, sounding like Michael Jackson, sure, except The Weeknd really seems like part of that underworld, while MJ was, well, MJ.

Written by RockGirl1 / May 08, 2019

Buzzkill On The Balcony

The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness is the first album I bought by the pop rnb megastar Abel Makkonen Tesfaye. Yes, like all my girlfriend’s, the first song I heard was from the steamy movie Fifty Shades of Grey and its centerpiece sex bomb of a track “Earned It.” I never realized how ‘basic’ my knowledge of The Weeknd was until a recent party. I mistakenly fell into a conversation about mutual music tastes with this drunk girl I met on the balcony. I have to admit that on the one hand, I felt a little embarrassed that I didn’t know The Weeknd’s mix tape phase which all add up to his debut album Trilogy, yet at the same time, I thought this girl was being kind of an annoying bitch, and also an aux hog – insistent that we play all the singer’s pioneering deep and dark catalogue, rather than the music on the albums I was familiar with. What a buzzkill. No thanks – I think this album is the perfect balance of brooding attitude and party vibes essential for having a good time. The stuff she was playing was so slow and depressing, even by The Weeknd standards.

Written by vespertini_bellini / May 08, 2019

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Biography

"The Weeknd"

Born

    1990-02-16

Active

    2010–present

Label

  • XO
  • Republic

About

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (born 16 February 1990), known by his stage name The Weeknd, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer.
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