Abel Tesfaye has had quite the year: his second studio album proper, ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’, has just been nominated for a Grammy, his ridiculously-catchy ode to love and drugs (or should that be a love of drugs?) ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ all-but-officially scooped the honour of being the Song Of The Summer, while he’s been showered in favourable (if not inevitable) comparisons with Michael Jackson’s arresting style of synth-tinged pop perfection.
Visually, Tesfaye’s also got a keen eye for grabbing your attention: his back catalogue of videos have often put the ‘Not Safe’ in NSFW (‘Often’, his filthy one-off single, depicted some copious, ahem, free love, whilst ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ saw Tesfaye being set alight on stage), and it’s a tradition that continues with his rather ridiculous clip for current single ‘In The Night’.
Directed by creative duo BRTHR – who’ve manned the camera for the likes of Charli XCX, The Drums and Iggy Izalea in the past – the video is a six-and-a-half-minute journey into a surreal gangster world that evokes Tarantino tropes, Japanese cinema and, rather unavoidably, memories of the Vanessa Hudgens-starring Spring Breakers. There’s stripclubs, Mexican stand-offs, Tesfaye’s girlfriend Bella Hadid, a million quick edits, thunderstorms, dollars bills, and, once the tone of the video dramatically shifts about three minutes in, lots and lots of blood. What more did you expect? It’s the freaking Weeknd, baby.
Check the video out for yourself below, and see if you can make any sense of it.