The Weeknd converts himself into every one of his past and present artist personas in the animated “Snowchild” music video he released Wednesday (July 22).
The four-minute video pays homage to his dark past, riddled with alcohol, drugs and women, that originated in the snowy Scarborough division of Toronto, where The Weekend (real name Abel Tesfaye) is from. He specifically resides in the house of balloons on 65 Spencer Avenue that became the namesake of his first mixtape from March 2011. A starboy in the making, the R&B crooner rocking his trademark dreadlocks treads the snowy path with his crew before the black-and-white filter lifts and the city regains its technicolor mien.
But how Toronto comes alive in the nighttime doesn’t promise The Weeknd the life he wants to live, as his vices literally drag him down under into the depths of his despair, which as heard in the “Snowchild” lyric, “Cali was the mission but now a n—a leaving,” reroutes itself to be rooted in Hollywood. The geographic marker for fame and success only lures all of the 30-year-old artist’s antagonists from previous videos, an animated version of glam rock icon Rick Wilder from Beauty Behind The Madness clips “The Hills,” “Tell Your Friends” and “Can’t Feel My Face” in 2015 as well as the black panthers from his Starboy era in 2016.
But his neon pink crucifix weapon and headline-making haircut can’t solve his past problems, as the Canadian superstar wrecks havoc in his luxurious Hollywood home. He illustrates how throwing more money into something or someone broken just adds more fuel to the fire by later tossing bills into a fiery pit.
A colony of bats spits him out into the starry canyon The Weeknd once danced around to his Daft Punk-assisted hit “I Feel It Coming,” but he’s donning his retro red suit jacket ensemble, bulky glasses and nose bandage he’s been wearing for the entirety his After Hours press run. No matter how far The Weeknd runs from the fast life, it continues catching up to him at his final destination of Las Vegas, the home of his new persona, where a lit cigarette and euphoric smile summon the blinding lights — and an animated replica of a still from his “Blinding Lights” video — that’s been shining brighter on the No. 1 hitmaker.