The Weeknd is finally peeling back the layers on his bandaged-face character from the After Hours era.
The “Can’t Feel My Face” singer explained the bandages to Variety on Wednesday (Feb. 3) in between rehearsals for his upcoming headlining gig at the 2021 Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show on Sunday (Feb. 7) in Tampa, Fla. After his “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights” music videos set the initial scene of a debaucherous night in Vegas, the chart-topping singer revealed that what happens in Vegas isn’t really about Vegas — he’s making a note about Hollywood and celebrity culture with the aesthetic tethered to his fourth album cycle.
“The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated,” The Weeknd says. “It’s all a progression and we watch The Character’s storyline hit heightened levels of danger and absurdity as his tale goes on.”
As for his progressively unattractive look, he says, “I suppose you could take that being attractive isn’t important to me but a compelling narrative is.”
The R&B superstar has pulled off a yearlong facial transformation to go along with his Billboard 200 No. 1 album After Hours in his music videos: His cut-up face spewed blood everywhere in the music video for his Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Blinding Lights,” then the bandaged star got decapitated in the “In Your Eyes” video, and later, his head got reattached onto another man’s body in the even gorier “Too Late” clip. He saved the final reveal of his faux facial enhancements gone wrong for the “Save Your Tears” music video.
He went all out for live performances and awards shows too. In March 2020, The Weeknd sported his all-too-memorable red suit jacket, black leather gloves and bloodied face with a nose bandage while performing on Saturday Night Live ahead of After Hours‘ release. He later performed “Blinding Lights” and accepted two awards at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards in August while wearing the same look. Then, at the 2020 American Music Awards in November, he accepted two awards and performed a medley of “In Your Eyes” and “Save Your Tears” with Kenny G with his face covered in bandages.