After Hours: Album Review

Ellis Maloney, News Editor

As the Viewer staff and I untangle the details of this new column — where we take your favorite albums and playlists, review them and give them a rating — we wanted to start out with a popular album recognized by many high schoolers. With multiple requests for this 2020 hit, After Hours by The Weeknd will be our first album to review.

After Hours is The Weeknd’s sixth studio album. Some of the album sounds similar to his 2016 hit, Starboy. Much like in Starboy, The Weeknd developed a modern, pop-sounding album while also incorporating other genres like R&B and 80s pop. The cover art and the music videos attached to this album reinforce a retro, alternative aesthetic.

The songs on this album have a very rich, full sound which is attributed to the heavy use of synth. Although the instrumental on most of these songs sound thick and overpowering, The Weeknd’s high vocal range is vibrant enough to catch the ears of listeners over the synth and bass.

Behind these tracks are meaningful and heartfelt lyrics, especially in songs like Hardest to Love, Escape from LA and Save Your Tears. The Weeknd even dabbles into his own personal problems, discussing dysfunctional relationships he has had and how he has lost his sobriety. On the contrary, he illustrates himself as cold and emotionless in tracks like Snowchild and Heartless.

Some songs from this album that are worth mentioning are the two singles that preceded this album’s release. Blinding Lights, which was the world’s most streamed song in 2020, embodied this 80s pop vibe that is the centerpiece of the album. Heartless, the other single, was another hit with a trap beat that you might hear at a party rather than on the radio. Another track worthy of mention is In Your Eyes, an upbeat modern disco song with catchy vocals.

I noticed that the sounds on this album were overused, so some of the songs sounded too similar. I also might add that for many tracks on this album, The Weeknd’s vocals are too touched up, which overshadows his talented voice that was more prominent in Starboy.

Overall, I enjoyed the songs from After Hours, and I especially liked the ideas behind this album. This retro R&B sound that many contemporary artists like Tyler, The Creator and Childish Gambino have explored in their own works was soundly implemented by The Weeknd.


This album scores a solid 8/10 in my opinion.