The Weeknd explores new alternatives to R&B

Abel Tesfaye uses a wide vocal range and unique beats to set new standards in his latest album “Beauty Behind The Madness.”

Makailynn Clark, Writer

America’s friendly neighbor, Canada, is known for gifting young Americans with great entertainment. They first bestowed upon us the hit TV show “Degrassi”, then they shared Bieber fever and now they have given us one of the best voices of our generation, The Weeknd.

The Weeknd is a Canadian alternative R&B singer currently dominating the music scene. One cannot listen to the radio without hearing various stations simultaneously playing his tracks. He is actually the first artist to have three singles on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs at the same time. His last three singles have come off his most recent album “Beauty Behind The Madness” which was released on Aug. 28. The 14-track album offers a nice mix of soft ballads, upbeat tracks and of course The Weeknd’s incredible vocal riffs.

Nostalgic Vocals

Though the Weeknd’s beats are unique and his lyrics are catchy, listeners keep coming back for his unbelievable vocals. While listening to “Beauty Behind The Madness” I was transported back to vocals of past decades. As I listened to  “As You Are” I felt as though I was listening to an *NSYNC album due to his vocal runs and tight harmonies. But the journey to music’s past did not stop there. He also takes listeners on a voyage to the 80s with his vocal range in “Can’t Feel My Face,” which sounds like an impressive Michael Jackson imitation.

Alternative R&B

This album is evidence The Weeknd is trying to create his own version of R&B. Traditional piano and dreamy blues guitars are a thing of the past, and The Weeknd strives to go against the grain and make unique alternatives to the genre. A good example to prove The Weeknd’s innovation on the album is “Shameless.” He begins the song with what sounds like dark thunder, then transitions into a mellow guitar and a delicate beat. However mid track, the song turns into something off a Pink Floyd album. The use of insane electric guitar riffs under The Weeknd’s vocal runs leaves listeners wanting more.

Listener Discretion Advised

The Weeknd’s phenomenal vocal riffs and range accompanied with his rare beats prove he is a leading force on the music charts. But consequently his lyrics really ruin the listening experience. “Beauty Behind The Madness” tackles themes of sex, alcohol and drugs, and is way too descriptive for my personal listening enjoyment. Songs like “The Hills” and “Often” have arguably the best beats on the album, yet the dirtiest lyrics. The Weeknd has one of the best voices of our generation, yet his sexually descriptive lyrics have the potential to pollute our Christ-like minds. But if you really must listen to these innovative tracks try out the radio-edit versions, all the same beats and vocals, with less foul lyrics.


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