In this review, Yukino gives us his take on The Weeknd’s most recent project.
Alone Again- 7/10
Too Late- 6/10
Hardest To Love – 7.5/10
Scared To Live- 8/10
Escape From LA- 10/10
Blinding Lights- 9/10
In Your Eyes- 10/10
Save Your Tears- 9/10
Repeat After Me (Interlude)- 9/10
After Hours- 8/10
Until I Bleed Out- 6/10
The Weeknd has made quite a name for himself in the past decade. Being recognized as an R&B titan early on with works like Trilogy and Kissland – both receiving praise and criticism for their upbeat and catchy lyrics (which, for the most part are about drug use to numb pain and incite emotion) – his name became synonymous with musical prestige at a rate that many his age could not reproduce. In continuation of this young career, he rose above early critique, outperforming expectations through his massively popular debut record Starboy which featured the lead single of the same name. Now, to the present. For years, fans have waited with mass anticipation for a follow-up to his acclaimed first LP.
Releasing singles “Heartless,” “Blinding Lights,” and title track “After Hours,’ he treated fans to a peek behind the veil they had waited behind for so long within the short span of a few weeks. The songs received mass acclaim. All three tracks immediately charted in the Billboard Hot 100 – and his fanbase, of course, was beyond thrilled to hear what he had in store. What do I think after 3 listens?
Simply put: He did not disappoint.
The album starts off on a decent note with “Alone Again” setting the tone for the project as macabre in nature. Throughout the rest of the album, we follow what seems to be a bad breakup, and The Weeknd is not afraid of speaking on what he feels.
“It’s way too late to save our souls”
“I’ve been the hardest to love”
“You’re tryna let me go”The Weeknd is not afraid of speaking what he feels.
After the first song we are ushered into the next arc, in which he appears to admit a series of wrongs against his significant other. He truly understands the type of person he is – as well as his misdoings – and is confused as to how the person in question wants to go about reuniting.
Reflecting, he resolves to escape LA – a city notorious for its flashy and inviting setting. He attempts to look back upon his actions, eventually realizing the full extent of who he is: a crude and heartless monster who cares only for himself. Despite this, he soon forgets this painful self-hatred, and begins his cycle of toxicity.
By the end of the album, the person he once asked to stay away from him for her own good has now returned to his grasp, despite his demeanor remaining the same. Attempting to rekindle this toxic relationship he wonders why she let him break up with her – eventually convincing himself that they need each other. In the end he realizes that whether or not he would like to become a better person, he will always return to the lifestyle of debauchery he has spent the majority of the record running away from.
The album is truly great; it’s production is some of the best I’ve heard. The interlude is my personal favorite, with a lo-fi beat that an anime fan would play in the background of his/her daily study session. Songs like ‘Escape from LA” and “In Your Eyes’ truly exhibit the development of The Weeknd’s production, using tangible instruments to complement the modern sounds that often come with 21st Century studios. More specifically, “In Your Eyes’ has an incredible saxophone solo which blows my mind in its ability to bring the listener through this crescendo of a character’s downfall, inducing an urge to sympathize with the broken man who knows no better.
As a whole I deeply enjoyed the album and the story it told through what we’ve come to expect of The Weeknd: songs for the saddest of days.
ALBUM RATING – 9.4/10