The Weeknd ‘After Hours’ Album Review: The Cure For Quarantine Has Arrived

If you’re stuck inside like me, then there is no reason to fear. The Weeknd is here to help all of us stuck in quarantine and they deliver one of the most hauntingly dark yet beautiful albums in recent memory.

I have no shame in admitting that I have spent nearly the last month straight listening to Blinding Lights. Blinding Lights has an incredible 80’s vibe that I can never seem to get out of my head. Any time that track is playing, I feel like I’m taking a joy ride in my car while playing GTA: Vice City. Or perhaps it would be the perfect track for Netflix’s Stranger Things. Regardless, it’s a track destined for the charts for the rest of the year.

Blinding Lights was the lead single for After Hours making expectations that could not be set any higher. The Weeknd has had a ton of critical acclaim since their debut back in 2010. They have won three Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards and even been nominated for an Academy Award. The Weeknd has quickly climbed to the top of the chain as one of the most successful Canadian recording artists in the business.

The Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Prince vibes from The Weeknd makes them one of my favorite musicians of the current era. I’m going to give you my honest and initial reactions to each track in new album, After Hours. How does the album stack up? Let’s dive in.

Alone Again

Alone Again strikes a chord that is a little too true than I’d like to hear. We’re all in quarantine. We’re all alone. My daughter’s daycare has been closed for a week. I’m already getting restless and stir crazy from social isolation. “I don’t know if I can be alone again” is something I think we can all connect with at the current time. This track is extremely hypnotic and a somber maybe depressing start for the rest of the album.

Song Rating: 8/10

Too Late

It’s easy to hear the Michael Jackson vibes inside the hauntingly gorgeous vocals within this track. The tempo significantly increases compared to Alone Again, but the lyrics are just as somber and beautiful. “When the darkness comes, you’re my light, baby, my light when it’s dark” is both disturbingly truthful behind the evocative synthesizers. The softness of The Weeknd’s voice paired with the ripping beat is incredible. Phenomenal song.

Song Rating: 9.5/10

Hardest To Love

This is why I love this band so freaking much. Hardest To Love feels like it stripped right out of the 90s or early 2000s. This is no doubt a track destined to be listened to on repeat while on road trips with your partner. The Weeknd’s vocals have really been the biggest standout so far through the first three tracks. If this is the quality standard for the rest of the album, this could be the biggest album of 2020.

Song Rating: 9/10

Scared To Live

As I mentioned earlier, Scared To Live only further showcases how great of a singer The Weeknd is. What a hauntingly beautiful ode to the mistakes he’s made and how they have impacted others during his life. This track has the same somber tone of Alone Again but is much more thoughtful and reflective. I think everyone can relate to this song. We’ve all made mistakes in past relationships we wish we could take back or alter. Beautiful track.

Song Rating: 9/10

Snowchild

The Weeknd continues to focus on previous relationships and the mistakes that were made. “She never need a man, she what a man need” shows how much thought and emotion went into this album. The Weeknd shows off his vulnerability in this track, which features a banging beat and synthesizers. I have no doubt I’ll have these lyrics memorized by the end of the afternoon. This is quickly becoming one of those albums that you just want to turn on, open a bottle of Jack Daniels and stare at the ceiling fan. My mind is blown.

Song Rating: 9/10

Escape From LA

I said expectations from Blinding Lights set an extremely high standard for After Hours. Well guess what, The Weeknd is every bit surpassing them. Escape From LA is deep, stimulating and similar to the other tracks, explores a lot of the darkness that The Weeknd has gone through in his life. First thought- this song would be incredible to hear live. It’s extremely emotional.

Song Rating: 8/10

Heartless

Heartless seems focused on destroying the charts rather than hit the slower, emotional chords heard from the previous tracks. Regardless, this is an awesome single with a fire beat that continues to tell the story of his pain and his cry for help. I hope Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez are listening to this album right now because this is real music that needs to be heard. Amazing song.

Song Rating: 9.5/10

Faith

Add Faith to Heartless and Blinding Lights as the next banger on the radio. Similar to Escape From LA, I really need to hear these tracks live. This tune is just as dim as the previous titles. “I lost my faith, I’m losing my religion every day, Time hasn’t been kind to me, I pray.” Wow. The Weeknd is letting all the emotions out in his album and it’s atmospheric, haunting and dark. I love the synergy between the tracks so far. The Weeknd is telling a story here.

Song Rating: 9.5/10

Blinding Lights

What else can be said about this track? I feel like this song was made for me. I’m the biggest sucker for anything 80s and this song just gets me. This track is a continuation of Heartless and my only request is that more artists make retro 80s tracks similar to this one. This is the best track of 2020 and I’m having a difficult time thinking it will be beat. Love, love love this song.

Song Rating: 10/10

In Your Eyes

This is by far the most Michael Jackson track on the album, which is never a bad thing. This tune has one of the best chorus’ of the album and is undoubtedly one I will be screaming while driving in my car. I’m honestly having a difficult time finding a bad song on this album. Like many before it, this song bangs with themes normally heard from the 90s or early 2000s. The saxophone at the end combined with the vocals only further cements this as one of the top tracks of the album.

Song Rating: 9.5/10

Save Your Tears

Save Your Tears feels like the lightest and safest track on the album, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fantastic. I absolutely love the 80s synthesizer in the background. There is so much nostalgia in this song. Another great song. The Weeknd is really blowing me away with this album. It’s the perfect mix of tragic lyrics combined with beats that make you want to move.

Song Rating: 9/10

Repeat After Me (interlude)

The beat slows down in this interlude. Similar to the other tracks, The Weeknd’s voice takes center stage again here. The Michael Jackson vibes return on this one. Beautiful track.

Song Rating: 7/10

After Hours

First off, the title track After Hours is a lot slower than I expected. This one sounds like a track being listened to well after the party. Perhaps even after the after party if you get my drift. The Weeknd has such a unique sound that is so rare in today’s music business. The beat and vocals makes you feel like you are entering through a portal while heading into another dimension. It’s calming yet stimulating at the same time. So, so good.

Song Rating: 8.5/10

Until I Bleed Out

The tempo slows down again for this hauntingly beautiful and dark track. “I can’t move, I’m so paralyzed I’m so paralyzed And I can’t explain why I’m terrified I’m so terrified.” It’s really interesting that The Weeknd ended the album with this track. “I wanna cut you outta my dreams” says it all. This is one of the most moving albums I’ve heard in a long, long time.

Song Rating: 8.5/10

Final Verdict

With everyone stuck in quarantine, this album could not have dropped at a better time than right now. This album demands repeated play throughs due to its hauntingly dark yet gorgeous rhythms and lyrics. This is not only one of the best albums of 2020 but one of the most consistently beautiful albums in recent memory. They simply don’t make music like this anymore. I couldn’t recommend this album enough. This is a near perfect album that gives you goosebumps track after track after track.

Final Album Grade: 9.2/10 NEAR MASTERPIECE