Still, the moods explored on After Hours — anxiety, anhedonia, depression — are perfectly suited for the moment, if you can get beyond the actual situations that Tesfaye depicts in his songs. The album sounds incredible. Musically, After Hours exists within the same dark, flickering synthy post-soul territory that has always been the Weeknd’s home. But Tesfaye and his collaborators continue to find new spaces to explore within that edifice. “Too Late” plunges into the polished jitters of early-’00s UK garage. “Hardest To Live” adapts glimmering Max Martin melodies to fit the rushing pulse of car-commercial drum-‘n’-bass. A suite of songs in the middle of the album is pure coke-dusted mid-’80s yuppie club-pop, right down to the saxophone outro on “In Your Eyes.” In its kaleidoscopic, meditative majesty, the title track sounds like a blockbuster-budget Chromatics.
I am intrigued by Breihan’s point about indulgence and whether this will be the ‘end of something’:
After Hours is a sad rich guy complaining that a girl doesn’t love him anymore, pledging that he’s going to keep fucking random people and snorting random drugs until he doesn’t feel so bad. A couple of weeks ago, I wouldn’t have blinked at that. Today, as an entire world stares down a long and confusing struggle, I have a hard time summoning any empathy for the shit that Abel Tesfaye is talking about.
I guess time will tell. IN the mean time I am going to dive into the work of Oneohtrix Point Never.
Place between The Midnight and Twin Shadown