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The Weekend – aka Abel Tesfaye – returns with his atmospheric and era-shifting fourth record, After Hours.
Worth its 56 minutes, the album explores the artist’s past transgressions, personal life and relationships, dedicating the album to long-time fan and host of the popular XO Podcast, Lance, who passed earlier in March.
With writing collaborations including Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Max Martin, Ricky Reed and more, the 14 tracks jump between melancholic, mysterious and psychedelic escapism and fervent, powerful electro-pop.
Swedish pop master Martin’s influences are stamped all over single Blinding Lights, the gloriously catchy pop banger chorus telling the tale of Abel’s tendencies for distraction, and his need for companionship.
Set to an up-tempo, electro-pop melody and huge ’80s inspired synths, Save Your Tears and In Your Eyes share a similar tone, building on disco beats and dance-inspired drums.
Scared To Live samples Elton John’s Your Song, while Hardest to Love jumps decades forward, channeling ’90s RNB.
In many ways this is an album of two sides. Amidst the ’80s pop inspirations, After Hours’ gloomy underbelly rises to the surface in Snowchild, a murkier track that recollects on The Weeknd’s past vices. Album opener Alone Again similarly tackles his previous drug abuse, set to pulsing drums, droning basslines and twinkling synths.
Embracing darkness, Escape From LA feels languid and moody as Abel dismissively addresses his adulterous partner, and their need to get out of the city if they want a chance at survival. Until I Bleed Out closes the record with expert balladry. A shift from much of the rest of the record, its slow-burning electro-beats and emotional lyrics signify the end of an intense, emotionally charged journey.
The Weeknd brings The After Hours Tour to UK arenas in October 2020. [Find Tickets]
1. Alone Again
2. Too Late
3. Hardest To Love
4. Scared To Live
6. Escape from LA
9. Blinding Lights
10. In Your Eyes
11. Save Your Tears
12. Repeat After Me (Interlude)
13. After Hours
14. Until I Bleed Out
Listen to After Hours on Spotify: