After spending his ‘After Hours’ creating the ‘greatest hit’ in Billboard history, The Weeknd is ready to greet the ‘dawn’ of a new era with a new album. Here’s what we know so far.
The Weeknd‘s After Hours was one of the biggest albums of 2020. Released in March, right as the COVID-19 pandemic surged and forced a series of worldwide lockdowns, it became a soundtrack to a very dark time. “After Hours hits the best balance yet of the gloomy melodrama of the Weeknd’s early EPs or his 2018 release My Dear Melancholy and the pop slickness of his 2016 LP Starboy,” wrote Jon Dolan in Rolling Stone’s review of the album. The review dropped a few days after the album, and it called the second single “Europhile synth-pop-steeped” song that evoked “Depeche Mode and the Human League in its lonely-planet luster.” The reviewer and, arguably, nobody had any idea just how big “Blinding Lights” was going to be.
Calling “Blinding Lights” the “greatest hit” is not an exaggeration. While Lil Nas X’s “OId Town Road” has the record of most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Blinding Lights” shattered the records for most weeks in the top five (43), top 10 (57), top 40 (86) and on the Hot 100 (90). This marathon unseated Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” as Billboard’s Greatest of All Time in 2021. At the time of its coronation by Billboard, the song was certified 8x Platinum by the RIAA. It was his second-best selling song, behind the 11x Platinum-certified “The Hills.”
Album-wise, The Weeknd is no stranger to the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200. Though his 2013 debut studio album, Kiss Land, only reached No. 2, his follow-ups – 2015’s Beauty Behind the Madness, 2016’s Starboy, and 2020’s After Hours – all topped the chart. Even his 2018 EP, My Dear Melancholy, went to No. 1 in the United States and his homeland of Canada. They’ve all sold insanely well, too. Beauty was 4x Platinum as of 2021. Starboy was 3x Platinum, while After Hours was a double-Platinum album.
Sadly, After Hours’ success was somewhat tarnished in 2020 when The Recording Academy rolled out the nominations for the 63 rd Grammy Awards. After Hours and “Blinding Lights” were completely shut out, earning not a single nomination. The fallout – the Weeknd blasted the Academy as “corrupt” and demanded transparency before vowing to never submit his music for consideration again – ultimately led to the elimination of the “secret” nomination committees. However, The Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr told Variety that the “discussions about possibly removing nominations review started long ago and the real work of putting together a subcommittee to get this right started about eight or nine months ago, so, this isn’t a direct ‘reaction’ to” the Weeknd’s outrage.
As the world waits for The Weeknd’s next album, here’s what we know so far.
When Will The Weeknd’s New Album Be Released?
As of November 2021, The Weeknd has not announced a release date for his new album.
“A lot has been going down, a lot of moving pieces. Been settling in a new home. Been shooting videos. Been working on pre-productions for another world. Working on music for the pre-productions for the other world. Taking time to myself so I don’t completely lose my mind. But now we’re back,” he said on an Oct. 5 episode of his Apple Music 1 radio show, Memento Mori (per Billboard). “I hope you had a great summer. Some exciting features coming out in the fall before the album drops. … Some Dawn updates: Album is complete. Only thing that’s missing is a couple of characters who are key to the narrative — some people that are near and dear to me, some people that inspired my life as a child, and some that inspire me now. More to come in the following months.”
The Weeknd told The Hollywood Reporter in late August that he was “finishing the new album right now. It should be done by the end of this month, and we’re just kind of figuring out when to put it out.”
What Is The Weeknd’s New Album Called?
As of November 2021, the Weeknd has yet to confirm the name of the new album.
There was initial speculation that it’s called The Dawn, or Dawn Is Coming. “If the last record is the after hours of the night,” he told Variety in May 2021, “then the dawn is coming.” Many outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter, referred to it as The Dawn Is Coming.
“I started writing the [next] album during the pandemic, which felt like we’re all in this scary, unknown territory,” he told Billboard when discussing the creation of “Blinding Lights.” (For the feature, The Weeknd sat in front of a sign that read “The Dawn Is Coming.”) “And I wanted to make music I thought sounded like going outside — I was obsessed with that feeling. I just felt like I didn’t know how to make this album until now. It probably would be too ambitious for me prior. I knew what I liked, but I felt like I didn’t have the skill sets to deliver that type of project until now.”
What’s The Weeknd’s New Record Going To Sound Like?
“It’s the album I’ve always wanted to make,” he told GQ’s Mark Anthony Green, who was given a preview of the music.
“It became nearly impossible to find something else to listen to. Everything else sounded soft. Or didn’t groove enough. Or felt too happy. Or too sad,” wrote Green, who described it as “packed with party records,” an album full of “Quincy Jones meets Giorgio Moroder meets the best-night-of-your-f-cking-life party records.”
During the Aug. 11 episode of Momento Mari, he played “Toxic” and “Everytime” from Britney Spears’ 2003 album In The Zone. According to the episode’s description, it was a “mix of music that showcases tracks inspiring the Dawn era.” The Weeknd also played tracks by Kid Cudi, Kanye West, and Tyler, The Creator. Abel also played music by Swedish House Mafia, the DJ group he’d work with on “Moth to A Flame,” from their Paradise Again album.
“Who knows what the next one is going to sound like?” he told Billboard in November 2021. “When it comes to my albums, there is a cohesive sound going on, but I can’t really stick to one style. So you’ll hear EDM, hip-hop, and three other types of sounds in one song — and somehow, we make it work.”
Who Will Feature On The Weeknd’s New Album?
In the past, The Weeknd’s albums have featured appearances by Daft Punk, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar, and Ed Sheeran. After Hours was strictly a Weeknd-centric project, with no features on the official album. However, Ariana Grande did jump on a remix of “Save Your Tears,” which helped propel it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. With Dawn, The Weeknd might be throwing a party, and everyone’s invited. He did say he was waiting for “a couple of characters who are key to the narrative,” so maybe fans can expect a return of Kendrick, Lana, and Ariana on the new album?
What Songs Are Going To Be On The Weeknd’s New Album?
As of November 2021, The Weeknd has two free-floating singles out in the world. He put out “Take My Breath,” presumable the lead single from his next album, on Aug. 6. It reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Three months later, he released “One Right Now,” a song featuring Post Malone. So, this could also mean that “One Right Now” will be on The Weekend’s new album – as will Post, who should be readying the rollout of his next album, too.
-It’sIt’s been nearly two years since The Weeknd blinded us with the light. Nit’sit’s time that we rub our eyes, get some sleep and get ready to greet “he “awn” of this dynamusician’san’s next era.