The Weeknd may have contributed a sultry ballad, “Earned It,” to the 50 Shades of Grey soundtrack, but his new video for “Tell All Your Friends” leans closer to David Lynch surrealism. The Grant Singer-directed clip finds the Canadian alternative-R&B star burying himself alive in a creepy desert landscape before abruptly shooting another man dead.
“Go tell your friends about it,” he sings over a sparse, soulful beat co-produced by Kanye West. “I’m that nigga with the hair / Singing ’bout popping pills, fucking bitches, living life so trill.” The clip ends with the Weeknd driving away in his car, headlights shining on a dark road a la the intro of Lynch’s Lost Highway.
The track’s decadent lyrics describe the musician’s teenage years in Toronto, where he was often homeless and dabbling with drugs, meaningless sex and petty theft. “As soon as I stepped foot in the city, it was a feeling I got addicted to,” he recently told Rolling Stone. “Lights, no sleep — either you’re going to make it or die trying.”
The Weeknd’s second studio album, Beauty Behind the Madness, is out August 28th. The LP follows a string of three Top Five singles – “Earned It,” “The Hills” and “Can’t Feel My Face” – and features production from Swedish hitmaker Max Martin and cameos from Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran.
The singer’s label, Republic, persuaded him to work with Martin – resulting in a more mainstream aesthetic than his earlier, more elliptical, work. “At first I was kind of iffy about it,” he told Rolling Stone of that high-profile collaboration. “Five years ago? Definitely not. I was the young starving artist that wanted to do it all by myself.”