ALBUM GENRE: R&B/Soul, Pop.
ALBUM RATING: 8/10
ALBUM STREAM LINK:
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Abel Tesfaye, also known as ‘The Weeknd’, is a complex RnB artist who sounds a bit like Micheal Jackson on some days but understands the relation between the allure of dark mystery and the language of sensuality, and portrays it in his music.
We’ve had artists show us the place at which they are and how versatile they can be, usually defined by each album they release, if it’s a distinctive sound or more of the same.
When Abel arrived in 2011, he immediately caught our attention. With his debut project, The Trilogy – a 3 in 1 mixtape, He came with a different, yet amazingly constructed style of RnB. One that mixes the dark theme with sweet vocals that also tends to be soul music. Next Major label Album Debut ‘Kissland‘ was just as dark but faced poor reviews, declining interviews and wasn’t up to the standard expected.
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But 2015’s “Beauty Behind the Madness“(BBTM) would prove that was just a bump on the road as he burst out massively into the music scene and earned the respect of almost every listener. He was intentional about ‘Beauty behind the Madness‘, he teamed up with Superstar producer-songwriter Max Martin. This saw him spawn several world class music including ‘I can’t feel my face‘, ‘The Hills‘, ‘Often‘ with featured collaborations with Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey.
BBTM changed The Weeknd from an RnB rookie into a Superstar in what you would call his best album till date and one of the best RnB albums in the past decade. The success of BBTM was so massive, he named his next album ‘Starboy‘ 😅. This was equally massive as it saw him mix in Pop, Funk to his style which confirmed him as a hyper-prolific artist.
3 years, 2 tours and an EP later, he’s dropped his Fourth Studio Album, “After Hours“. The Weeknd gave us an album this weekend.
After Hours is a body of work that tells The Weeknd had put a lot of hard work and patience into making, there’s no features on this one but the producers list is enough to make this an amazing album even before it dropped. It includes Max Martin as usual, Metro Boomin, DeHeala, Lizzo’s main producer Ricky Reed, Camila Cabello’s producer Frank Dukes, Oscar Hotler (worked with Taylor Swift and Tove Lo), Tame Impala’s Mastermind Kevin Parker and a whole lot more.
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After Hours is an album that sounds like Heaven, Abel’s angelic voice which is blur and sharp at the same time just gets better with every Album. This album is poised to give your ears an orgasmic feeling with Pulsating sub-bass, hazy keyboards that give the 80s synthpop feel and all the echos that’ll blow your mind and give life to your soul. Lyrically it’s what you’ve come to expect from Abel, dark-filled, sensual, with a little bit of drug talk and self hate, yunno, basically The Weeknd.
There are a lot of positive points worth mentioning apart from the amazing versatility of its production which expands from modern RnB to the 80s synthpop fusion, Abel has satisfied both subdivisions of his fans, he’s given songs like ‘Escape from LA‘ and ‘Snowchild‘ for the fans that’s been asking him to recreate his 2011 sound on the Trilogy, he’s also satisfied fans that fell madly inlove with BBTM with ‘Too Late‘ and ‘Heartless‘ while the STARBOY album stans would appreciate songs like ‘In your Eyes’ and ‘Hardest to love‘
While a few might argue BBTM is a better album, we should all just appreciate the fact that The Weeknd hasn’t faltered in giving us another beautiful Album.
Here are our Top 5 songs from ‘After Hours‘ which you must have on your playlists (Apart from Serial hits Blinding hearts and Heartless) :
5.) In Your eyes
He’s brought the Funk back! The bass and synth keyboard brings back ‘Starboy‘ memories. The pace of the beat and how Weeknd flows with seamless perfection is sonically pleasing. Another 80’s like Funk Pop. The Funk at the final moments of the song is pure bliss.
A dance floor is urgently needed! 🕺
4.) Escape From LA
This is definitely Abel’s best produced album, it’s versatility is so amazing, I can’t explain with words. This song apart from being a movie title has got Abel’s vocals on a Trap beat that gets modified as the song progresses.
This is ‘My dear Melancholy‘ Weeknd and we are here for it. Escape from LA has a way of entrapping you, you get to see Abel’s world from yours.
3.) Too Late
The way this song progresses warm synths to precursive bass rhythms only show beastly production work (Ricky Reed and DeHeala worked on this one).
It’s a confession song where he admits he’s been a bad boy and wonders if there’s hope for a second chance. There’s no official video for this yet, but I can imagine tears and being drunk on a dance floor. Yikes 😑
2.) Scared to Live
This is personally my favorite off the album. We don’t get to see this Abel everyday, it’s a slow Tempo song with an Organ sound, his vocals are sharper than any song on the album.
Here he’s talking about living again post-breakup. The production here is amazing too and sonically pleasing.
1.) Hardest To Love
This song just stands out. The 80s synth-pop just seems like home for Abel’s vocals. The beat switching to include drums while he delivers the first verse is incredibly beautiful at each listen.
Max Martin produced this and it’s no wonder it’s such a Bop. A must get song on your Playlist.