Five years ago to this day, The Weeknd dropped off his second studio album Beauty Behind The Madness, a project that featured appearances from Labrinth, Lana Del Rey, and Ed Sheeran. And while we've come to accept the mysterious Canadian artist as a bonafide superstar, back in 2015 he was still rising as both a critical and commercial darling. Of course, the shadow cast by the formative Trilogy kept him firmly on the radar, but Beauty went a long way in proving that his artistic brilliance was far from fleeting.
Nowhere was that more evident than on "Dark Times," the genre-bending collaboration with Ed Sheeran, himself years removed from global megastar status. For this duet, Sheeran takes the reigns with a slow-burning guitar-driven ballad, the chord progression familiar territory to longtime fans. Off the bat, his lyrics evoke plenty of The Weeknd's favored imagery. "Waking up, half-past five, blood on pillow and one bruised eye," he sings. "Drunk too much, you know what I'm like."
Temptation and acceptance appear to be prevalent themes on this one, as Weeknd picks up exactly where Ed left off. "Still coming down, dripping throat," he sings, his impressive vocals shining over the stripped-down groove. "I got another man's blood on my clothes, but it ain't his fault, it's the life I chose." Now that a few years have passed, how do you feel about Beauty Behind The Madness?
This ain't the right time for you to fall in love with me
Well baby, I'm just being honest
And I know my lies could not make you believe
We're running in circles, that's why