The Weeknd makes the wait worth it

The+Weekend

Photo courtesy of theweeknd.com

Album review

Abel Tesfaye, better known by his stage name “The Weeknd,” debuted his new album, After Hours last week. After Hours is The Weeknd’s fourth studio album and his first studio album to drop in four years, with his last studio album to drop being 2016’s Starboy. The Weeknd started production and recording of After Hours in 2018, not hinting the albums possible release until late 2019 with the release of the albums’ first single “Blinding Lights”.  After Hours is a total of 56 minutes and 12 seconds long and continues the dark themes that have always been associated with The Weeknd with an overarching theme of relationships. The album has a very melancholic vibe to it with a few tracks that leak subtle glances of euphoria into the album (like the tracks “Scared to Live Again” and “Save Your Tears”).

The album borrows a lot of its futuristic-synthetic sound and beats from the film “Uncut Gems,” a movie that The Weeknd starred in alongside Adam Sandler. Daniel Lopatin, who also goes by Oneohtrix Point Never, composed the score for “Uncut Gems” and is featured multiple times in the credits for After Hours as either a producer or writer for multiple songs. Some songs where you can clearly hear the “Uncut Gems” influence include, “Hardest To Love,” “Heartless,” “Repeat After Me (Interlude)” and “Until I Bleed Out.”

The album starts off with the song “Alone Again” where The Weeknd describes his relationship with fame as being addictive. The song features and begins the very futuristic-synthetic sounding beat that cascades as the track (and album) continue. The next track “Too Late” expands and blows up the futuristic-synthetic beat into a full-fledge song as The Weeknd sings that it’s “way too late” to save him and his lover’s “souls.”

The fifth song on After Hours, “Snowchild” starts off with a low somber beat that also cascades into a futuristic-synthetic beat as The Weeknd sings about his relationship with his past and how it has brought him to his present future. The next track, “Escape From LA” is one of the deeper and darker songs of After Hours as The Weeknd sings and compares his relationship with a woman to the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, CA.

Following “Escape From LA” we have the track “Heartless” which was the second single to be released from After Hours. The Weeknd worked extensively with producer “Metro Boomin” to create the track, which went on to become certified platinum before After Hours was even released.

After the song “Faith,” “Blinding Lights,” which was the second single to be released from the album, serves as a beginning to a three-song stint of jovial beats and rhythms by The Weeknd. “Blinding Lights” has The Weeknd singing of how he is distracted by the blinding lights around him. The song has a very 80s-inspired, electropop, synth beat to it and is very catchy.

The beat and instruments in the track “In Your Eyes” are almost so enjoyably light-hearted and cheerful, (there’s a saxophone playing in a song by The Weeknd?!?) you might even have to check that you’re playing the same album. “Save Your Tears” ends the three-song stint of cheerfulness and “Repeat After Me (Interlude)” serves as the bridge that takes you from the light-hearted songs back to the dark, ominous theme that was present at the beginning of the album, and it takes you directly into the darkest song of the album.

The title track of the album After Hours, by far, earned its name as the longest song on the album and also the third and final single to be released from the album. In this song, The Weeknd returns to a singing style reminiscent of songs from his older albums as he once more sings about heartbreak and the issues that arise with it. The song features high-pitched, distorted vocals with a booming bass to accompany it. The final song on the album “Until I Bleed Out” is essentially an outro where The Weeknd sings he has given all he can, supposedly, to the album and cannot continue any longer.

The album is a masterpiece with not a dull point to be found. On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best, I give After Hours by The Weeknd a 5.