After nearly a three-year wait, Mack Wilds delivers the follow-up to his criminally underrated New York: A Love Story. On AfterHours, Wilds is more mature, racy, and at times, downright ill-mannered as he explores love’s more carnal side. It works for him only in part.
“Bonnie & Clyde”, a scandalous track about an intense affair, is the album’s brightest moment. It offers that smooth, hip-hop infused sound that’s quickly becoming Wilds’ signature. “Choose” is a perfectly executed trap ballad, and “Stolen Gold” is a seductive standout where Wilds showcases his vocal range and flexes his bad boy persona.
Overall, AfterHours is a decent album. However, it lacks the nuance that gave its predecessor much of its charm. On his first effort, Wilds mastered the art of sexy subtlety but here, he’s opts for the more brash, “beat-your-p*ssy-up-six-ways-from-Sunday” stylings of say, a Trey Songz or an August Alsina. This makes for tired, unimaginative lyrics (“Senses” and “Go Crazy” being the worst offenders) that try too hard to be sultry. There’s nothing wrong with keeping it sexy, but Wilds has already proven he has more finesse than his peers and I wish he’d opted to employ it on this album.
Still though, AfterHours is strong enough to prove that his first project wasn’t a fluke. Although not every risk he took on this record paid off, it’s at least promising that Wilds is willing to experiment and push his own limits. It’s definitely worth listening to, but Wilds has yet to top himself.