The Weeknd Reveals His Extreme New Look

The Weeknd (born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) is never afraid to change his look — even if it makes you feel uncomfortable. We've seen the Starboy crooner endure an interesting journey with his hair and fashion sense throughout his career ascent. For 2021, it looks like The Weeknd is indulging in yet another creepy aesthetic. In his video for "Save Your Tears," the singer-songwriter debuted a quite disturbing look that is intended to make him appear as if he had a ton of plastic surgery, showing off fillers around his cheeks and lips. Before you fret, however, The Weeknd's "fillers" are just prosthetics.

While the "Die For You" singer's face may be distorted for artistic purposes, the video itself is just as surreal. The four-minute-long visual shows The Weeknd singing to a masked audience before joining the crowd and singing around them. To end the video with a bang (no pun intended), the singer put a gun to his head, squeezed the trigger, and fired out confetti. As any true fan of The Weeknd knows, he switches up his look pretty often.

The Weeknd isn't afraid to look gory for the sake of art

The Weeknd's strange prosthetic filled video isn't the first time we've seen the singer delve into costume play. At the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, The Weeknd appeared at the show with a battered face. Similarly, at the 2020 American Music Awards, the Uncut Gems actor appeared on the red carpet with several bandages on his face. While many were concerned with The Weeknd's health based on his appearance, rest assured that his "injuries" are consistent with his fourth studio album, After Hours.

According to the singer himself, the bandages are figuratively used as a concept for his Billboard Hot 100 No.1 single "Blinding Lights." The Weeknd told Esquire that the chart-topping single is about "how you want to see someone at night, and you're intoxicated, and you're driving to this person and you're just blinded by streetlights, but nothing could stop you from trying to go see that person, because you're so lonely. I don't want to ever promote drunk driving, but that's what the dark undertone is." It seems like The Weeknd is truly encompassing the idea of "demon time" to ring in 2021.

The Weeknd has long been inspired by "masks"

Although The Weeknd startled fans with his bandages and bruises at various award shows and late-night appearances, the makeup became like a second skin for him. In an interview with Variety, he said that he "forgets" that he has on the fake bruising and bandages some times. He also told the outlet that he appreciates the ability to put on a persona in order to tell a story, much like he does in After Hours

The videos for the album have references to some of The Weeknd's favorite movies of all time, including the 1994 comedy The Mask, starring Jim Carrey. The singer told Variety that the film, the first he ever saw in movie theaters, meant everything to him as a creative kid coming up. "My mom took me when I was 4, and it blew me away," he said. The comedian even got word that The Weeknd was a huge fan and they were able to connect over the phone. "When I told him about my mom taking me to see The Mask, he knew the theater!" The artist revealed. "Anyway, on my [30th] birthday, he called and told me to look out my window, and on his balcony he had these giant red balloons, and he picked me up and we went to breakfast... It was surreal. Jim Carrey was my first inspiration to be any kind of performer, and I went to breakfast with him on my first day of being 30."

The Weeknd is growing up

Although the bandages and fake bruising were in the name of The Weeknd's art, the message about being under the influence and little out of control comes from his actual experience. In 2016, he told The Guardian that he "dibbles and dabbles" with substances, though always in "moderation." (Remember, just because the "Blinding Lights" video is about drunk driving, it's not something he condones!)  "When I had nothing to do but make music, it was very heavy," The Weeknd told the outlet. "Drugs were a crutch for me. There were songs on my first record that were seven minutes long, rambling — whatever thoughts I was having when I was under the influence at the time. I can't see myself doing that now." 

Now, at least, he's learned how to edit himself when it comes to his music and his lifestyle. With his most recent work being an almost year-long work of performance art, fans only have more to look forward to from The Weeknd as he grows up, both personally and artistically.