It's the week of The Weeknd.
The Canadian superstar is busy prepping the release of his forthcoming second studio album, Beauty Behind The Madness, which, despite springing a leak last Friday, is set to hit retailers on August 28. And the hype should only increase as The Weeknd unveils his latest music video for the Kanye West-produced single, "Tell Your Friends."
We've talked at length about the hidden story unfolding in The Weeknd's music videos, and it would seem that "Tell Your Friends" definitely continues the trend. Directed by Grant Singer, the video takes us into the middle of the desert, where we stumble upon The Weeknd casually singing along while inside of a plastic bag as someone buries him alive (or dead?). Remember, his last video ended with his entire body catching flames, something we can only assume killed him. Low and behold, it's The Weeknd doing the burying! Or is it?!? Before you know it, the same creepy, "return the slab"-looking dude from the videos for "The Hills" and "Can't Feel My Face," who may or may not be the physical embodiment of Lucifer, shows up, only to get gunned down seconds later by a transformed (and seemingly less depressed) The Weeknd. The video ends with The Weeknd escaping from the desert at nightfall as the audio switches over to the album's triumphant intro, "Real Life."
But what does it all mean? A lot of recent conversation has revolved around The Weeknd shaking loose his alt-R&B origins and diving headfirst into a quest for pop stardom. Much like the phoenix being born anew after arising from the ashes of its predecessor, the video seems to indicate that Abel Tesfaye has killed off his former self, and that whether we like it or not, this new Weeknd is here to stay. Or, maybe he just thought this looked cool.
[By Brendan Varan. He implores you to read his 1 Listen album review of "Beauty Behind The Madness." Follow him on Twitter.]