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Album Review: The Weeknd Goes Back To the Future with New Release, ‘After Hours’

Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, eluded the jaws of the music industry with a brief hiatus after releasing his last EP, My Dear Melancholy, in 2018. After starring alongside Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems (2020), when he announced he would, in fact, be dropping a new album this year, none of us were expecting what we were about to get.

The Weeknd’s Rebirth

The Weeknd stayed out of public eye for a little over a year and emerged on the other side a completely new man. When the “Heartless” music video dropped in December, the Weeknd sported a cherry red suit jacket and a pair of oversized glasses. To say this new wardrobe was stylish would be an understatement.  The music video had a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas vibe, with the overlying theme of drug use that continues through the rest of the album.

The next single to drop in January, “Blinding Lights” is a continuation, or a part two, following the glamorous life of The Weeknd’s new persona. With blood dripping down his face, he looks maniacal but continues to chase the party life.

A Sci-Fi Disco

After Hours has the same 80’s synth-pop vibes as Eurythmics or Dead or Alive and seems to be heavily inspired by retro tunes. The Weeknd has definitely evolved his style. “In Your Eyes,” one of the later tracks, has a funky beat and a saxophone solo that could be played at a disco revival.

My favorite track on the album, “Alone Again” is haunting and eerie. Despite having such intricate beats, the Weeknd doesn’t lose his typical jazzy vocal sound, and it fuses flawlessly with the madness.

The album is the perfect blend of hip-hop, jazz and dance style tracks and it’s a versatile listen. Want to bump to After Hours in the car with your friends? No problem. Want to listen to it alone in your room and cry over your ex? Go for it!

Allusions to Heartbreak

A reoccurring theme in this album is the fallout of a relationship.

Track three, “Hardest to Love” and track four, ” Scared to Live” do a good job of portraying this. It sounds like the Weeknd is talking to an ex that hasn’t gotten over him, and he’s letting them know that it’s time to move on while maybe even apologizing for his actions.

Fans speculate that the Weeknd is alluding to his on-and-off relationship with model Bella Hadid.


Overall Impressions

I really liked this album and the way the Weeknd has progressed musically. This album has a variety of tracks than anyone could listen too and enjoy. You have the upbeat dance tracks like “Blinding Lights” and ballads like “After Hours.”

Additionally, old Weeknd fans can still enjoy some of his old sound on this new album while having some new flavor.

Overall rating: 4.5/5.


Featured image via The Weeknd

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