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After Hours

by The Weeknd

Released March 20, 2020 via XO / Republic Records

Originally reviewed on March 31, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
After Hours (41%), Blinding Lights (33%), Faith (27%)

The Weeknd has finally dropped an album that is worth the buzz he’s gotten over the last decade. Much of his previous work has been one dimensional and vapid, but his new album fixes all past issues. Abel is writing some very biting and introspective pieces that feel much more complex and mature, instead of coming off as frat boy and childish. While these narratives still have the drugs and sex-heavy themes people love from him, they come off as much more interesting this time around. The production is also stunning; you can tell there’s an enormous influence from the 80’s, but it’s done tastefully and tweaked enough to fit in a modern context. Oneohtrix Point Never’s contributions are fantastic, as well. When it gets nocturnal, it’s cavernous and haunting and when it needs a bit of energy, it comes in spades. Abel’s vocals are the most confident to date, and he pulls out some amazing singing on here that has me shouting along with it. There’s no weak link here, every song is well done. After Hours is an incredible example of how to make mainstream pop; it’s got the catchiness to bring people together, but has some really unique sonic choices and substantial writing to give it staying power. – Jared (9/10)

After Hours strikes a balanced blend between retro '80s synth-pop and the alt-R&B movement that The Weeknd helped popularize in the early '10s. This fusion of his past style and a fresh take on one of the most beloved retro sounds has led many to believe it's his best work to date. You won't find many R&B crossover albums better fit for today's listener than this one. Versatile, impassioned, and dynamic, it's Abel at his pop peak. – Enth (8.5/10)

Albeit a few compositional mistakes and a runtime that overstays its welcome, After Hours is a good album that shows The Weeknd at his best. The 80s aesthetic explored on Starboy meets the darkness of old Abel here. From the jump, the production fits The Weeknd like a tailored suit—the synths are perfect, balancing well with the trap-esque drums throughout. Songs like “Blinding Lights”, “Scared To Live”, and “In Your Eyes” capture the 80s in a modern way. In terms of vocal performance, Abel is on point, and the way his voice meshes with the production contributes tremendously to the overall sound. This consistency is its biggest strength; however, at 56 minutes and lacking the sheer amount of hits from The Weeknd’s past albums, After Hours tends to drag. There are more than a couple of filler songs that could be cut (“Escape From LA”, “Repeat After Me”, etc.) without detracting from the overall experience. Despite these flaws, After Hours still manages to end up a solid effort at the end of the day. – Daniel (8/10)

DeVán: 8.5/10 | Alan: 8.5/10 | Enth: 8.5/10 | Pax: 8.1/10 | Daniel: 8/10

Hadley: 8/10 | Cam: 7.8/10 | Victoria: 7/10 | Dominick: 6.4/10


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