The Weeknd is a soul/hip-hop artist from Toronto, Canada. He originally got his start by uploading music to YouTube and getting discovered by the very successful rapper “Drake”. After The Weeknd started to become successful, he decided to move to LA.
For the last few albums, The Weekend has been doing a character progression, where with each album, he transforms into a new character, taking place of his previous character – sometimes violently (2 albums ago, he metaphorically kills his other self so that he can move on into his new image).
These videos touch on themes of melancholy, fame, soullessness of people in LA, drugs and alcohol, murder, corruption, and obsessions with plastic surgery. I can’t begin to describe the depth of thought and effort that went into these videos, The Weeknd’s character, and the music he produced and sang.
Each main canonical video has a lot of references to popular or “cult” films, such as:
“Heartless” and “Blinding Lights”
* Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
“In Your Eyes”
* The Terminator
“Save Your Tears”
* Joker/The King of Comedy
* The Dark Knight
* Eyes Wide Shut
* American Psycho
Below I will list the title and description of each video. There are a few videos that are more of an aside (even though they’re canonical) and don’t really flesh out The Weeknd’s main After Hours character, but I still like them.
Note: I highly recommend listening with earbuds. The music is great and there are sounds from the videos that can’t often be heard on laptop speakers.
This is what I would call the “prequel” or interlude to his story. This is about The Weeknd growing up in Toronto, facing hardships, finding success, and ultimately telling himself (and the people in his life) that he’s leaving for California. At the end of the video, his former self arrives at a casino in LA and sees what would be the character we transition into the next video (the man in the red jacket with sunglasses and a mustache).
I’d recommend skipping this video and maybe coming back to it, if you like. I really like the song, so I’ve watched this video about 5 times now.
At first I wasn’t really into the style of the music on this song, but the choreography and style of the video had me hooked instantly. I was drawn into this character and couldn’t get enough of the style of the video.
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this song. When “After Hours” was released early in 2020, this song was on the top of the charts for a really long time. Very 80s synth pop. Well produced (much like a lot of his songs).
Until I Bleed Out (aside)
You can skip this video. The Weeknd’s character is “coming down” from his all-night bender from the previous 2 videos. He’s in a ballroom having a bad trip. There’s not really much going on, story-wise, but I did appreciate it.
Blinding Lights (Live on Jimmy Kimmel)
The Weeknd performs “Blinding Lights” on Jimmy Kimmel. The production on the set is amazing. The entire video is done in one take, I think. The end of this video goes straight into the next video, which is a short film called “After Hours”
After Hours (short film)
This video begins where the “Live on Jimmy Kimmel” video left off, where The Weeknd leaves the set of the show. The music in the background is the titular song of the album. Near the end of the video, when the people get into the elevator, I’d recommend turning up the volume, as there are subtle sounds in the background.
In Your Eyes
Now we’re getting into some really fun stuff. My kind of stuff. This video has a lot of references to “thriller/killer” movies, like Psycho, Terminator, and Leatherface. There’s only a teeny tiny bit of gore. You’ll probably not even notice it.
This video continues our character’s saga (even though I didn’t think could’ve been done given what happened in “In Your Eyes”) by being picked up by a couple of “hot chicks” in Hollywood. This might be the darkest of the video set, as there is a bit of gore, but it’s not on screen for very long, and there are some very dark themes.
American Music Association 2020 Performance: “In Your Eyes” / “Save Your Tears”
This is a live performance done in one take that spans almost the entire length of a bridge in Los Angeles, choreographed with timed fireworks. The Weeknd’s face has now been altered by the women in the last video. It’s a very fun performance and even though it’s an aside, I highly recommend watching this one.
Save Your Tears
The final video in the series. He metaphorically pisses on the Grammy awards and the rich elite and mocks people who chase fame and the culture of wanting to be accepted and to do whatever it takes to feel accepted and wanted. Enjoy!