Nihilism, cocaine, narcissism, misogyny: These are the things that make a new the Weeknd album a Weeknd album. Predictably, After Hours has them all, and doesn’t bother to upend the meticulous mythos the pop star has spent a decade manufacturing. Instead, the Toronto singer’s fourth studio album swaps out one sonic texture — the bleak, Daft Punk-led futurism of 2016’s Starboy — for the sinister celestial work of Oneohtrix Point Never, while doubling down on what the Weeknd knows best: sex puns.
On the second verse of the aptly-named, “Snowchild,” the Weeknd sings: “She like my futuristic sounds in the new spaceship/Futuristic sex give her Philip K. dick.” For those who need clarification, Philip K. Dick was a science-fiction writer who most famously wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the novel that inspired the 1982 Ridley Scott film, Blade Runner. His last name is also “Dick,” allowing him to be used as a double entendre in a Weeknd song.
Over the past decade, the Weeknd has fashioned himself as our time’s great sexual savant, so it makes a certain amount of sense that he’d like to introduce the world to “futuristic sex” to accompany his “futuristic sound.” However, he spends little time of the rest of “Snowchild” informing listeners what makes his sex so ahead of its time, or elaborating how it might be similar to a Philip K. Dick story. Does a “Philip K.” penis leave one with feelings of dystopian dread or teach about the dangers of authoritarianism? Does his dick make you question if you’re a human, or perhaps the product of an experiment in technology gone very, very wrong? Will God ever forgive us for what we’ve done?
The following line, “She never need a man, she what a man need,” hints that he’s possibly speaking of a world where men are useless when it comes to carnal pleasures. But it seems like we’re already living in that reality. Hopefully, on the next album, we’ll hear more about what sex will be like in the future and we too can all share in some “Philip K.” dick — if there is one.