Listen to The Weeknd’s Sprawling New Single

Before he was a chart-topping global R&B fixture, The Weeknd was a genre-less electro crooner. The simple, seductive and tastefully sleazy sound of his early work, like his 2011 debut House of Balloons, won him underground plaudits before he graduated to collabs with Drake and became a pop mainstay with 2015’s inescapable bouncy ode to cocaine “Can’t Feel My Face.” He’s proven that he can be both a smooth R&B star and a Top 40 hitmaker, but his newest single finds him comfortably balancing the two.


“After Hours” is the Canadian’s latest single and title track off his upcoming fourth album. The song begins with a static punctuated minimal bassline, redolent of the XX’s early work, before escalating into a steamy club track as he mourns a broken relationship. The lyrics follow familiar Weeknd themes, with somber lines like “Thought I almost died in my dream again // Fightin’ for my life, I couldn’t breathe again” being countervailed with “Girl, I felt so alone inside of this crowded room // Different girls on the floor, distractin’ my thoughts of you.” The Weeknd’s sonic home base is obviously the club, and while the song doesn’t exactly charter new territory, it’s a welcome return for the so-called King of Sex Pop and promising taste of what’s to come.


After Hours will be released on March 20. Listen to the new single above.