‘After Hours’ is a great return for The Weeknd

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The Weeknd performs at a concert in July 2018. His new album, After Hours, was released recently.  Photo in the    public domain   .

The Weeknd performs at a concert in July 2018. His new album, After Hours, was released recently. Photo in the public domain.

Abel Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd, is a Canadian R&B artist who has been releasing moody songs about love and drugs since the early 2010s. Songs such as “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Starboy” brought The Weeknd international stardom.

With his new album “After Hours,” The Weeknd dives into heartbreak, drugs and his rise to fame. A song that best fits those themes is the track “Snowchild.” The production has a moody bounce to it, which allows for The Weeknd’s voice to shine through. His flow is similar to that in his 2015 song “Tell Your Friends,” only not as melodic. The rhyme scheme is catchy and filled with pop culture references, and while it isn’t the deepest song on the album, it gives insight on The Weeknd’s life.

The majority of “After Hours” consists of tracks that involve The Weeknd reminiscing about heartbreak over an ex-girlfriend, presumably Bella Hadid. “In Your Eyes” is the best track that reflects on the relationship. The ‘80s-sounding synth combined with The Weeknd’s voice makes this song vulnerable and easy to listen to.

One gripe I had while listening to “After Hours” was how repetitive the first half of the album sounded both lyrically and musically. It’s understandable how heartbroken The Weeknd must be, but songs like “Escape From LA” were too long and feature some questionable lyrics like, “We had sex in the studio / Nobody walked in / She cut my verse an popped it.” 

Things do pick up in the second half of the album, starting with the track “Heartless.” It features The Weeknd going crazy on drugs while singing on a trap-style beat produced by Metro Boomin. It’s an exciting song that is great to play while driving in the nighttime. 

My favorite song on “After Hours” has to be the track “Blinding Lights.” The shiny instrumental is perfect for The Weeknd as he is able to sing a chorus that has been stuck in my head ever since it was released as a single back in November 2019. After hearing the song again on the album, “Blinding Lights” has become one of my favorite songs from The Weeknd.

It’s hard to believe it has been almost four years since The Weeknd dropped an LP, especially one with no featured artists. “After Hours” is a deep cut of The Weeknd’s romantic life and how he is trying to heal from a painful breakup. The album may not have as many classic tracks as his 2015 album, “Beauty Behind The Madness,” but it is a more personal record that allows The Weeknd to release his feelings to the public. 

“After Hours” is not an easy record to get into right away, but it is an album that must be listened to in entirety to understand the songs that appear later in the album. It creates a rewarding experience for fans of The Weeknd but is a drag for casual music fans.

For a pop album released in March, “After Hours” is a satisfying listen that will have you replaying certain tracks on repeat because you are blinded by the light of The Weeknd’s voice.

Rating: 4.25/5


Ian Ward is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at ian.ward@uconn.edu. 

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