The Weeknd has been making critically acclaimed R&B for more than four years now, but he’s never had a year like 2015. Ever since scoring his first Top 10 single as a solo artist with “Earned It,” off the Fifty Shades soundtrack, in February, he’s been a fixture at the top of the charts. Earlier this month, he scored his first No. 1, with the Off the Wall-esque “Can’t Feel My Face,” and he currently has two songs in the Top 5 at the same time. The arrival of his new album, Beauty Behind the Madness, next week, seems destined to represent the arrival of a new megastar.
Now, just in time for the weekend (get it?), the R&B singer-songwriter-producer has shared an extended preview of that new album, in the form of an 18-minute mix, stitching together every song on the album, called “The Leak”:
Anyone who was happy to hear the Weeknd climb out of the woozy, codeine-spiked R&B of the singer’s earlier material with “Can’t Feel My Face” will only be more excited after listening to this preview, which features more of the falsetto-favoring singer doing his best MJ. The album, which also features Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran, and songs produced by Kanye West, Mike Deam, and Max Martin, comes out next Friday.
Read more in Slate:
An Alt-R&B Hero Goes Full Michael Jackson—and Hits No. 1