It’s official. The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” has finally broken its tie with Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” edging over the latter and becoming the longest-charting song in Billboard history. The storied success of the track is one for the ages, as The Weeknd cultivates a brand new sound with the same old genius that one can always expect from Abel.
Two days before “Blinding Lights” was released in November 2019, The Weeknd released a different song that went straight to the top of the Hot 100 chart. The song “Heartless” was unveiled as the first taste of his fourth full-length album, After Hours. His creative genius has always been headlined by his massive 2016 album Starboy, which introduced the world to modern classics like “Can’t Feel My Face,” “The Hills,” and the titular “Starboy.”
As a certified pop A-lister, The Weeknd has already established himself as a hitmaker to look out for, with top 40 radio and streaming services awaiting his every release. However, name recognition alone can only take an artist so far. ”Heartless” had a decent chart run, but it was quickly overshadowed by other releases. “Blinding Lights,” on the other hand, has garnered one-of-a-kind longevity that hasn’t been achieved since the time of writing.
Breaking records and captivating audiences worldwide, The Weeknd has fully established his brand in the mainstream pop scene. An artist through and through, he cannot be solely defined by a single genre, to the point that he deftly blurs the lines of what it means to belong to an afternoon top 40 mix, or soulful R&B playlists, or even a rave song that’s blasting all over night clubs. His versatility knows no bounds, and it’s part of why his distinct sound has dominated the airwaves for this long.
“Blinding Lights” took off on a multitude of platforms, allowing the single to reach a wide base of listeners that most artists wouldn’t be able to reach. Apart from breaking the Hot 100 longevity record, the song has also topped a whopping 13 different Billboard charts from Hot R&B Songs, Radio Songs, Adult Contemporary, and many more.
After Hours is definitely The Weeknd’s biggest era to date. It might be true that he had multiple number one singles prior to his latest project, but his current run has trumped the previous success of any of his preceding projects. His fourth full-length album, After Hours, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 Chart in April 2020 with 444,000 equivalent album units, according to MRC Data.“Blinding Lights” hit number 1 on the Hot 100 the same week as the album’s chart debut. The follow-up single “In Your Eyes” followed straight to the chart’s top 20, and the fourth single, “Save Your Tears,” reached the top earlier in 2021 after Ariana Grande featured on the official remix. Overall, After Hours has been a massive success for The Weeknd. The success and the creative genius of the album have continuously fueled the record-breaking Billboard run of “Blinding Lights.” It has definitely been an exciting year for music, and The Weeknd stands at the top of his game and at the summit of the music industry.