STORY BY JACOB MCKAY
The Weeknd is our generation’s Michael Jackson. I immediately came to this realization after hearing the full version of Beauty Behind the Madness, the Weeknd’s new studio album. The project arrived on September 4th, bringing with it an insane amount of expectations. The Weeknd is not exactly a new artist for the masses of fans he garnered from online obscurity in Toronto just four years ago. With a cosign from Aubrey Drake Graham, the singer created a new subgenre of low key; an almost depressed R&B sound with graphic details and vivid depictions.
His lyrics related to the internet era, and his fame grew. His work with Max Martin, a notable hit-making writer, made him a new kind of famous.
His song, “Earned It” appeared in the 50 Shades of Grey feature film, and his song “Can’t Feel My Face” instantly solidified comparisons to the King of Pop.
The Weeknd is not Michael Jackson. My mom probably knows the chorus of “Can’t Feel My Face” by now, but she can’t relate to most of the drugged out, trippy laments. On this new album, he shows effort at being a total pop crossover sensation. But, there is an equal amount of effort in staying grounded.
His roots are in honesty, and “Tell Your Friends” is an example of why The Weeknd will be strictly for the youth until he decides to fully convert to the cult of artists frequently played in suburban minivans. On “Tell Your Friends,” The Weeknd flows about robbing people for money to buy drugs for girls. That is something that my mom may never be ready to hear.
If the man born Abel Tesfaye can continue to turn out a few radio hits an album, he’ll definitely be a solidified legend and he’s already on his way to being on the male version of Beyoncé in terms of worldwide fame. As this artist matures and becomes increasingly more high profile, the things he experiences will be reflected in his music to the point where his songs could lose some of that street authenticity.
But if you’ve been a fan you hope this never happens. You hope that darkness and that mystery is always in his music because he speaks to you in a way that every other person on the radio cannot. Sonically, there’s no album that has many memorable songs on it out this year, and this is a great music year. It is definitely mood music, but if you have not heard about it yet, see if The Weeknd can dominate your playlist this weekend. Tell Your Friends.