vinyl library #9: the weeknd’s ‘beauty behind the madness’

Woof. The past couple weeks have been ~weird~ so far. So I’m leaning into the weirdness by switching up the order of the write-ups this week and doing two vinyl librarys to catch up on the ones I’ve missed over the past few months. Might as well give myself away to the chaos completely ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But one great thing that has happened was The Weeknd’s Super Bowl performance last Sunday! He did soooooo great. I will say that his vocals weren’t the best, but everything else about that performance was amazing. Especially the memes that came from that “Can’t Feel My Face” part of the show. A lot of the stage design reminded me of some of the stuff that was gonna be done for Michael Jackson’s This Is It residency in 2009. In the documentary for it, they showed the graphics and dance sequences that were supposed to play a part in Michael’s performance, and my brain immediately reached into my mind’s music media catalog and found a bunch of similarities between the two, so I’m curious as to how intentional that was. Things weren’t exactly the same, but there were a few standout moments of similarity. The way he started his performance off by stepping out of the Las Vegas marquee (which was FIRE, btw.) reminded me a little of the marquee scene from the beginning of “Smooth Criminal” and the dance routine he did with his bandaged minions reminded me of the dance sequence from “They Don’t Care About Us” – among other things. But the highlight moment for me was when he transitioned from “House of Balloons” to “Blinding Lights.” I just….the musical journey that he took us on was great. I expected him to focus more on the tracks from After Hours (2020), but I’m happy we got some of the older stuff too. I think a lot what he wanted to do with this was show what he’s done over the past 10 years of his career, rather than focus it solely on giving a performance full of “Heartless” and “Party Monster.” I’m so proud of him either way!

And in honor of Abel Tesfaye, we’re starting the two vinyl librarys for this week off with…

The Weeknd’s Beauty Behind the Madness (2015)

there are a few of versions of this record – the standard black version and the urban outfitters clear version (that were both released in 2015), as well as the 5th anniversary yellow double LP version with black splatters that was released in 2020, which is the one that I scammed myself into buying. also like…shout out to me for taking this picture! so much better than how I was doing them before!

On the Weeknd album ranking scale (that only includes his five main albums), BBTM is towards the bottom, but when you have such an impressive discography, “towards the bottom” doesn’t equal a bad project. I’ll gladly throw on BBTM when I need to sing my heart out, but I wasn’t originally planning on buying it. I was hoping to stick to projects I actually would listen to often, rather than going for quantity of records; plus, I had just spent money on both versions of After Hours (2020) that I have a few weeks prior and promised myself no more spending money on The Weeknd. But I couldn’t resist, so here it is. And I’m happy to have it. There are some great songs on BBTM, and the album was a more successful attempt at putting together a widely-digestible project than his attempt on Kiss Land (2013). With “Earned It,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” “The Hills,” and “Often” as the lead singles, The Weeknd pushed further into mainstream consciousness with BBTM. And it was sooo strange being a fan of his at that time; I’d already been listening to him for four years prior, so on one hand, it was nice to see Abel getting the recognition I knew he deserved, but on the other hand, he wasn’t our small bean anymore lol. One of my toxic music listening traits is that I don’t like sharing my super faves with people, so it always hurts a little to see them glow up, even though I do want that for them. So this album was me coming face to face with that in a Weeknd-centered context, and I’ve grown to love seeing him do interviews, guest appearances on shows, and SUPER BOWL PERFORMANCES. Makes me feel like a proud mom 😭

Lil’ Facts

Officially became a part of the collection on October 15, 2020

Bought from:

The Weeknd’s Webstore

(it’s unavailable on there now though)

Year of Original Album Release: 2015

Runtime: 65 minutes

Discogs Release Page

Jacket Style: Gatefold

Format: 2LP

Lowest Price on Discogs (as of 02/12/21): $97.17

Highest Price on Discogs (as of 02/12/21): $208.65

Record Player Set Up Specs:

Turntable: Audio Technica AT-LP60XBT-BK Automatic Bluetooth Turntable in Black (from Turntable Lab)

Speakers: Edifier R1280DB Powered Speakers in Black (from Turntable Lab)

My Record Collection (via Discogs)

here’s something else you might like…

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