The Weeknd has made quite the comeback with his long-awaited album, “After Hours,” where he continues his mysterious persona of a self-absorbed villain who preys on women, money, drugs and alcohol.
Abel Tesfaye, who performs and releases music under the name “The Weeknd,” keeps much of his life private by taking extended leaves of absence on social media.
“After Hours” is The Weeknd’s first studio album since “Starboy,” which was released back in 2016. Since its release date on March 20, “After Hours” has held the number one spot on the Billboard charts for two weeks in a row.
The Weeknd’s new album is dark and feels like a punch to the face. However, many fans are ecstatic about “After Hours” and seem to thrive off his trauma. With the album being released during the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, fans can slip into The Weeknd’s messed up world while trying to escape their own anxieties.
Similar to The Weeknd’s other albums, “After Hours” is an album you can listen to on a calm rainy night or while watching cars drive by your bedroom window. The Weeknd’s lyrics are powerful and emotional with most songs referring to his own toxic behavior he’s trying to leave behind.
“Faith” is a song that shadows The Weeknd’s ongoing battle with substance abuse and dealing with relapse. In the song, he says “I thought I’d be a better man, but I lied to me and to you,” hinting that he’s back to his old habits.
Songs like “Save Your Tears” and “Blinding Lights” use synthesizer instruments and a catchy chorus to captivate the listener and leave them playing the song on repeat. This explains why “Blinding Lights,” released prior to the full album, has racked up over 650 million streams on Spotify already.
“Heartless” is an angry and passionate anthem where The Weeknd screams about how fame, money and heartbreak has left him heartless and back to his “old ways.” Combined with a heavy and dramatic beat, it seems that he is trapped and trying to escape drugs and alcohol, but doesn’t have much luck doing so.
In “Escape from LA,” The Weeknd talks about being played by girls in Los Angeles and wanting to escape all the evil. The Weeknd has an impressive vocal variety with his famous high falsettos and deep drones. Many people have even compared him to Michael Jackson, with many songs feeling like they belong in the background of an 80s movie.
The Weeknd is most notable for his music videos, where he tells the story of the album through visual narratives.
Throughout the “After Hours” videos, The Weeknd is portrayed as a villain who wears a crimson red tuxedo hiding behind tinted sunglasses. He has a gash near his left eye, a broken nose with a bloody bandage plastered over it and blood dripping down his face. It seems he used this representation to show his audience how he feels on the inside.
The video for his song “Until I Bleed Out” seems to reflect one of The Weeknd’s final calls for help. Surrounded by flashing lights, confetti and a crowd full of strangers, he wears a distressed look as he’s stuck in the middle of a party. The song ends eerily with “I wanna cut you outta my mind / ‘Cause I’m bleeding out.” Here he could be either talking about drugs, a girl or maybe both.
This album is a masterpiece and each song captures a different part of The Weeknd’s struggle with substance abuse. With a variety of R&B and pop music, there’s a song for everyone on “After Hours.”
The Weeknd’s impressive comeback takes us on a crazy new journey inside the artist’s mind, making it a perfect getaway to help distract yourself while you’re stuck at home in quarantine.