What’s Left for the Weeknd to Conquer?

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It may have appeared that the Weeknd had nowhere else to go after his 2020 album “After Hours,” which included the global hit “Blinding Lights,” that he’d finally reached the summit of the mountain he’d spent the decade climbing, starting out as a freaky recalibrator of R&B and ending up making unifying 1980s-style hits that need no translation.

Dawn FM, his latest release, suggests at least one future direction: leaning in on specific sections and subgenres of that decade in order to explore methods for expanding the niche.

During this week’s Popcast, we’ll be discussing how to make big tent pop in an age of micro, and just how few options remain for the biggest mainstream pop star’s next steps.