The Weeknd’s After Hours has proven to be one of the most consistent and successful albums of 2020 so far. At the tail end of 2019, “Heartless” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. A few months later, After Hours became The Weeknd‘s fourth consecutive project to debut atop the Billboard 200, while “Blinding Lights” became his fifth chart-topping single in the U.S. and broke streaming and radio records across Europe. Shortly after the release of After Hours, the clear frontrunner for Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammys, The Weekend dropped an After Hours (Remixes) EP. The set featured remixes of several album tracks by artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Major Lazer, and Chromatics.
Now, in an effort to jumpstart the campaign for the album’s third radio single, “In Your Eyes,” The Weeknd has enlisted Doja Cat for the track’s latest remix. On this revamped version of the After Hours standout, Doja replaces The Weeknd’s second verse with a rap/sung verse from the perspective of the woman who The Weeknd is in this relationship with. Doja offers a response of sorts to The Weeknd’s first verse where he hints that his facade of darkness is just a ploy to avoid emotional attachment to his lovers. With lyrics like: “I never lied when I cried for you/And I know you cry too” and “Love the way you’re talkin’, love your style, but, ooh, babe/We know that you got it from me/And it’s haunting you deep, too hard not to see it,” Doja offers something fresh to The Weeknd’s lyrical universe. Much of The Weeknd’s music revolves around self-destructive tendencies and trauma-inducing relationships, but rarely does he open up the floor to the perspective of the women involved. Doja brings a different energy and vibe that balances out the track. Despite scoring her first major pop hit this year with “Say So,” Doja slides on the track like she’s the biggest pop star in the world and she effortlessly transitions between rapping and singing. If Hot Pink, didn’t convince you, Doja can sing just as well as she raps. Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything new about the track aside from Doja’s verse and a bit more saxophone. At the very least, the artists could have sung the final chorus together or interacted a bit more.
Admittedly, Megan and Beyoncé spoiled us with the “Savage” remix — a complete reworking of the song, but at best, Doja’s perspective-shifting verse offers something infinitely more interesting than any generic rent-a-rapper verse or DJ mix.