The Weeknd: After Hours

If you’ve been paying any attention to The Weeknd for the last year you may have noticed a few things: the same red suit jacket and black clothes and a bloodied nose and face. You read right, he’s been making live appearances wearing the same outfit and with makeup and prosthetics to appear bloodied. He’s essentially been telling a story over the course of 10 or 12 music videos and live performances. I’m not sure I can think of a case where someone has sustained a character AND story arc across this many videos.

I’ve compiled those videos below in what I think is the correct order. Some are, uhm, explicit. I’m not sure if this is the last of the videos, but if any more are released I’ll add them to this post.

Album Title

The character is seen driving and we learn the title of the album.

Heartless

Arrival in Vegas. Perhaps some inspiration from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and a touch of Casino? At this stage there are no injuries.

Blinding Lights

Starts where the last one ends, lost and stumbling in Vegas. The character is again seen driving and beaten by bouncers, acquiring his facial injuries. He also dons black driving gloves see in (almost) all of the remaining videos. This feels heavily influenced by both Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker performances.

Until I Bleed Out

The character appears at a party, injured, and somewhat out of it. He winds up unconscious in the desert, still wearing the gloves and has now added tape to his nose.

Snowchild

Snowchild appears to mostly be in the character’s imagination while he’s unconscious in the desert from the previous video. Includes flashbacks to The Weeknd’s past and career. The nose tape is present, but the gloves aren’t.

Heartless (feat.Lil Uzi Vert) Intermission

This is most likely unused footage compiled to make a video, but it works here. Why? It’s called Intermission and because we’ve already seen most of what’s occurred. There’s a jump from Until I Bleed Out/Snowchild to the next video, so this helps bridge the two.

Blinding Lights (Live on Jimmy Kimmel Live)

Technically fits in before After Hours (Short Film), since that video starts with an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live

After Hours (Short Film)

This video serves as a bridge from one video to the next and does not include a performance or a full song. We see the character’s emotions and motivations change.

In Your Eyes

This video picks up where the last one ends, The Weeknd is see boarding an elevator with a man and a woman. This one is basically a slasher/horror theme.

Too Late

Picking up where the last one ended, the story continues the horror theme. Whereas the previous video was fairly ’70s/’80s influenced, this one feels more contemporary.

Save Your Tears / In Your Eyes (live)

Given the bandages, this could probably be slotted here (between Too Late and Save Your Tears).

Save Your Tears

The character is back and looking a bit different (including the red jacket).

Other notable live performances and videos

Probably one of the slickest late night TV musical performances I’ve seen

This doesn’t quite fit in to the story like the others, but the scale is impressive!

Even this duet holds a key to the story!



Update:

I compiled all of the videos into a YouTube playlist from the sequence outlined above.

Blurred Lines

I heard Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give it Up on the radio today.  I’m still hesitant to say Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines was an intentional copy beyond Pharrell’s “woo!” noises.  However, I’ve been listening to Shawn Mendes (what, it’s surprisingly good!) and think his song Nervous sounds A LOT more like Got to Give it Up (starting around the :33 second mark).

There are also some similarities to the Blurred Lines video, namely the white backdrop with strong pops of red, a slight sepia tone, and women as props (have you seen the uncensored version of Blurred Lines, for sure NSFW!).

What do you think, am I wrong?  Will he be sued by the Gaye estate too?

California Loco

My kids are obsessed with a short film included with “Moana” called “Inner Workings.”  An important part of the movie is a song called “California Loco.”  It’s one of those songs you can’t get out of your head, no matter how hard you try.

Looking into its background, the composer, Ludwig Göransson, is someone you may not know by name, but you’ve certainly heard his music.

I’d first heard of Göransson through his collaboration with Childish Gambino/Donald Glover.  Genius has a great breakdown of their recording process of “Redbone,” which started with Donald playing drums and Ludwig layering many, many instruments to build the sounds they wanted.

Not a Gambino fan?  Well he also scored Black Panther and Ryan Coogler’s other films, “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed.”  Similar to his work with Gambino, much of the music was built by layering contributions from others, in the case of “Black Panther,” Senegalese artist Baaba Maal.

He also scores “New Girl,” contributed to music to “Community,” and many other films and TV shows.

Lastly, I love this and I’m tossing it in for the heck of it (song starts around 1:16)…

Signs

The Seeb remix of Mike Posner’s I Took A Pill in Ibiza is one of those ear worms, something you can’t shake – even if you want to.  I’ve attended my fair share of Dylan concerts, own most of his albums, and have seen any movie he’s been a part of (yes, that includes ‘Hearts of Fire’).  Because of this, the inspiration for video for the original version of Mike Posner’s the song was not unfamiliar to me.  In my youth I remember buying INXS’s ‘Kick’, and more than a few ‘Weird’ Al albums on cassette.  This prompted the need to have a little video marathon and I thought I’d share it here, too.  Did I miss any others?

 

 

 

 

Honorable mentions:

Summer Madness

I have a bit of a confession; I’ve become a fan of pop and other forms of music I never thought I’d like.  Here are some songs I’ve been listening to over the last few months.  Keith Urban?  Harry Styles?  Miley Cyrus?  Yup, I wouldn’t have expected these either, but there’s something there for me!  It’s a byproduct of a few things; I’m married to a huge pop fan, we have kids, and I get a lot of my music via the radio.  I don’t hear the same music I did even 5 years ago.  That’s not to say there’s stuff on there I wouldn’t have listened to anyway.  The tracks by Childish Gambino and Thundercat would probably be in heavy rotation for me no matter what (and The Weeknd/Daft Punk collaboration isn’t a million miles away from those).  There’s the nostalgia pick of my time in Ireland with Ed Sheeran’s ‘Galway Girl’ and a song from the show Nashville.  There’s more than just the songs I’ve mentioned, so give my little list a listen!  What have you listening to lately?  What else should I hear?