As we are just two days away from one of the most anticipated music releases of the year – “After Hours” by Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, we, the fans, are starting to ask three essential questions about the upcoming project.
- Will the Canadian superstar outgrow himself?
- Will he bring a new subject to the table?
- Can he once again be the backbone of modern-day R&B music and push the culture further?
I will point out what are my personal expectations from what I have seen and heard so far, starting from singles, album concept, promo, social media activity and music videos for the smashing hits “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless“. Early in December, we all knew the project is done and ready to be released in the next few months.
After dropping the first single “Heartless” I felt a bit disappointed. Not in a way that it is a bad song, but the concept behind it didn’t touch me. It felt like a repetition of what we already knew. “Starboy” status, money, fast lifestyle and lots of women – we get it, man you have it all. After a few weeks, the Metro Boomin produced track became a personal favourite, it really grew on me when the psychedelic type of video dropped. This is when it hit deeper, I finally got the picture and where the theme fo the album is heading. As Abel said it himself, the “brain-melting” chapter was just getting started.
The second single we’ve heard from the brand new Mercedes SUV was “Blinding Lights“. Boy, that song is a certified classic, not because it is complicated, but actually the opposite.
“Simplicity is the key to brilliance” – Bruce Lee
It has a chilling 80’s vibe, calming synthesizers and the vocals feel light as feathers. It feels a bit similar to “Rockin” and “Secrets” from his last full-length studio album “Starboy“, but the song has a pretty great success so far and radio is spinning the record like crazy. Already multi-platinum in Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Italy, more than 800 million Spotify streams and the album is not even out yet. Now that’s a major step, but again, as expected.
Performing the two songs on Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and SNL (Saturday Night Live) just showed a glimpse and made us hungrier than ever. The third single named after the album is a six-minute song, which to me combines elements of Trilogy, Kiss Land and My Dear Melancholy altogether. The vibe is dark, melancholic and the regret is real. I do not like the idea of comparing new music to previous body of work with any artist, but sometimes it is necessary. However, the song is so good, actually, six minutes feels like three, no cap.
With no features in its tracklist, “After Hours” sets the tone for a real cohesive project and will reveal Abel as the man we have never seen before – fighting his emotions, using psychedelics and booze and trying to stay sane through the night, fighting mental wars and not knowing what to expect from his own damn ego.
On a musical level, outside of this portrayed drugged and cocky character, I do expect excellence as always. The Weeknd is still growing as an artist and his creativity knows no boundaries. Title of the project creates a lot of questions that are going to be answered really, really soon. You can’t miss with The Weeknd. Is this his next US number one album? Probably yes! Selling numbers and streams are also expected to be big, but we will see in a week from now.
Set your clocks, people, “After Hours” is dropping Friday. Shortly after the LP release and I take my dose of the fourteen tracks, I will write a short review of what I honestly think about it and what are the highlights of the project. Stream, stream, stream!