The last Weeknd album we got was in 2016 with Starboy which I never listened to besides some key singles like “Starboy (feat. Daft Punk)” & “I Feel It Coming (feat. Daft Punk)” but that’s about it from that album. Fast forward to 2018 The Weeknd released his My Dear Melancholy, Project which I thought was very good, this in fact was the first Weeknd project I ever listened to because I got into music seriously around 2015 and he already had an interesting discography building around that time and also his music never appealed to me besides the hot 100 hits he had. Going into this album I’m expecting a lot of 80s vibes and 80s influenced production style based off the singles we got so far from The Weeknd. I saw that this album went number 1 on I Tunes within the first 7 minutes it was released so I have high standards for the music. Let’s see if The Weeknd delivered another classic.
So after my first listen of the album I came to the consensus that I really enjoyed all of it but there were some tracks that I was very iffy about like “Snowchild” and “Escape From LA” but after my 5th and 6th listen I got used to them and enjoy them for what they add to the sound of the album. Speaking of the sound, the sound of this album is clear as day, a heavy 80s synth pop undertone but a strong presence of what a “typical Weeknd” sound would be which tome is that darker more cinematic music making style that he has. The first track “All Alone” has a very cinematic feel to the production, I guess it’s the way the baseline is constructed that makes me feel this way because it’s structured very well and adds a lot of darkness to the track which is such a great and interesting way to start off this album. His vocals are as strong as ever and will be talked about several times throughout this review. “Too Late” is another one of those tracks that has a slight cinematic undertone in the production but ultimately gets out done with the vocals from Mr. Abel himself. This track is one of my favorite because the songwriting is amazing, it’s created in a very catchy and melodic way which is what everyone likes while also delivering a deeper message as The Weeknd does. “Hardest To Love” is hands down one of my favorite tracks on this album because the hook is extremely catchy and melodic, the repetition of “I’ve been the hardest to love” with the word separation he adds on it is genius and perfect, the production has that light synth in the background which makes it even more hypnotic than it already is, amazing song. “Scared To Live” is another very well written and structured track, I love how the instruments become more active while he sings the chorus, this was a very smart and good touch they put on this track. All of these tracks have an underlying message which makes all of this better. Like I said “Snowchild” & “Escape From LA” weren’t my favorites but they definitely are good, I don’t have much to say about them besides the fact that they do a good job continuing the sound and overall theme of the album. “Heartless” was one of the first singles that released before the album and is arguably the best single off the album, it has more of an upbeat tone to it which separates it from the rest of the album, the sample used in this track reminds me of kill bill and the high to low pitch siren they use in the movie, it adds a strong presence of vintage RnB in my opinion. Metro Boomin definitely did his thing on this track here, I’m not sure how much of a contribution he had but he he was in the music video so I assume his hands were all over the production. So after “Heartless” this is where the album gets better for me, it almost feels like a movie with how cinematic the production style is. From “Heartless” to the end of the album the theme of the album struck me. The whole theme of the album sounds like what city life would be to me, specifically the life of a young bachelor living in a big city trying to deal with that toxic lifestyle and environment while trying to survive the single partying life. When I thought of this it all made sense to me, it all fit together which made me super happy that the though came to mind. “Faith” is another track that brings out this strong 80s funk pop vibe, it’s really the production on this whole album that makes em feel this way, not so much the vocals but mainly the production but the vocals remind me of 2015 The Weeknd. “Blinding Lights” is the most 80s thing about this album, the funky synth chords in the production during and after the chorus of the track mixed with the choice of 808s used creates this perfect track. This is probably one of the best tracks I’ve heard in a while, it’s just super well constructed and I am glad that this was the lead single because it’s extremely catchy. “In Your Eyes” has some more well used funky synth chords and also odd choices of 808s with other percussion. This track is a highlight of the album mainly because of the instruments used here, the instrumental is great as it is but they went and threw a saxophone into the production, I think that’s a saxophone but it’s definitely a brass instrument. “Save Your Tears” continues that trend that we’ve had so far of super catchy chorus’ and outstanding production, I don’t have much to say besides that and also that this track is absolutely amazing, I’m extremely impressed with how well these songs were made. “Repeat After Me (Interlude)” is probably one of the few tracks that I would call a vibe because it just rolls super smooth, it’s calming and relaxing from start to finish which is a good touch after the amount of great tracks we’ve gotten consecutively so far. “After Hours” was another single that released before the album and was alright when it first released but since I’ve listened to it along with the rest of the album I do like it more than I did when it released, but one thing that I find odd about this track is how much it reminds me of “The Hills” from back in 2015, I think it’s the vocals and the effects that are placed on the vocals to make them sound more distant and foggy. “Until I Bleed Out” is the last track on this album and sends it off perfectly. It holds a very nice conclusion to this wonderfully created album. It ends the same way it started, very theatrical and cinematic. I have nothing to say that I haven’t said yet, it’s amazing.
After Hours. Wow. What an album. I’m going to get straight to the final review. 10/10 without a doubt. The way he uses his voice all throughout the album is fantastic and the thing about that is that I’ve always known he can use his voice like how he does on this album but the way he hits those falsetto notes is extremely more impressive on this album compared to anything I’ve heard from him before. The production style resembles the 80s heavily, I think he nailed it perfectly if you ask me because of how he uses some vintage sounds in his music and the use and choice of the synth chords. The roll out of this album ultimately made me feel that this was the story of a character played by The Weeknd who basically lives this bachelor lifestyle where he parties all the time, gets in trouble, goes on some intense “trips”, and ultimately lives a care free lifestyle while dealing with trying to find love in the city living this lifestyle. But we seem to hear more of a toxic point do view more than anything. The Weeknd delivered another classic in my opinion, I can’t say I’m disappointed with anything on this album and that it’ll continue to grow on me. It definitely met my expectations and as a matter of fact it exceeded my expectations. This is one of the better albums I’ve heard in a while and can definitely say that it’s going on my favorite albums of 2020 list.
Thank you for being back to see some more posts from me, this was extremely fun to write but I had my doubts, I felt like I would have a tough time but it all came naturally which is a good sign for how easy going the music is. We have a short strand of posts line up for this week but they are some great pieces of work so stay tuned and as always, LIKE, COMMENT, AND FOLLOW!!!