After Hours Review
By Dylan Navarro
After dropping his extended play record “My Dear Melancholy” in 2018, The Weeknd is back again with his fourth studio album “After Hours.”
It has been garnering a lot of attention and rightfully so. This album is one of his best since his early “Trilogy” tapes. The Toronto rhythms and blues artist first dropped two singles months prior with “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights” giving fans a look, not just of the genre of music he was heading for but also a change of his persona. Listening to this album, The Weeknd taps into different genres whether it is his usual alternative R&B with songs like the intro track “Alone Again”, “Snowchild” and the title track “After Hours,” which is a highlight on the album. Or he taps into a retro 1980s new wave pop sound, which for the most part is the constant style with tracks like “Hardest To Love”, “Blinding Lights” and “In Your Eyes.” The theme is very different from his previous album “Starboy,” but is reminiscent of his early work about heartbreak, misogyny, sadness and toxicity. On “Starboy,” he was talking about fame, growth, love; he was feeling himself just a bit. But this album’s theme is a throwback to his beginnings, but without all the drug metaphors. “I've been sober for a year, now it's time for me to go back to my old ways, don't you cry for me thought I'd be a better man, but I lied to me and to you,” is one of many lyrics that stand out, that is very haunting to the point that gives people chills. A week after the initial release of the album, The Weeknd dropped a deluxe version of the album that contained 3 new tracks and 4 DJ remixes and one live performance of “Scared To Live.” from “Saturday Night Live, which is almost to identical to the album version. The remixes are nothing to go crazy for, the real important part of the deluxe release are the three new tracks. “Nothing Compares” is the standout track of the release, an emotional track that seems like the true closure to the original cut that is about heartbreak also. The chorus to this song really hits the heartstrings with heavy synths that play in the background, it’s a very complex track. The other two tracks “Missed You” and “Final Lullaby” are not as powerful as the first track, but are still decent and serves its purpose, with the final track is about accepting the end of the relationship that he is in. This album is a standout from other albums in 2020. It’s The Weeknd going back to his roots of heartbreak, depression, etc. It has elements of pop that will make fans from his early years reject this album, since they’ve been wanting that raw, hungry, unfiltered version of The Weeknd, but it also might be accepted because of the content he discusses on the album since it is right up their alley. The Weeknd found the balance of the dark content he writes, while finding beautiful harmonies that mixes well together.