At this point, it’s impossible to deny the talent and creative ability of The Weeknd, who only keeps getting better with time. I remember back in 2016 when his third studio album Starboy was released and people went absolutely bonkers. It took me a while to listen to it (mostly because I was stuck on indie pop and refused to listen to anything else) but once I did, I understood the hype, even before hearing the rest of his work. The Weeknd is incredible at making such tightly packed and well themed pieces of art, whether it be album concepts, individual songs, music videos or performances. While other artists are better as just performers or vocalists, or appear just as mere show puppets, The Weeknd was the full package and continues to excel in every single department. One spot where he especially exceeds and other modern day pop artists struggle is when it comes to music videos. Music videos aren’t as important as they used to be and I find that a majority of artists just don’t put as much creative effort into them as they used to. But somehow, The Weeknd never seems to run out of ideas and continues to put out impressive videos consistently, displaying his talents in more ways than just one.
As many videos as I could have chosen, the one for “False Alarm” stands out in my mind for a couple of reasons. For one, I had a friend tell me about it initially, telling me how fantastic it was. She was so enthusiastic about it that of course I had to see for myself what was so great about it. But beyond that, this little film itself is so interesting and produced in a way that I had never really seen before. The entire thing is shot from a first person perspective, which is cool enough but another important aspect of the video that is incredible is how every big moment in the video lines up with every beat in the song. It took a few watches to really capture all of them but it’s something really small that adds a huge impact to the overall effect they’ re trying to convey. These small details add such intricacy that help create the link between the musical portion of the song and the visuals they’re trying to associate with it.
But anyway, let’s talk about the main synopsis of the storyline here too. Our starting scene is a bank robbery with various characters all wearing masks. They end up taking one of the workers as a hostage (a girl who I have always thought just looks a little too young for the music video) and try to flee the scene. As they’re trying to leave, they have the police chasing after them, there are gun shots everywhere, and they end up jumping from one van to another, only to have that van crash and leave our main character injured. Up to this point, I noticed that the entire video is shot as a single take which gives it a very cinematic feel. Instead of just being a music video, this turned into what felt like an entire movie from start to finish in just about six minutes. But movies normally have happy endings, and this one unfortunately did not. At the end, the hostage ends up leaving our protagonist injured and while he grabs his gun to kill her, he decides not to shoot and she gets out alive, along with all the money they were trying to steal. And right before the project ends, the camera turns to show us that The Weeknd himself was this character, and with that same gun, he holds it up to his chin and the last thing we heard is a gunshot as the screen goes black.
The significance of this production is that it’s not just a music video: it’s an experience. And it’s an experience that isn’t easily replicable. So much effort went into making this video and it was all for a promotional single. You read that right: “False Alarm” was never even released as an official single. That type of dedication is another characteristic that makes The Weeknd stand out among the competition, and I’m confident enough to say that he will be around for a very long time.