It’s no surprise that a middle-aged man like myself isn’t overly hip to The Weeknd. But even though, I’m into a lot of great Booze-Rock, Jazz, and New Wave, I assure you I have my ear to the ground when it comes to the world’s hottest artists. So when the barrage of Super Bowl commercials featuring The Weeknd came bopping across my various screens, I wasn’t entirely taken by surprise. No judgment, but his face looks a little different than the last time he briefly occupied my consciousness.
What did surprise me was that “Blinding Lights” finally caught enough of my attention that I had to give his recent album After Hours a full listen. Partially due to the Super Bowl commercial, as well as my recent cross-country drive during which I had a hard time switching stations without hearing “Save Your Tears.” Both tracks gave me the impression that this entire album might be an ode to the pop synth sounds of yesteryear — it is not.
After Hours is a perfectly fine album. Along with many reviewers, I enjoy the touches of drum’n’bass and UK garage on some of the tracks, but I am mostly here for the new wave, synth-pop tracks that initially piqued my interest.
“Save Your Tears”
To be completely transparent, “Save Your Tears” is the sole reason I gave After Hours a full listen. The sad, synth-pop melody is truly intoxicating. I was immediately transported back in time, playing in the arcade or skating around the roller rink. This feeling is by design with production nods and similarities to 80’s new wave sound, but I couldn’t be happier about it.https://youtu.be/XXYlFuWEuKI
“In Your Eyes”
There is a montage quality to the heavy keyboard and electronic drum kit intro of “In Your Eyes” that I really enjoy. Dancier than “Save Your Tears” (with the bonus of Kenny G’s sax appeal) this track lends true credibility to the art within the production of this track.
There really isn’t much more I can say about the top pop song of 2020 besides being a fan of it. Our guy Alex Beene explains “Blinding Lights” pandemic journey here.