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The Weeknd is Back And More Manic Than Ever

R&B pop artist The Weeknd, released his third promotional single  “After Hours” on Feb 19 in anticipation of his fourth studio album, which is scheduled to be released on March 20.

“After Hours” is lengthy and temperamental in comparison to the two previously-released singles, “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless.” Spanning over six minutes long, the production is bleak and similar to the production from “Trilogy” and “Kissland.” 

The song’s melody can easily be compared to another song titled “Intro,” released back in 2009 by  electropop group, The XX. Although “After Hours” is moody and arguably spacey, The Weeknd adds a twist with relaxed drums that drives one’s feet side to side in a dance one cannot hold back. 

“Where are you now when I need you most? / I’d give it all just to hold you close / Sorry that I broke your heart, your heart,” he sings, finally apologetic for his actions and words. 

“After Hours” is a beautiful end to the simple story arc The Weeknd created within his three most recent singles.

Photo provided by The Weeknd/Twitter.

The upcoming album is inspired by the 1971 psychedelic novel “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” in which two erratic protagonists take a trip to Las Vegas under the influence of hazy hallucinogens. The characters’ demeanors are absurd and nearly insane, an image that The Weeknd portrays well in  “Blinding Lights.” 

“I’m blinded by the lights / No, I can’t sleep until I feel your touch / I said, ooh, I’m drowning in the night,” sings Tesfaye, alluding to the psychotropic effects he’s experiencing and how he yearns for the comfort of that one special someone. 

The production on “Blinding Lights” is extremely pop-oriented, but its synth-wave and 80s-inspired melody are unlike any of The Weeknd’s previous songs. The Weeknd is usually known for his depressing and mysterious energy. However, in “Blinding Lights,” The Weeknd is manic, frenzied and loads of fun. It is a song that riles up audiences and makes them floor the gas pedal of their cars to crash into a bridge — the same way the artist does in his music video for the song. 

“Heartless” is equally as groovy, but less sensitive to the needs of the significant other The Weeknd preaches to in “Blinding Lights.”

“And I’m back to my ways ’cause I’m heartless / All this money and this fame got me heartless / Never be a wedding plan for the heartless,” he sings, back to being the remorseless character fans are familiar with. 

“Heartless” is also The Weeknd’s first released single since his 2018 EP “My Dear Melancholy.” It is a great comeback song with high-energy production thanks to the assistance of trap producer, Metro Boomin. With the appearance of Metro Boomin on one of The Weeknd’s singles, fans remain excited for what other big artists may be featured on the upcoming album.

The amount of range The Weeknd’s three singles possess, both emotionally and lyrically, makes the three releases the perfect sneak peek into what the Weeknd has in store for his upcoming album. Not only does he pay homage to his emotional roots embedded in his previous albums such as “Trilogy,” but he also decides to take a new retro and electropop direction, reflecting many thematic elements from 1980s pop culture. Though The Weeknd has cited inspiration from many iconic 1980s artists throughout the entirety of his music career, the “After Hours” album promises a new colorful take in comparison to his previous albums, calling for excitement and something to enthusiastically look forward to. 

Angela Silva is an Entertainment Intern for the 2020 winter quarter. She can be reached at silvaaj1@uci.edu.