Nowadays, it’s tough to get excited about another sighting of The Weeknd.
Some time between the 2016 release of his moody, sporadic pop spectacle, “Starboy;” the February launch of the album’s touring counterpart, which is set to hit sixteen countries in its first three months; his alleged swap from “dating” model Bella Hadid to strutting around the world with actress / singer Selena Gomez; and the recent revealing of his joint clothing venture with international fast-fashion house H&M; I began to feel exhausted of rooting for Abel Tesfaye to succeed.
After all, his superstardom is no longer a coincidence: The Weeknd is a now strategic pop machine, clearly evolved from the blacklight-illuminated-bedroom crooner who we first met on “House Of Balloon.” He seems to put out content according to a carefully plotted schedule rather than based on his own artistic patience, a fact that haunts my fandom and consistently tests it.
From this perspective, it’s easy to dismiss The Weeknd’s music video for “I Feel It Coming” — the Daft-Punk-assisted finale to “Starboy,” and his most recent radio hit — as the uninspired, natural conclusion to a series of (mostly) disconnected short films that were clearly churned out only to promote the album (and now tour).
The video’s vintage space theme, initiated right in its opening credits, is such an obvious choice for a Daft Punk feature, as is the revival of a Michael Jackson jacket for a pop music video. Plus, its “plot” is seemingly non-existent until almost halfway through — the first two minutes meagerly show Abel dancing solo against an exceptionally moody, intergalactic sunset.
Still, “I Feel It Coming,” much like The Weeknd himself, has a way of wooing you when you most wish it wouldn’t. Sure, some of the music video’s props are played out, but Abel looks damn good in that jacket, and his dance moves aren’t bad either. Who cares if the gorgeous backdrop is computer-generated, or if we never find out how The Weeknd landed upon it in the first place?
I’ve watched this music video dozens of times now, and though I’m still not sure exactly what happens between Abel and his Medusa-inspired space princess, that’s fine: I keep watching anyway. “I Feel It Coming” is one of the strongest bubblegum pop tunes in recent memory, somehow managing to effortlessly mesh old-school coolness with space-bot futurism all while maintaining a facade of minimalism.
And as for its visual accompaniment, the nonchalance with which this music video animates The Weeknd’s signature shtick; its smirking presentation of him, carefully-shaded, overly-self-indulgent, glitter-coated and all, for five straight minutes, his mere presence and slight smile acting as the only hook; the way that this video is hollow, yet pretends to be bigger than itself, acting artsy without adding much substance, bringing in arm candy without giving her a name or even a character; these traits make Warren Fu’s short film feel perfectly fit to help fans visualize “I Feel It Coming.” Perhaps we should be calling it a masterpiece.