As if nighttime public transportation wasn’t scary enough, The Weeknd raises the sketchy factor with his latest release.
On Wednesday, the singer, 30, debuted a short film titled After Hours, just weeks ahead of his upcoming album of the same name, due out on March 20. In the five-minute mini movie (which comes with an epilepsy trigger warning, thanks to its flashy final moments), The Weeknd slowly sheds a happy persona for a decidedly darker alter ego.
The short opens with the star taking in the applause of a cheering studio audience — after performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! The late-night show’s host, 52, makes a cameo, thanking The Weeknd, who’s seen wearing a slick red suit.
Reminiscent of last year’s Oscar-winning movie Joker, the next few sequences play out like a gritty mood swing. As The Weeknd enters an eery subway station, things take a turn for the worse when he begins to get dragged around the train platform by an unseen entity.
Concluding the film, which is directed by Anton Tammi, the musician is seen in an elevator with a young couple who, after the doors close, are heard screaming — likely at the hands of a shady Weeknd character.
After Hours will be The Weeknd’s first studio album since 2016’s Star Boy. The artist, born Abel Tesfaye, recently made his film debut in Uncut Gems, which starred Adam Sandler, in which he played a version of himself.
The new video falls in line with previous visuals released in conjunction with the upcoming album, at least in terms of aesthetic: he wears the same red suit in the psychedelic “Heartless” music video that dropped in December.
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In that video, the artist encounters a frog, which seems to symbolize his darker side, and when he decides to lick it, things get much hazier and chaotic for the star.
His first solo offering since his EP My Dear Melancholy in March 2018, the single “Heartless” featured ambiguous lyrics like “tryna find the one that can fix me” and “tryna be a better man, but I’m heartless.”
The exploration of a dark side is evident even in the artist’s introduction to his new era, with content that grapples with drugs, hypersexuality, self-destruction and loneliness.
“TONIGHT,” he wrote when debuting the single, “WE START A BRAIN MELTING PSYCHOTIC CHAPTER LET’S GOOOO.”
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