The Weeknd - What Are His 10 Best Moments?
Abel Tesfaye, who you’ll all know better as The Weeknd, has accomplished quite a lot in his 25 years. Since he made his name with 2011’s House Of Balloons mixtape, he’s grown from a reclusive bedroom producer into a bona fide R’n’B superstar, working with everyone from Drake to Ariana Grande.
His second full-length effort Beauty Behind The Madness (which you can preview and purchase on the right-hand side of the page) is out today and looks set to take him into the same realms as many of his collaborators, that of a global superstar. Featuring singles ‘Earned It’, ‘The Hills’ and ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, all of which have shifted over a million copies worldwide and guest spots from Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey and Labrinth, it’s a slick, powerful record full of groove, charm and gorgeous production.
As Beauty Behind The Madness hits shelves, we thought we’d take stock, look through his solo work, production and collaborations and present his 10 best moments so far...
This is a collaboration with eccentric rapper French Montana, but it’s all about Tesfaye. His cooing vocals give the song’s tale of excess a soulful sheen and drive the track forward.
This was recorded for the soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and might be the rawest thing Tesfaye has released. Built round nothing but a beat and acoustic guitar, this is a haunting little ballad.
8. ‘Live For’
One of The Weeknd’s many hook-ups with fellow Canadian Drake, this one was a big favourite from his debut album proper Kiss Land. This starts out as another stripped back number, but jolts into a distorted stomper, complete with a killer verse from Drake.
This is a cut from one of Tesfaye’s early mixtapes, but it’s still up there with his best work. Tumbling heavy percussion and crooning vocals are not the easiest things to work into a track, but it certainly works here.
His poppiest moment to date, it’s easy to hear why the second single from Beauty Behind The Madness has already shifted over one and a half million copies worldwide, it’s groovy as hell.
5. ‘Odd Look’
This is his collaboration with Kavinsky, them of ‘Night Call’ from the Drive soundtrack fame, it’s everything you’d expect from that combination, pulsing electronica, icy synths and The Weeknd’s vocals sat wonderfully on top.
Originally recorded for his 2011 mixtape House of Balloons, this was then polished up and released as the lead single for his 2012 album of sorts Trilogy, this was most people’s first taste of The Weeknd and it’s still one of his best moments. Skittery beats, a menacing bassline, topped off with Tesfaye’s soaring vocals and stories of long gone wrong. Glorious.
3. ‘Earned It’
Ellie Goulding’s ‘Love Me Like You Do’ might have taken most of the limelight from the songs recorded for the Fifty Shades Of Grey soundtrack (but also featuring on Beauty Behind The Madness), but The Weeknd was the one who stole the show. ‘Earned It’ is his most swaggering track to do, underpinned by a grand orchestral sweep, it builds to a nagging earworm of a chorus, it’s easiest the sexiest moment on the soundtrack.
The highlight of Ariana Grande’s debut album My Everything, this might be her song, but it owes a lot more to The Weeknd. A smoky groove, shimmering production and a beautiful blend of The Weeknd’s husky delivery and Grande’s sugary sweet pop, it’s a total triumph.
1. ‘Crew Love’
Drake’s 2011 breakthrough LP Take Care is packed with hits, but this is by far the best thing on it. It’s a strange song, but utterly captivating. Jagged beats, shimmery electronics, one of Drake’s most melancholic raps and a glorious verse from The Weeknd about the perils of fame. It’s odd, very odd, but absolutely brilliant.
The Weeknd’s new album Beauty Behind The Madness is out now.