Album Review: After Hours by the Weeknd

Archie Barton | Staff Writer

Rating: 8/10

After Hours brings the fourth studio album for The Weeknd, following the 2018 EP My Dear Melancholy. The first album released since 2016’s Starboy, After Hours attempts to find the balance between The Weeknd’s tragic love anecdotes and the longing to dance to the upbeat 80s sound spliced throughout the album. 

The pre-released singles, Blinding Lights, Heartless and After Hours, were a glimpse at the interesting contrast that could be expected from the album. Maintaining the unique Weeknd sound, After Hours pairs his high pitched vocals with a building ominous track that accumulates in the eventual descent of a hard hitting beat. After Hours, being my immediate and lasting favorite of all the songs, set the tone for the rest of the album upon release. 

Starting out with the slow building, Alone Again, and continuing into Too Late, Hardest to Love and through to Escape from LA, The Weeknd focuses on love, a usual center for his songs. Developing his confessions lyrically in each song, the music compliments the ups and downs of each action he chooses to relive. Heartless puts an end to the reminiscing with a return to the arrogant persona of his older songs and brings new energy, maintained by Faith. Hit song Blinding Lights entertains with the subtle 80s sound, similar to that of Starboy, setting the stage for In Your Eyes and Save Your Years that follow it. 

A progression of the previous album, The Weeknd improves on his connectivity with his fans, himself and the overall story of songs on the album. Lacking any artist features, at the center of the album is The Weeknd himself. An artist that continues to produce rhythmic albums peppered with memorable songs that make you want to dance until after hours and others that seem slow enough to induce a broken heart. I thought the album was an interesting new direction and definitely has some worthy additions for all types of playlists. 

Concluding with a slower Until I Bleed Out, The Weeknd ends his journey of turmoil and escape as it started, hopelessly alone. A fitting last song for the isolation we find ourselves in after its release.