Beauty Behind the Madness
To paraphrase Loverboy, "everything is working for The Weeknd." His keenly-awaited album Beauty Behind The Madness has been preceded by a serious media blitz, one including four (!) Weeknd-themed stories in The Toronto Star last week and a performance on MTV's VMA Awards on Sunday. Recent hit singles "Earned It" and the irresistible "Can't Feel My Face" (his first No. 1) are included here (the pair combined have a crazy 100 mill YouTube views), and there's plenty more where they came from on an album surely headed for platinum-plus status. It's hard to think of many other examples where an artist has gone from an underground street-cred beginning to mainstream crossover success as quickly and smoothly as The Weeknd. His lust for hits is shown by his new taste in collaborators such as pop hitmakers Stephan Moccio and Max Martin. Torontonian Moccio is an ace craftsman responsible for mega hits by Celine Dion and Miley Cyrus, and he co-wrote "Earned It", "Real Life" and closing cut ballad "Angel" here. Guest appearances by Ed Sheeran and Lana del Rey further confirm The Weeknd's attempt to broaden his audience. That trademark voice remains in fine form and there's still plenty of sex and drugs references in the lyrics, but now they're framed by glossy ready for prime-time production touches. Earlier album Kiss Land was considered a commercial disappointment, but it's hard to see this one being that.
The Weeknd launched the disc with a surprise hometown show at The Mod Club last week. His major The Madness Tour kicks off in T.O. at the Air Canada Centre on Nov. 3, concluding in Miami on Dec. 19. Shows are set for Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Check his site for details.