Heal this One of a Kind Anxiety

With The Weeknd’s new album

After Hours album cover, the latest from The Weeknd- iTunes

he world will never be the same. This is a fact, unlike those given by Trump and the US coronavirus task force team. Everything will change, from the way we interact with others to the products we consume on a daily basis. What is happening is surreal, no one could have predicted a virus capable of so much damage. Consistently watching the news- with new developments happening by the hour- can be overwhelming.

For some, this unbelievable situation may bring lots of anxiety in their new temporary life. We are required to change the way we are living; no more going out and hanging out with friends. We are no longer able to do things that were once taken for granted. Yet, music remains a good remedy for our day-to-day insecurities. Music doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t raise walls between neighborhoods. More than ever, music has its usefulness. It will sadly never take back the lives that are cruelly being taken away from this world.

Melodies can heal souls of family members who have lost a close one (some that are so down and need something, anything, to bring them back up). That feeling when you know that you are not alone in this world, even though it might feel otherwise when you are practising social distancing 24/7.

A new music project, a hell of a story, was brought to light on March 20. A few days after appearing on SNL alongside Daniel Craig, The Weeknd released After Hours, a 14-track album. It isn’t just about music, it is intermingled with visuals: just like when you are captivated by a movie. The music videos all have a similar theme. In them, Abel has a shiny red suit that resonates in all of our dreams. In recent days, lots of music critics have said that the sound is inspired by what was done in the 1980s. Inspired, but not defined. No one writes and sings quite like The Weeknd.

Scared to Live debut: one of The Weeknd’s moving performances on SNL, on March 7. The Weeknd YouTube Channel

The global sensation, who juggles with R&B and pop, changed his style throughout the years. He is himself, more than ever.

After Hours is obviously about his ex-girlfriend. In the album press release, he said: “let the music heal us all during these dark times.” Mission accomplished: that’s what the album does. It gives us a light of hope during these dark days.

The Weeknd, better known as Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, got most of his success from the song Can’t Feel My Face. His last album, Starboy, is four years old. I loved his first project, but back then, in 2011, no one seemed to care. That trilogy of mixtapes brought new sounds, partly inspired by his mentor Drake (both singers are from Toronto).

Same goes for Kiss Land, released in September 2013, when I was living the worst moments of my life. Still, in all of that pain and those doubts, I kept going after the unthinkable was avoided. And this is why Wanderlust will remain one of my favourite songs.

Kind of rare for artists these days, there are no guest singers on After Hours. Abel’s voice is the only one you hear for more than 50 minutes.

On The Weeknd’s new album, giving us the post-breakup feeling, Save Your Tears makes us believe that a better world is on the horizon. In the same vain, After Hours makes us feel good, makes us feel invincible. You could be at the bottom of a volcano with lava coming towards you, it wouldn’t matter. You can feel that you are higher than the clouds with that sound. You know that you are on top of the world, dancing your way towards that guy who’s looking at you in the club.

Hardest To Love is my favourite one of them all, even though it has a depressing vibe to it. The love message behind the lyrics is spot on. Some guys are the hardest to love. Will we ever know why?

The music video for In Your Eyes is a masterpiece. The song is great, yet it isn’t anything without the movie that goes with it.

In Your Eyes music video- The Weeknd’s YouTube channel

That’s what the singer wanted to do with After Hours: impose a theme. Probably it is about the hardships of love (showing how heartbreak can sometimes feel like a big punch in the face). It probably explains his album cover and his most recent performances.

Way to go The Weeknd, a true Canadian that makes us proud on the world stage. All of his albums are unique, with no expiration date, unlike most products we consume. It serves as an escape from everything. We all fall apart, all run away from reality. In the end, we come back, once the tears have fallen down.

Heal your insecurities during this lonely and stressful time. Throughout the day, even during those after hours in the night, when insomnia takes a toll on you. This is an evening album for when the world is sleeping and thinking wakes you up.

At least there is one thing to celebrate right now…

Graduated with a masters degree in politics from the University of Quebec in Montreal. Human rights, LGBT issues, sports and music. Twitter: @OlivierPilon

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