The Weeknd’s ‘After Hours’ Shines Through the ‘Blinding Lights’ of the Music Industry


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After releasing the EP, “My Dear Melancholy,” in 2018, The Weeknd will be going back on tour in June of 2020. While the coronavirus has cancelled many prominent concerts, the “After Hours” tour is still set to continue as scheduled.

Simrat Singh, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, more commonly known as The Weeknd, has built a reputation for himself by creating viral tracks. His songs, “Can’t Feel My Face,” “The Hills,” “Starboy,” “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights” have all reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, with the latter two from his album “After Hours” that released on March 20.

“After Hours” expands the musical niche that The Weeknd has carved out for himself in the industry with his heavy use of synthesizer, leading to many catchy beats. This style combined with a distinctive falsetto has helped The Weeknd emerge as one of the most prominent artists of the 2010s going into the 2020s.

“After Hours” represents the pinnacle of The Weeknd’s career as his most complete album so far. The album focuses more on emphasizing the depth of his voice, with songs that strive away from his consistent autotune style and instead capitalize on the artist’s pure vocal ability.

The bulk of the album focuses on dealing with heartbreak and relationship problems. In this sense, The Weeknd’s audience can relate to the artist as he, like everyone else, finds himself stressed, overthinking the intricacies of his decisions.

In songs like “In Your Eyes” and “Scared to Live,” he sings about scenarios that have caused him to rethink decisions in his relationships and thus allows listeners to better visualize or understand what he goes through on a day-to-day basis.

“Hardest to Love” is a strong example of The Weeknd’s adaptive style with a 30-second melodic interlude before the artist begins to sing. This melody repeats throughout the song with a much more subdued basic beat. The song represents a clear evolution as he sings in a lower register that allows the power of his voice to stand out.

“Heartless” is one of the standout songs of the album. Using a simple drum beat and crash cymbal in the background of the song with very small amounts of synthesized electronics, he lets his vocals stand for themselves and it works. The variety in The Weeknd’s voice is especially evident in this song as he can seamlessly switch between the lower and higher register of his voice in the same song, creating transitions and subsections within his song that are obvious and pleasant to listen to.

“After Hours” represents a strong success for The Weeknd as he created a powerful emotional and complete album. While there are songs on the album that play to the viral and danceable nature that made the artist popular, including “Blinding Lights,” The Weeknd’s active choice to allow his lyrics to carry the album provides a pleasant surprise.