The fever was rising, I shivered and sweated as strep throat racked my body, reminding me why I loathed being sick. Empty bottles of water littered the floor, prescribed bottles of antibiotics sat on the dresser, eating was unbearable, it was like swallowing knives, music was my only comfort.
A song started and I thought, this is what Dracula meets Michael Jackson sounds like. It was a peculiar description, one that my feverish mind continued to play with as the song progressed, but by the end I was certain; Abel Tesfaye is a vampire.
With each passing record on his new album, I saw visions of him seducing and feasting on the flesh of unsuspecting women and racing to his lair in the hills before sunrise. His ability to consume an absurd amount of drugs with no fear of overdosing and the way women flocked to him as if under hypnosis started to seem reasonable. The mysterious singer that comes to life at night who has a thirst for thrills that can only be quenched by women, drugs, and debauchery being a vampire made more sense than Lil B cursing NBA players and Deez Nuts running for president.
Since House Of Balloons, there’s been a mystique that surrounded The Weeknd. Even before his face was revealed, the charisma was embedded in every song. He produced a body of work that revealed a lifestyle of a man living in darkness, painting the pictures of an underworld that only comes alive under the moon’s gaze. There’s an undeniable allure to his documentation of decadence. Somewhere a house existed where lines of cocaine sparkled on glass tables, teeming with hot women and base heads with bellies full of liquor, lean, and downers, and at the center of all this madness is a doleful eyed singer that seemed to be both the villain and the victim.
None of this makes him a classic vampire—there’s no pale skin, protruding teeth, weakness to garlic, none of the stereotypes that are related to night walkers—but at the heart of his music, there are themes that can connect with the heart of any vampire story.
The connection is the strongest with the release of his new album, Beauty Behind The Madness. It truly portrays The Weeknd as a tortured romantic ("Prisoner") that is void of morals and losing his sense of human emotion ("Shameless"). His greatest weapon is seduction ("Acquainted"), the women he sings about are figures for his erotic fixations ("Often") or lovers he is incapable of loving ("As You Are"). He treats sex as survival while love is the forbidden fruit. Love would be the death of him ("Can’t Feel My Face"). In a distant time, the very loft he operates in could very well be a castle in Transylvania.
The original Dracula, the one written by Bram Stoker in 1897, illustrated vampirism as a disease of contagious demonic possession, an ongoing cycle of sex, blood and death. It became the most influential archetype for which all other vampire stories drew inspiration, but over time authors expanded and evolved the legend to fit the time.
If Abel Tesfaye was really a vampire, I think he would fit into the 1987 movie, The Lost Boys. Well, he fits more into the movie’s tagline than the actual plot; “Sleep all day, party all night, never grow old, never die, it's fun to be a vampire.” While the movie is a classic in a sense of vampire-teen-movies, the tagline is also an accurate description of The Weeknd’s persona. There’s no fear of death during the nights of binging, there’s an undertone of naïve eternal youth that is attached to his lifestyle. The only consequence that reoccurs is heartbreak, a problem that is fixed by more sex and drugs. Any pain or problem can be forgotten by another party, another partner, another pill, all while attempting to avoid the sun. While the sun represents death to vampires, in Abel’s reality it represents having to face reality. He’s an escapist, possessed by addiction, stuck in a cycle of sex, drugs, and blood, constantly running from the light.
It’s funny that after I spent hours mulling over his music videos for my original theory, the thought that The Weeknd could be a vampire changed my views completely. I’ve long discarded the concept of coincidence, the dots connected themselves. First and foremost, in each music video, no scene is shot during day time. “Often” is completely shot at night, while “The Hills” is during sunrise, and “Can’t Feel My Face” is a dimly lit bar. That would explain why he was rushing home; he was attempting to beat the rising sun. It also explains why he was able to survive the car accident—you can’t kill the undead.
I’m still uncertain if he was attempting to lure the two girls to his lair or if they are vampires as well. The old man that I originally described as the Devil is likely an elder vampire, more powerful than The Weeknd. Hence the pale skin. With the release of “Tell Your Friends,” what I’m assuming will be the final installment of the video series, we see The Weeknd bury himself and shoot the mysterious man in the desert, very Walter White-esque. I’m struggling with the possibility of “Tell Your Friends” as the first part of this entire story arc.
“Tell Your Friends” is really the key to understanding the Weeknd as Vampire puzzle. The video is during sunset and “The Hills” is shot during sun rise. It’s possible that both videos exist within 24 hours of each other. Throughout “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Tell Your Friends,” The Weeknd's clothes are unchanged. I have to believe “Tell Your Friends” is actually the first part of the story. The symbolism of him burying himself lays in a resurrection; he killed his mortal self to attain immortality.
I also see him killing The Devil-esque character in the desert as a symbol of him killing his own demons, but I’m not sure if that’s true. The Devil/Elder Vampire character is shot in the desert but of course, he can’t really be killed, hence why The Weeknd looks startled and surprised to see him in “The Hills” video. On a deeper level, I still perceive these videos to represent his transition into the mainstream, his reinvention, and how the very machine that failed him during Kiss Land was able to resurrect him as the hottest artist on the planet. How many deals has he made and with how many devils (or vampires) for his success?
I don’t believe The Weeknd is literally a supernatural entity, but I never cared much for reality. Fiction has more allure—maybe that’s why I love rap so much. The Weeknd just happens to be a character that I find fascinating because he seems to exist in a reality that could be a gothic novel, and whether intentional or not, Abel’s painting a portrait through his art that could easily hang next to any portrait of a vampire, and at the same time vampire stories are huge box office hits, The Weeknd has become a huge star.
It's not a coincidence that his breakout song was used for a movie that was originally a Twilight fan-fiction. Those very teens that were fascinated by Twilight, the housewives that found 50 Shades Of Grey arousing, are now the very ones that will spend money on Friday to purchase Beauty Behind The Madness. His music simply fits into what those audiences enjoyed about the books and films, stories about forbidden love, lust, seduction, with a bit of hard drugs and sex mixed in. Which is why I’m saying that Abel Tesfaye is vampire and standing by it.
He’s about to get paid like one, too.
By Yoh, aka Count Yohcula, aka Yoh31