Beauty Behind the Madness is The Weeknd's second studio album that was released on August 28, 2015 by Republic Records and XO.
- Real Life
- Losers (featuring Labrinth)
- Tell Your Friends
- The Hills
- Can't Feel My Face
- Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey)
- In The Night
- As You Are
- Dark Times (featuring Ed Sheeran)
- Prisoner (featuring Lana Del Rey))
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: "Trilogy was more of a claustrophobic body of work, before it was released I hadn't left my city for 21 years, and I had never been on a plane, not once. I spent my entire life in one setting, that's probably why pieces of the album feel like one long track, because that's what my life felt like. It felt like one long song. Kiss Land is the story after Trilogy – it's pretty much the second chapter of my life. The narrative takes place after my first flight; it's very foreign, very Asian-inspired. When people ask me, "Why Japan?" I simply tell them it's the furthest I've ever been from home. It really is a different planet."
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 and the song "Love Me Harder" was released as a duet between The Weeknd and Ariana Grande, and became a commercial success.
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.
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.
On December 23, 2014, "Earned It" was released as a single from the soundtrack of the 2015 film "Fifty Shades of Grey." The song peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100.
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.
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.
"Beauty Behind the Madness" debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 with 412,000 album-equivalant units; it was estimated by Billboard that it would sell approximately 300,000 copies during its first week of release in the United States.
Its number-one debut gave The Weeknd his first number-one album and remained atop the chart for the next two weeks; it was the first album to spend three weeks at number one consecutively since Taylor Swift's 1989" album.
The album also remained in the top 10 on the US Billboard 200 for a total of 21 consecutive weeks. According to International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, it was the tenth best-selling album of 2015 worldwide.
As of August 2017, "Beauty Behind the Madness" 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.
"Beauty Behind the Madness" received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 74, based on 26 reviews.
Sheldon Pearce of The A.V. Club said, "It expertly and carefully closes the gap between The Weeknd's perception and his reality."
Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune said, "He's aiming for harder truths, creating pop that also works as a commentary on choice and consequence."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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"."
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."
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."