The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

R&B trap meets 80s synth pop in fourth studio album

By Dang Le/managing editor

After releasing his first EP “My Dear Melancholy” in 2018, The Weeknd continues to dig deeper with the darker sound in his newest record. His fourth studio album, “After Hour” is a psychedelic record that could have fit perfectly with the film “Uncut Gems” or Martin Scorsese’s filmography.

Lyrically, the album addresses his relationship with Bella Hadid, his drug usage and celebrity life in Los Angeles. That did not mean it was shallow or tried to cater to younger generations by any means. If one ever feels lost in the city, regrets their life choices or is willing to do anything for their lovers, they will relate to what The Weeknd feels and experiences through this album.

The production on this album is insane, giving the album both expensive yet rugged vibes. In a project that requires a lot of personalities like “After Hour,” The Weeknd was able to distinguish himself thanks to the producers.

Interestingly, The Weeknd put three Metro Boomin’ tracks together, followed by three tracks produced by Max Martin. It strangely helps with the cohesiveness of the album sonically, seeing how different the approaches are.

Boomin’ uses a lot of trap elements to help the singer build tensions for the songs’ storyline, and Martin focuses on the 80s’ synth-heavy production.

But Martin was able to create a more intricate production to showcase The Weeknd’s smooth and beautiful vocals.

With five tracks in this album and their perfect track record, The Weeknd and Max Martin are becoming a powerful duo in music.

Although the album has multiple highlight moments, the saxophone part towards the end of “In Your Eyes” guarantees the track as a bonafide hit.

The album was not vocally challenging to The Weeknd, as the producers have done their job to cater to his ability beautifully. However, the soulful ballad “Scared to Live” is the definite shining moment when it comes to showcasing The Weeknd’s voice. Using an interpolation from Elton John’s famous hit, “Your Song,” The  Weeknd craftily adds his own twist to make the track the best of the already-no-filler record.

In a digital era where most R&B and hip-hop artists try to cram as many songs possible in hopes of inflating their streaming numbers and something will stick with the public (erm, looking at you – Nicki Minaj, Drake, Post Malone, Jhene Aiko).

But with “After Hours,” The Weeknd has proved one thing: an artist’s best bet is a tight, cohesive body of work.

The Weeknd showcases his unique artistic direction to tell a story of a villainous
character in a relationship for his fourth studio record, “After Hours.”
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