I come from the age of music videos. I mean REAL MUSIC VIDEOS! Videos that told a story and had a vision and commentary about something. The Weeknd’s message intentional or unintentional seemed pretty clear to me in his ne video ‘Can’t Feel My Face‘.
I discovered The Weeknd purely by accident one day at the office. I heard this song and was compelled to listen to more. The song that peaked my interest was his delivery of Drake’s “Trust Issues” .
It sparked my curiosity. Since we rarely have an avenue that showcase artists anymore, on must rely on word of mouth. I never knew the Weeknd existed. Of course, I had heard whispers of his name when he was picked to be the feature single for ‘50 Shades of Grey‘.
Anyway, I fell in love with his crooning of the lyrics in Trust Issues the following words:
All she cares about is money/ And the city where she’s from
Her intention is the paper/ She don’t need no -ing love
She spilling all this liquor/Trying to pass me all these cups
Well baby girl, I’m zoning Somebody should’ve told her
For the first time in a long time I believed the singer knew the woman in question. In current culture, there are only two other men who tell stories with their voices. They are Chris Brown and Ne-Yo. Both men know how to allow their voices and their beings be vulnerable enough to tell a story. The Weeknd allows that as well. The artist is his story.
In the Weeknd’s latest video ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ the sardonic lyrics relay a dangerous addiction or predilection.
And I know she’ll be the death of me, at least we’ll both be numb
And she’ll always get the best of me, the worst is yet to come
Watch the video:
This video makes a comment on how we treat entertainers and each other. An entertainer has to do more than their art now to matter. We make them into our own special Gods. We watch their art form and when that does not become enough we take amusement at tearing them down. We pull apart who they are.
The symbolism is not lost on me. You see him dancing in a similar way to Michael Jackson, who in himself was an anomaly to entertainment industry. You watch him dodge an item being thrown at him. You see a drink thrown on him. These are all the things we do in passing to artists and each other. Words do that. words are like objects. The final object thrown comes from someone who we have seen in his video ‘The Hills’ The man looks like temptation. Temptation throws the final barb which contains fire. The fire consumes him, and eh struggles with it. In the final scene he has mastered temptation and tamed fire.
The lyrics are also a haunting reminder that often things that we love or want are not the best for us. Fame, drugs, the opposite sex, all things that once we become enthralled with, will certainly end us. The lyric below explains the desperation that wrecks havoc on our lives when we do become attached:
On another level the video displays what what we do to entertainers. It’s just a matter of time before we tear them apart at the seams. We learn everything about them. We throw barbs at them and then set them on fire and while they are burning in addiction, destruction we applaud and share it. We celebrate it in a demonic parade of emotions. Think about it. Why do web pages like Media Takeout and TMZ exist? Years ago, it was the ‘National Enquier’ and ‘Star Magazine’ that would bring you the latest salacious stories. Stars call photographers to come and film them. It is all about the blogs and what they do.
The Weeknd hits the nail on the head with this video. As an artist he stretches the listener outside their comfort zone with mature content and seductive delivery and story telling. I am hoping to see great things from him in the future.