Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, also known as “The Weeknd,” first debuted onto the R&B scene nine years ago. His first album, “Beauty Behind the Madness,” was released back in 2015. Then, in 2016, “Starboy”was released. Back then, The Weeknd was a blend of R&B and emotionally charged lyrics that the rap community was in dire need of.
In his early stages, Tesfaye was refreshing for his fans while trying to incorporate soulful, disco funk sounds while rapping his lyrics harmoniously.
His newest album, “After Hours,” combines everything fans consumed from his first two albums. In an age where society cannot get enough of eighties nostalgia, The Weeknd flawlessly transports his audience to the 1980s.
The album features ultra-cinematic keyboards, surging sub-bass and hard beats. If anything, this is an album anyone can dance to.
Last year on Nov. 29, Tesfaye released a single entitled “Blinding Lights.” The song was an instant hit amongst both his fans and those who had not ever heard his music.
Soon after the song’s release, users of the app Tik Tok quickly began to use it in their videos. This only heightened the song’s popularity. Since then, we have been anxiously waiting for the release of the rest of the album.
After the release of the entire album, “Blinding Lights” is still one of the strongest tracks. The beat of the song and the eighties sounding backtracks highlight what is good for the album as a whole.
The album begins with slower, eerie sounding songs. The mood for what lies ahead for the listener is set with “Alone Again” and “Too Late.” The sounds are equipped with ominous keyboards and more modern takes on eighty sounding music, like beat drops and the rapping of lyrics.
These songs are followed by “Hardest to Love” and “Sacred to Live.” Much like the first two songs, these take a slower tempo than the rest of the album.
Rather than his usual rapping of lyrics, The Weeknd takes a different approach in these songs and sings the lyrics. Still, the eighties theme is present although not as strong as other songs.
Through the song “Snowchild,” his fans become more connected to The Weeknd and his past. He had a troublesome childhood and teenage years and this song allows him to vocalize those years.
After nearly 25 minutes into the album, the best songs of the album begin. “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless,” which was also a pre-release, are arguably The Weeknd’s best selling and biggest hits.
“In Your Eyes” and “Save Your Tears” come soon after and quite possibly would have been featured on MTV back in the eighties. These are the most ‘80s sounding songs of the entire album. Unlike his other tracks, these two do not feature any modern twists on his nostalgic take on R&B.
Both of these songs warrant a period appropriate music video. While listening, you cannot help but picture neon clothing, big hair, and acid wash denim. “In Your Eyes” even features a saxophone solo, taking the listener back through the decades.
The album then goes into an interlude during the song “Repeat After Me.” The piano solo at the beginning of that song brings the listener back to the eerie feel of the beginning of the album.
The song “After Hours” mirrors the beginning of the album. He sings to an unnamed lover, who he refers to at the start, and pours his heart out. The ‘80s sound takes less of an effect in this track so a more modern sound can captivate the listener.
Finally, the final song “Until I Bleed Out” is slow to start but it ends the album off with making the listener want more.
The harmonies of The Weeknd’s voice are tremendous and the lyrics are beautifully heartbreaking. He sings to his lover and calls out wanting the memory of them to be gone. He pleads saying that he will cut them out of his head until he bleeds out.
“After Hours” was a magnificent blend of The Weeknd’s first two albums. It perfectly combined that ‘80s nostalgia and the modern sound of his voice. It is The Weeknd’s best album to this day and will have fans listening for years to come.