The Weeknd (Courtesy of Flickr)
Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, more famously known as The Weeknd, released his new album, “After Hours,” on March 20, despite the controversy of releasing new sounds during the COVID-19 world pandemic.
Although music executives were pressuring Tesfaye to delay his album with the threat of being unable to properly promote the new music, it did not stop Tesfaye from defying musical authorities and making the album available to the public. The release of “After Hours” during the pandemic did not seem to decrease the hype for the artists new seductively sad beat.
“You can find love, fear, friends, enemies, violence, dancing, sex, demons, angels, loneliness, and togethernesss all in the ‘After Hours’ of the night.” The Weeknd said.
“After Hours,” being the first full album released since “Star Boy,” in 2016, did not need the proper promotion protocol as thought by producers. Within the first week of “After Hours” being released to the public, the record hit one billion streams.
Tesfaye allows listeners to explore his scandalous world of sexual desires, heartbreak and handling being “Alone Again.” The album is very fitting to the times because of the mandatory quarantine many are relating to the depression that Tesfaye harmonizes about.
The Weeknd uses this new album as the door to the beginning of his new identity. Sporting a new vintage fashion look along with new hair, Tesfaye symbolizes his reinvented change in music as well as heart. The new tracks’ lyrics embody his new persona consisting of less of the overly confident seduction into more of a regretful and depressive energy.
“Alone Again,” the first track on the record, carries an 80s techno feel with hints of falsetto vocals, beginning the track with his new identity straight away. The first track provides an immediate hint into the new sound, and shows the extra mile taken into the sound design of the album. His voice feels distant in the track, fading away, more heavily processed, which is a reflection of the mood that The Weeknd desires to portray.
Much of the record is stylistically all over the place, making “After Hours,” one of the most enjoyable records that Tesafaye has released, because of the amount of contrast from his previously released tracks. “After Hours” adds color to the dark and mysterious world that The Weeknd paints through his sensually sorrowful songs.
Tesafaye gives listeners a peek into his life before the fame in his fifth song on the album, “Snow Child.” Because many of the songs that he has released have been focused on his addiction to the party lifestyle, the autobiographical features of “Snow Child” shine through the record. The slower and more emotional sound accompanied with the piano, falsetto vocals, and intense lyrics tell the story of young Abel Makkonen Tesfaye’s depression throughout his adolescence and becoming a music icon.
The Weeknd gave a glimpse into his heart and rebranded vintage soul through his new alternative rhythm and blues album, “After Hours.” With his new look and beat it seems as if there is much more of this new sound coming from the reinvented artist.