Fresh off a string of successful singles including the chart-topping Heartless and steadily rising Blinding Lights, The Weeknd’s fourth album After Hours finally arrives today.
And because we don’t all have after hours to sit through every single song, here’s a track by track guide to help you sort out the streams from the skips.
Here we go.
This song opens the album rather intriguingly, but takes way too much simmering to get to its climax. Blinding Lights would have made for a great opener, but that’s just me. I’m excited to see what Abel has in store for us.
With this song and the previous one it seems like production is taking centre stage here. It’s sleek and crisp, but clocking in at over four minutes, I don’t foresee myself coming back to it.
Hardest To Love
The first of Abel’s collaborations with Max Martin on the album. It’s decidedly more digestible than the previous few. I like it.
Scared To Live
A song for the times. I’ve been looking forward to this song ever since he performed it on Saturday Night Live, and it hasn’t been in vain. The interpolation of Your Song runs the risk of being tacky, but it works for me.
Abel constantly figures out novel ways to sing about his use of drugs, and Snowchild is the newest in his book. It’s a fantastic song that plays to the theme of the album well, and makes references to earlier points in his career. Tears.
Escape From LA
We had sex in the studio. This line says it all.
By this point it’s obvious that the trap-based songs are making up the first half of the album. Heartless is a nice track that ties everything together. Also, a stellar choice for the first single.
The album’s second arc opens with Faith, a banger that likens drugs to religion. God, someone help this guy already. Worrying addictions aside, this song is one of my favourites from the album. The outro is pure ecstasy, pun unintended.
In Your Eyes
This song has Max Martin written all over it. Like a darker version of Can’t Feel My Face, it’s nice to see that Abel hasn’t abandoned the popstar persona he cultivated on Starboy.
Save Your Tears
All hail the 80s influences on this album.
Repeat After Me (interlude)
I’m just glad I’m getting to witness a The Weeknd and Tame Impala collaboration in my lifetime. The song is great, wish it was more than just an interlude.
Few artists can take a song that runs 6:01 long and make it worth every second. The title track sums up both the record and Abel’s artistic identity beautifully — from his Trilogy days to embracing his pop influences on Starboy. All these roads have led him to After Hours, and what a brilliant journey it has been indeed.
Until I Bleed Out
The album would have ended nicely with the title track, but choosing to put this song after the fractured after hours is heartbreaking to say the least. It’s a clear cry for help: well I don’t wanna touch the sky no more / I just wanna feel the ground when I’m coming down. It’s a laboured cry for help, much like most of the album has been, and a great finale to his best body of work since the Trilogy days.
Listen to After Hours here: