The Weeknd just dropped the music video for his song “Save Your Tears,” and in it he’s wearing face prosthetics. (Both the Daily Mail and The Independent report the transformation is the result of time in the makeup chair, not actual surgery. Entertainment Tonight writes the look is “obviously fake.”) The Weeknd’s “new face” immediately grabbed social media’s attention, but if you’ve been following his work during the After Hours era, this transformation actually makes so much sense.
It follows the story he’s been telling since dropping the music video for “Heartless” in November 2019. Per Pitchfork, “Heartless” sees The Weeknd tripping while partying in Vegas. Then, in the “Blinding Lights” video, he gets even more hurt. The clip for “In Your Eyes” ends with the singer being decapitated, then in the “Too Late” video his head is attached to someone else’s body. This was followed by several awards show appearances where he was seen wearing facial bandages. Now, in the “Save Your Tears” video, the bandages have come off.
Watch the clip for yourself, below:
The Weeknd’s fans have several theories about what he’s trying to say. Some think the video contains a diss at the Grammys, which snubbed After Hours despite it being one of the most critically and commercially successful albums of 2020: At one point in the video, he’s holding a gold trophy and then throws it away.
“I think [he] is showing us how constantly pressured he feels to be ‘perfect’ by the industry, Grammys, etc.,” one fan wrote on Twitter, according to ET. “Now he got that botched up face and I think at some point he will have an ‘alone again’ mv where he takes it off and learns to love himself for who he is.”
When After Hours didn’t receive any Grammy nominations, The Weeknd took to Twitter and wrote, “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans, and the industry transparency…”