The Weeknd
Search Menu

Breaking down the Lyrics on ‘After Hours ‘ by ‘The Weeknd’

Released: 2020

Label: XO / Republic Records

Featuring: Ariana Grande

Abel Tesfaye, known to the hip-hop world as The Weeknd, has been an audacious force, reshaping and redefining the boundaries of the genre. And ‘After Hours,’ his fourth studio album, is a testament to his artistic agility, laced with raw emotions, introspective lyricism, and complex narratives. This is The Weeknd in his bleeding heart, stripped-back and unfiltered, a far cry from his early mixtape days in the cold streets of Toronto.

‘After Hours’ presents a journey through the mind of an artist grappling with love and loss, fame, and solitude. It’s an immersive sonic landscape, blending elements of 80s synth-pop with dark R&B undercurrents. From the melancholic confessions in ‘Alone Again’ and the nostalgic musings in ‘Snowchild’ to the grandeur of ‘Blinding Lights,’ each track unravels another layer of The Weeknd’s psyche.

While the album stands as a monument of The Weeknd’s musical evolution, it’s the intricate narratives embedded in the lyrics that truly lay bare his artistic brilliance. They demand revisiting and in-depth understanding that goes beyond surface-level listening.

So let’s get into it. From ‘Alone Again’ to ‘Save Your Tears (Remix) (with Ariana Grande) – Bonus Track,’ here are the Breaking down the Lyrics on ‘After Hours’ by ‘The Weeknd.’

Alone Again

He’s both the superstar basking in the neon lights of Sin City and the man uncomfortable in his skin, perpetually yearning for connection. The lyrics “In Vegas I feel so at home / I’m falling only for the night” encapsulate Abel’s struggles with transient pleasures and the constant pursuit of numbing loneliness. The repetitive chorus “I don’t know if I can be alone again” resonates with an anxious uncertainty, layering the track with a haunting vulnerability. It’s a gut-punch of an opener, setting the tone for the entire album’s exploration of fame, isolation, love and self-destruction.

Too Late

The lyrics speak volumes about the battles within, touching on themes of self-distrust and regret. Abel explores the beauty and terror of falling too deeply into the throes of love, painting a picture of a paradise transformed into a personal hell. It’s a cautionary tale about the consequences of recklessness in love, a recurring theme in the soulful world of this Canadian crooner. ‘Too Late’ is a composition of classic Weeknd, oozing with raw emotion, marked by late realizations and the daunting struggle of reconciliation. It’s a track that touches tender nerves, reminding us of the thin line between love and despair.

Hardest To Love

Abel Tesfaye – The Weeknd’s real name – dives into self-reflection, acknowledging his role in a failing relationship and his difficulty in being loved. The track skillfully melds the sorrowful themes with a synth-driven, upbeat tempo, churning out a paradoxical sonic experience that is quintessential Weeknd – danceable despair. Despite the foot-tapping rhythm, the lyrics are loaded with regret, unmet expectations, and longing for a past love, emblematic of the emotional ride that the ‘After Hours’ album encapsulates.

Scared To Live

It’s a flawless demonstration of his ability to lace layers of emotion into his lyrics, speaking to a universal human experience of love lost and the fear of moving on. The phrase “I’m the reason you forgot to love” resonates with painful insight, acknowledging his role in the fading of a relationship. His plea — “don’t be scared to live again” — is both a cautionary tale and a hopeful aspiration, a call to not let past pain prevent future happiness.


He takes us on a journey through the gritty snow-laden streets of his Toronto youth, painting a vibrant picture of struggle and resilience against all odds. In classic Weeknd fashion, he infuses his narrative with slick references to pop culture — talking about his ascent from a hard-knock life to the glitz and glamour of fame. The track is a lyrical seesaw between his raw beginnings and newfound opulence, laced with a subtle lament for the innocence lost in the process. “Snowchild” is a love letter to the journey — as grueling as it might have been — that made The Weeknd who he is today.

Escape From LA

The track captures Abel’s struggle with the superficiality, betrayal, and his relentless quest for authenticity amidst the bedazzling glitz of LA. He paints a vivid picture of his vulnerability, desire, addiction, and self-destructive tendencies. The lyrics delve deep into his inner turmoil, communicating a raw yearning for escape. Beneath the veneer of fame, wealth, and sexual conquests, the track reflects a stark ethos of disenchantment and disillusionment, portraying LA as an existential trap while also unmasking The Weeknd’s explosive fame and personal trials.


The lyrics revolve around his unabashed parade of indulgence – drugs, sex, fame, and the toxic cycle it spins, emblematized by the soul numbing refrain, “cause I’m heartless”. Navigating this maze, he paints how hollow his fast life feels, the phantasm of love that’s just out of reach, and a desperate craving for emotional anchorage, shouting out that he’s just trying to do right, despite being haunted by his roots in a ‘low-life’. It’s grim, it’s raw, and it’s unmistakably The Weeknd, using music as cathartic revelation of his perpetual struggle.


These lyrics offer a raw journey down the boulevards of hedonism, tinged with melancholy and regret. He distills the struggle of succumbing to old habits while aspiring to be a better version of himself. The intense dichotomy of his fast-living lifestyle and the piercing solitude faced when he’s “coming down” are stark. A nod to Vegas — a symbol of The Weeknd’s lavish, vice-laden life — contrasts potent imagery of “Heaven’s gate,” underlining the constant tug-of-war between salvation and ruin that defines this haunting track.

Blinding Lights

Dropping bars about Sin City’s cold emptiness, The Weeknd paints a neon-lit melancholy, haunted by loneliness, but punctuated by hope. References to withdrawals, drowning in the night, and the quest for the elusive touch, weave together a narrative of a man battling isolation, yearning for a connection that transcends superficial glitz. The repeated, poignant cry of being blinded and unable to sleep until he feels “your touch” underscores the atmosphere of longing and desire. It’s a testament to The Weeknd’s ability to marry the shiny, upbeat ’80s aesthetics with raw, emotive lyrics that articulate his ardent craving for love and companionship.

In Your Eyes

This track is a captivating deep dive into internal battles, the struggle to face your own demons and the enigma of trying to read someone else’s pain. The Weeknd propels us with his intoxicating vocals into a world where he is ‘blind’ to the deceit in a lover’s eyes, reflecting the fear of confronting uncomfortable truths. With this hit, Abel proves again that his artistry goes beyond the surface, delving into the psyche, and manifesting the conflict between knowing and obliviousness in relationships. A true banger, “In Your Eyes” is a testament to The Weeknd’s Yeezus-level rap vision and soul-deep sensitivities.

Save Your Tears

It’s a raw examination of the cyclic nature of love and heartbreak, told with brutal honesty. Abel delves into why he pushes away those he loves, placing the blame squarely on his own shoulders. The Weeknd is both villain and victim, embodying the heartbreaker and the heartbroken. He peppered in a clever switch-up, borrowing heartbreak from his lover’s perspective – acknowledging that he broke her heart like his was once shattered. The song epitomizes The Weeknd’s artistry – beautifully brutal lyrics wrapped in pop-perfect production. It’s a tear-jerker, but not for the reason you’d expect – save your tears, indeed.

Repeat After Me (Interlude)

He’s stuck deep in the feels with this cut, demanding the truth about his lover’s fidelity. It’s that classic Weeknd blend of the braggadocious and the brooding. The raw lyrics imply emotional manipulation, asserting that if she thinks about him while with another man, then she doesn’t truly love that man. Here, The Weeknd proves once again why he’s the reigning king of moody, introspective jams, gut-wrenching us with his candid heartbreak and unflinching honesty.

After Hours

With a pulsating beat that mirrors a racing heart, The Weeknd, a.k.a. Abel Tesfaye, plunges us into his sleepless nights where he battles ghosts of lost love. The lyrical introspection reveals a man grappling with his mistakes, yearning for redemption and a return to an intimacy that’s now just a memory. The refrain “Where are you now when I need you most?” echoes the universal ache of loneliness and unfulfilled desires. By flipping between past transgressions and the earnest promise of a better future, he delivers an emotional rollercoaster that hits you square in the feelings.

Until I Bleed Out

Metaphorically ‘bleeding out’, he channels anguish and longing, displaying a stark vulnerability, an echo of the raw ethos of hip-hop. As the finale of the original album listings, it offers closure, a brutal chant transmuted into an eerie lullaby. From his numbness and terror in the face of an emotional paralysis, to his desperate yearning for grounding in a spiraling existence, the lyrical narrative serves as a stark reflection of his inner turmoil, amplified by haunting production. Through his layered confessionals, Abel effectively decouples from the cyclone of fame, love, and intoxication that often blurs the lines in his psyche.

Nothing Compares – Bonus Track

The lyrics depict feelings of entrapment and desolation post break-up, embodied in lines like “nothing compares to the emptiness we both share”. The Weeknd vacillates between regret and acceptance, embodying raw emotions made palpable through his devout lyrical renderings. As the track unfolds, he admits his human weaknesses, exposes his inability to mend his heart, and acknowledges a hopelessly intoxicating love that leaves him asphyxiated. An anthem of unfulfilled love, this track conveys the emptiness that contrasts the brighter spots of ‘After Hours’, making it a standout.

Missed You – Bonus Track

Abel’s lyrics paint a vivid picture of a man wracked with guilt, reflecting on an old flame he couldn’t commit to, only to come to the realization that he did her wrong. It’s classic Weeknd – full of raw emotion wrapped in his unmistakable falsetto. His words aren’t just sung, they’re felt – his remorse, his yearning, it’s all laid bare. Notably, he doesn’t place the blame on the woman he lost, but squarely on himself. It’s a poignant reckoning, providing insight into Abel’s struggle with commitment, and capturing the pathos of missed opportunities.

Final Lullaby – Bonus Track

The song sees Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a The Weeknd, grappling with loss and a sense of impending finality – a chapter closing in his life. Sentiments of desperation and the struggle to let go bleed through the lines, as he acknowledges the broken state of the relationship and the need for peace – a peace found in sleep, both literal and metaphorical. This is classic Weeknd, exposing his deepest vulnerabilities over a stripped-down, lullabiesque beat that underscores the rawness of his emotions.

Save Your Tears (Remix) (with Ariana Grande) – Bonus Track

The lyrics reveal a narrative of failed romance, with The Weeknd portraying a character who recognizes his toxicity, admitting he induces pain and thus pleading his lover to ‘Save your tears for another day.’ Grande’s vocals further augment this narrative, reflecting the female perspective on this tormented love saga. The ‘Pisces moon’ line introduces a celestial touch, bringing a dash of astrology into the mix, symbolizing the emotional complexity surrounding their relationship. Overall, this poignant remix is an introspective trip, urging listeners to question the consequences of their actions and choices in love.

Related Posts