The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, has reached new heights of fame following the release of his 2016 album ‘Starboy’ The record that went triple Platinum featured collaborations with Daft Punk, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar, and Future.
Since, Tesfaye has released one additional album ‘After Hours’, but his discography has over ten projects including extended plays, compilation albums, and mixtapes. While most credit his start to fame on his 2015 album ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’, true fans know that his start began with the drop of two free mixtapes that featured multiple appearances by Drake in 2011.
Prior to ‘Starboy’, The Weeknd was known by his fan-base for his underground style but quickly re-envisioned himself following the success of his pop song ‘Earned It’ which was the theme for the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ film adaptation.
As a complement to ‘Earned It’, Tesfaye released additional pop genre songs ‘Often’, ‘The Hills’, ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, ‘In the Night’, and ‘Acquainted’ on his second studio album ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’. The album’s success on the Billboard’s Top 100 eventually led The Weeknd to drop his dark ‘bad boy’ underground R&B persona for some cleaner success.
At the beginning of his career, the Weeknd was dubbed the ‘drugged-out R&B mystery man’ and every album seemed to revolve around sex, drugs, and macabre. Even circa 2015 when his songs took a turn to pop, emulating Michael Jackson, his music videos always seemed like they were straight out of the pages of a dark novella.
Most featured Tesfaye mid-bender, usually in a drug-filled adventure or fresh off a traumatic experience. Each project was set to a dark theme. Each single, and corresponding video, was connected to the same grim plot.
Now it seems that he is growing as an artist and developing a perfect union between who he was and who he has become. His new album, ‘After Hours’, seems to be the culmination of his dark R&B and pop stylings.
This unique ‘Starboy’ style has even been translated into some additional projects and his influence can be seen (and heard) on his Apple Music and Beats 1 radio show ‘Memento Mori’. The Weeknd has also collaborated on multiple alternative fashion ventures with the likes of Puma, H&M, and A Bathing Ape.
With the release of the videos for ‘Heartless’, ‘Blinding Lights’, ‘In Your Eyes’, and ‘Until I Bleed Out’ off this new album, we see that The Weeknd is staying true to his horror movie stylings and has now even taken it on the road.
The singer has sported gauze over his face and dried blood around his nose during multiple performances, including those on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live.’ While most remain clueless and shocked, the bloody nose is part of the plot and was given to him by a bouncer in one of the four music videos.