Released on March 20, 2020, After Hours marked the Weeknd’s (Abel Tesfaye) fourth studio album. Abel, a popular Canadian singer, known for his R&B pop songs, immediately caught the attention of listeners all over the world as After Hours soon became an iconic album. Spending 90 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, “Blinding Lights” became the top song of 2020. The album explores themes regarding loneliness, heartbreak, regret, self-loathing and so much more. The 14 song album (17 in deluxe) encompasses the Weeknd’s full character and undoubtedly is one of the best albums of all time. Each song, unique to their own accord, easily deserves a 10/10, so ranking them was very difficult.
14. “Repeat After Me (Interlude)”
The 3:14 minute interlude contains heavy bass and trap rhythms but falls a little short when it comes to lyrics. Although the song does include the very memorable line of “You don’t love him if you’re thinking of me,” the repetitiveness of it ends up making the interlude less appealing to the listener.
13. “Blinding Lights”
The song voices the importance of not driving while intoxicated and not being infatuated with someone to the point where you turn a blind eye to their horrific flaws. The catchy beat features a sample from the 80’s song “Young Turks” by Rod Stewart. “Blinding Lights” grossed billions of streams globally across multiple platforms and is by far the most well known song from the album. However, the song has been severely overplayed, making it less enjoyable to listen to now.
12. “Until I Bleed Out”
“Until I Bleed Out” wraps up the album very well but does so in an abrupt manner. The song has extremely unique instrumentals and sounds almost like a video-game. To the average listener, the song may come off across as peculiar and strange due to the abnormal tune and lyrics.
The Weeknd sings about his past and reminisces about his journey to how he got to where he is today. “Snowchild” also makes reference to another song by The Weeknd: “Tell Your Friends” from Beauty Behind the Madness.
10. “Hardest to Love”
The name of the song speaks for itself as the lyrics perfectfully depict the tedious task of loving a cold heartless man like The Weeknd. Yet again, he shows growth of his character by taking the fault in his failed relationship.
9. “Escape from L.A.”
Accompanied by a repetitive sluggish beat, “Escape from L.A.” explains how Los Angeles appears as the most perfect place to live for upcoming artists but in reality, has a very negative environment. At first, the song comes off as just average but after a few listens, you start to really feel the lyrics and better understand the message.
8. “Too Late”
The relatable act of begging for forgiveness from a past lover shines through in the lyrics of this electro-R&B song. Also, the song title fits the catchy lyrics of the song as he compares his lover to his shining light.
7. “In Your Eyes”
Vulnerable, The Weeknd reveals the difficulty of trusting your own judgment. The song maintains a very catchy synth-pop beat and has very memorable lyrics such as, “I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive.”
6. “Save Your Tears”
“Save Your Tears” combines The Weeknd’s older and darker style with his newer upbeat pop. Instead of coming off as extremely cold to his past/current lovers, he instead shows a more remorseful attitude and even hints at feeling major regret for his distasteful actions towards them (in some respects).
Featuring an extremely upbeat rhythm and powerful lyrics, “Heartless” easily makes anyone nod their head appreciatively to the beat. The music video for the song also features fascinating cinematography.
4. “Scared to Live”
The severely underrated song, “Scared to Live,” features passionate lyrics and a slow rhythm. In the song, The Weeknd sings about his breakup and how his past love finds it difficult to leave behind the memory of their torn relationship.
Yet again, another severely underrated song, “Faith”, has a plethora of seamless beat transitions and eerie feeling. The lyrics foster an uneasy feeling in the listener yet entice them to continue listening.
2. “Alone Again”
The first song on the album, “Alone Again”, introduces the album’s overall dark tune and beat. The Weeknd shows off his impressive vocal abilities throughout the song, making the song a very enjoyable listen while driving around late at night.
1. “After Hours”
Undoubtedly, the song sharing the same name as the album ranks first place. “After Hours” encompasses the full meaning of the album and has beautiful beat transitions, lyrics, and rhythm. The song makes the listener feel regret, glee, and pride all at the same time.
Without a doubt, the iconic After Hours album pleases all listeners from those who like to listen to passionate pop, melancholy alternative, and depressing R&B. The ranking of the songs do not truly show the greatness behind them. The intricate workings of the songs create a contiguous storyline for the listener to follow and allows for them to feel a variety of emotions. With this brilliant album, The Weeknd showcases himself not only as a talented musician but also a clever storyteller.