After listening to After Hours on repeat for a full day, I am going to try my best to put all of my wonderful thoughts into one piece. It’s been four years since The Weeknd released a full length album. Starboy put him on the map as a prominent figure in the music industry (listen to “Starboy”, “I Feel It Coming”, and “Secrets”). Now that After Hours is finally here we can fully digest this emotional roller coaster.
I admire the genre bending heard on the album. It’s not fully hip-hop, rap, R&B, or pop, it’s a little bit of everything. With 14 tracks spanning almost 4 minutes each, I’m impressed with the amount of cohesiveness we hear from track to track. Each song has one thing in common; love. The majority of this album feels like a “It’s not you, it’s me” moment in a relationship. On “Hardest To Love” we hear Abel softly sing, “I’ve been the hardest to love, it’s hard to let me go.” It’s no surprise Max Martin is a co-writer on this record (and many others), leaving his mark on that catchy pop beat. While on “Scared To Live” we hear The Weeknd sing, “I am not the man I used to be, did some things I couldn’t let you see.” Track 10 titled “In Your Eyes” follows suit with lyrics like, “I always look the other way, I’m blind, I’m blind.” Once again, we hear themes of self-realization/deprecation and even shame. The album makes you walk the long road of a relationship and you’re not sure where the road is really going. Most of After Hours is a slower tempo – reminiscent of early Abel minus the abundance of drug references and obscene slang/phrases. These tracks feel more refined and mature in a beautiful way.
Songs like “Snowchild”, “Escape From LA”, and “After Hours” have that classic The Weeknd sound with a simple yet consistent production you can almost predict beat for beat. “Save Your Tears” is a standout hit off the bat. Retro synths and synced lyrics are so addicting to sing to – this one will chart for months on end. Abel always manages to stay in the same type of vocal range and it works extremely well. He flexes his chords when he wants, but it’s always restrained in a subtle way.
Digest After Hours from top to bottom and let the love motif wash over you.