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The Weeknd’s new album ‘After Hours’ is dark, and fans love it

<p>The Weeknd has reinvented his image once again with his new album &quot;After Hours&quot;.</p>

The Weeknd has reinvented his image once again with his new album "After Hours".

The Weeknd is keeping his fans' ears happy during a pandemic.

The Weeknd dropped his highly anticipated new album, “After Hours,” on March 20. This album is a follow up to his 2018 EP, “My Dear Melancholy,” and his first studio album since 2016’s “Starboy.” He showed no fear of releasing an album during the COVID-19 crisis. The Weeknd tweeted, “Let music heal us,” on March 15, just days before his album dropped. 

He still has no fear, as his album soared to No. 1 on the  Billboard 200 within the first week. This marks his fourth album to reach this position. According to Billboard, “After Hours” sold 444,000 equivalent album units in its first week. The album has the most sales of 2020, making that week the biggest in the Weeknd’s career.

“After Hours” is a combination of seductive and sad. Songs like “Hardest to Love,” “Scared to Live,” “In Your Eyes” and “Blinding Lights” have been fan favorites, as well as mine.

 The Weeknd maintains an extreme level of honesty in these songs. They speak to fans because of the emotions he shows. “Hardest to Love” and “Scared to Live” are some of the slower songs included in the album that display his poetic lyrics flawlessly instead of pushing the melody to the forefront. Both songs have a dark tone of self-pity missing his ex-girlfriend. 

The Weeknd exploits his loneliness in “After Hours.” In “Faith,” he says “thought I’d be a better man, but I lied to me and you.” The song follows a similar tone as the rest of his album and focuses on his lies, drug usage and heartache. He told The Guardian that he uses drugs as a “crutch” to help with his writer’s block. 

The Weeknd’s new album has made me question his mental health after seeing how much of a role drugs play in his music and the music videos. In the music video for “Blinding Lights,” it is crystal clear that he is abusing psychedelic drugs as he evades the police in Las Vegas. 

“Heartless” is also based in Las Vegas and has an eerie feel. In the music video, he removes his glasses and is hardly able to keep his eyes open. Even though he has admitted to abusing drugs, “After Hours” is his first album where psychedelic scenes are present. 

Songs like “In Your Eyes,” “Blinding Lights,” “Save Your Tears” and “Heartless” are more upbeat. These songs still hold his somber vibe but have a quicker pace. “Blinding Lights” is the most 80’s-esque pop song on the album. You can’t listen to the song without wanting to dance. The song is circled around another Las Vegas reference, saying “Sin city old and empty... I’m blinded by the lights.” 

The Weeknd has released music videos for three songs: “Blinding Lights,” “In Your Eyes” and “Heartless.” In each video, he is presented in a red sportcoat and a bandaged nose, the same look he has in the short film of the album.

He appeared on “Saturday Night Live” on March 8 and performed “Blinding Lights” and “Scared to Live.” According to Pop Culture, fans were clueless about his performance ensemble and were concerned for his physical health. 

The Weeknd added three extra songs to his No. 1 album only a week after its release. “Nothing Compares,” “Missed You” and “Final Lullaby” create the deluxe version of the album, bringing the album to a total of 22 tracks. The three new tracks are slow and emotional, fitting in seamlessly with the somber vibe of the entire album. 

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“Nothing Compares” is coated in him singing about his solitude saying, “nothing compares to the emptiness we both share,” hinting that he is incomplete without his past flame. “Final Lullaby” has an angelic tone with his voice echoing more than in most of his songs on the album. “Final Lullaby” is extremely delicate, and the melody enhances the Weeknd’s sweet lullaby. This is the last song on the album before the remixes, and it wraps it all up magnificently. 

The Weeknd’s “After Hours Tour” begins June 11 in Vancouver, Canada. He is set to tour from June through November, and his ticket sales are live.

Rating: 9/10

blivenee@miamioh.edu



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