The Beat Drop

Sean Bessette, Scene Editor

Welcome to The Beat Drop by Sean Bessette, my weekly column where I’ll write about the music I listen to on a weekly basis. My music taste focuses around hip-hop/rap, a little R&B and a little pop. I’ll review recently released songs and albums plus general events that have happened in the music industry lately.

“After Hours”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been listening to “After Hours,” The Weeknd’s fourth studio album, relentlessly. When the album first released on March 20, 2020, I didn’t really give it much of a chance. It wasn’t until recently that I realized this album’s greatness.

The tracklist has no misses. It’s nearly impossible to pick out favorite tracks because each song is so strong. “Alone Again” and “Too Late” act as the perfect introduction to the album. The strongest section is five tracks starting with “Heartless” and ending with “Save Your Tears.” “Blinding Lights” became the biggest song in the world for months. The title track’s multiple beat changes makes it an unforgettable listen. “Until I Bleed Out” is a fitting outro track.

The music on “After Hours” is psychedelic. It’s eerie and dark. It’s the type of album you listen to on a late-night car drive.

For me, it’s more than just the music. It’s the whole “After Hours” era. It’s a “brain melting psychotic chapter,” as The Weeknd put it on a Nov. 26, 2019 Instagram post. That’s the best way to put it. 

The music videos tell a complete story about a hazy night in Las Vegas. Every appearance from The Weeknd since this era started has been him in that iconic red suit from the cover. He’s devoted to the theme attached to the album, the same theme that started 16 months ago.

The album has a ton of replay value. I never find myself getting tired of listening. “After Hours” is truly one of a kind and is easily one of the best albums released in 2020. It’s a shame that the GRAMMYs didn’t nominate the album for any awards.

New Music 2/26

My favorite release last Friday was the new Pop Smoke single, “AP,” from the film “Boogie.” Pop Smoke has a large role in the film. The song is a typical, solid Pop Smoke song with a catchy hook and high energy.

I enjoyed the new YG song featuring Big Sean titled “Go Big,” from the “Coming 2 America” soundtrack. I’m not sure it’ll have much replay value in the future, but it is a fun track to save for now.

I listened to the deluxe release of “A N N I V E R S A R Y” by Bryson Tiller. I enjoy the original album that released on Oct. 2, 2020. I didn’t think the deluxe was necessary. The five new songs on the deluxe didn’t add much for me. I enjoyed the Big Sean feature on “Still Yours.”

Other than the Pop Smoke single, the YG single and the Bryson Tiller deluxe, nothing else really piqued my interest from last Friday.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, Drakeo The Ruler released an album titled “The Truth Hurts.” For the most part, this project is boring and it runs too long. I was impressed by a couple of standout tracks. I enjoyed “Dawn Toliver” featuring Don Toliver and Ketchy The Great. Toliver’s verse on this song is elite. I also enjoyed “Talk To Me” featuring Drake. Drake’s value as a feature is showcased on this track. His hook is very strong.

“Silk Sonic”

Last Thursday night, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak announced the release of a collaborative album under the band name, “Silk Sonic.” The album release date is unconfirmed but the lead single will be released next Friday, March 5.

Bruno Mars hasn’t released an album in over 1,500 days with “24K Magic.” I’m really looking forward to hearing some new Bruno Mars. He never misses. I’m very intrigued that he chose to make his return with a collaborative album rather than a solo album.

Anderson .Paak, on the other hand, last released an album in 2019 titled “Ventura.” .Paak isn’t mainstream. He’s a niche artist. He’s widely respected by a smaller audience and relatively unknown to everyone else.

I was introduced to .Paak through some of his features. I then dove into his solo works. “Malibu” and “Oxnard” are great albums that I highly recommend before listening to “Silk Sonic.” .Paak’s solo albums are underrated and I really hope this album with Bruno Mars gives him some deserved recognition.

This collaboration is a dream. The potential both artists have together is incredible. This album has instant classic and album of the year potential. I can’t wait for the lead single this Friday.