AFTER HOURS (THE WEEKND)

RELEASED 20TH MARCH 2020

Favourite track: Save Your Tears

Cinematic, atmospheric and melancholic. The Weeknd has done it again with sensational vocal work and futuristic, yet also retro, production.

The Weeknd is definitely one of my favourite male artists. His production always amazes me and his tunes have this cinematic and deeply atmospheric feel that totally gets you in your feels whilst simultaneously being catchy AF. The new album has been posted on pretty much every RnB fan’s Instagram stories. After Hours is a 14-track album where the cover art depicts The Weeknd smiling with blood around his mouth. It’s very vampire-esque (we’re really just missing the teeth here).

Image credit: Twitter

The first track ‘Alone Again’ opens with some spacey synths and then the vocals come. The melody is haunting, much like a lot of his music. The bass adds a good layer to bring some depth to the tune. We then get a whole load of deep bass and synths with vocal echoes on the line ‘break my little heart’. This then becomes a whirling sound as we move into harsher synths. The beat is a Trap style one and then becomes a harder Hip-Hop style some moments later. ‘Too Late’ begins with some lyrics and more atmospheric synths that build into a real slow RnB beat with bassline. It’s very well produced and has layers of like chaos and magic within it. ‘Hardest To Love’ has that 80s synth opening and vocal FX opening. The beat is oddly fast-paced against such a calming backdrop but it does work. The vocal melody and structure is very Pop but the distortion and delivery is still Alternative Hip-Hop/RnB.

‘Scared To Live’ has a quiet opening and then some muted synth keys. The beat is a slow 80s love song style one. The chorus is catchy and dramatic but it’s great. ‘Snowchild’ has a 90s RnB style beat with some Trap elements on top. I like the vocals in this one – the way he sings is reflective and softer but raw. This one is more about where he grew up and the stuff that was going on around him. Have to say the line “she like this futuristic dick, Philip K Dick” was excellent – if you get the reference here, well done. I like the simplistic bass hits in ‘Escape from LA’ which we have also seen in one of Summer Walker’s tracks. I love this track omg it’s so gooood. It’s got a harder beat and bass but still keeps those synths in the background. This one looks at the destructive nature of LA and the people there.    

‘Heartless’ opens with some quiet synths and then a HARD Drake-style beat comes in. This one comes in with some attack for sure as he talks about how he has acted with money and fame. This is one you can definitely move to. ‘Faith’ starts with some synth keys and then some vocal FX and echoes to bring the drama. The bass is heavy here but the beat has that disjointed style which makes it quite interesting to listen to. ‘Blinding Lights’ has this 80s movie feel to it straight away. It’s already a hit and you can see why. It’s brilliant and feels both retro and futuristic at the same time. ‘In Your Eyes’ has more of a Funk style to it with the bassline and 80s beat. It reminds me of the style of Michael Jackson in its melody and structure. The next track then takes you to an 80s Pop classic style in ‘Save Your Tears’. I love the melody in this one and his vocals work nicely here.

‘Repeat After Me (Interlude)’ opens with synth keys and the audio echoing through. There is a faint sound of piano chords and a Hip-Hop beat. ‘After Hours’ is very dramatic with small sounds on a muffled audio. The beat is sharp here as he talks about what he wants with a girl. The vocal work is realllly good. The final track ‘Bleed Out’ opens with quiet instrumental sounds that are fast-paced. The sounds gradually get louder and more complicated until they stop and then come back, bringing his vocals too. It’s melancholic and atmospheric once again. I love the chorus and the vocals here…really beautiful.

Good to just listen to on a long night drive or in your room with headphones so you can appreciate all the layers of the music.