Japanese Car Expert Talks Weeknd's Mazda-Obsessed 'Party Monster' Video: Exclusive

The Weeknd, "Party Monster"
Courtesy Photo

The Weeknd, "Party Monster"

Similar to his past music videos, the Weekend’s latest visual offering for new single “Party Monster” features familiar themes like neon crosses, shadowy lighting, and sexy women. But the new video’s most significant area of overlap is the singer’s obsession with automobiles.

Yet while the visuals (and lyrics) for the Weeknd’s prior hit “Starboy” featured exclusive, six- and seven-figure super cars his personal collection -- a Lamborghini, Bentley, and McLaren -- the centerpiece of “Party Monster” is an older, moderately-priced Japanese sports coupe. Produced from 1985 to 1991, the second-generation Mazda RX-7 sold in large numbers and for low prices, starting at around $22,000 dollars for a base model.

Courtesy Photo

Of course, the car featured in the video is no base model. It’s a highly customized Japanese market version with oversized wheels and tires, a vicious turbo-charged engine, a steering wheel on the right-hand side, and a myriad of other trim and performance upgrades. As such, it is immediately recognizable as an icon, from its pigeon-toed, wheels-out “stance” to having played key role ‘90s manga/anime set in the world of Japanese street racing.

“For the Weeknd's intended audience, the FC Mazda RX-7 is as classic as Bruce Springsteen's ‘big old Buick,’” says Ben Hsu, editor-in-chief of Japanese Nostalgic Car. “It helped Mazda score over 100 international racing wins in the 1980s. But I suspect most Weeknd listeners remember it more for its tiny turbo engine’s ability to embarrass muscular V8-powered cars at the drag strip, or its capacity for drifting (a prolonged tire-smoking power-slide).”

Hsu seems almost breathless in his excitement about this prominent placement. “If it inspires more of his fans to look into Eighties Mazdas then I'm all for it,” he says.

The folks at Mazda most certainly concur. “We’re elated that The Weeknd chose to feature an FC Mazda RX-7 in his video. It speaks to the following that enthusiasts have for this Mazda sports car,” says Jacob Brown, a spokesperson for the brand. “We’ve seen Mazda RX-7s appreciate both in the collector and enthusiast market. But the RX-7 far from ubiquitous, and perhaps that’s why The Weeknd chose to use it.”

Hsu agrees. “Anyone can reference a Lamborghini,” he says, alluding to the fact that the singer’s new video also features a yellow Lamborghini Huracan, which drives off a cliff at the end. (Lamborghini declined to comment on this.) “But it takes someone in the know to see the coolness in a 30-year-old sports car with no pistons.”