The Weeknd Goes Up In Flames In Can’t Feel My Face (Video)

For years, The Weeknd has made uncompromising music that’s still been commercially viable. The Universal Republic Records artist has found his highest charting single to date in “Can’t Feel My Face.” The always brooding, highly sexual singing of Abel Tesfaye is more aimed towards the mainstream in this moment. The song, which was created in tandem with hit-maker Max Martin, instantly feels like a progression in the lineage of Michael Jackson, with its upbeat falsetto and soulful phrasings.

The visual agrees, finding the inward singer performing in a classic, small-stage setting, and giving the crowd his showmanship, but to no avail. Despite the prodigious amount of talent he is showing on stage, it is not until he catches fire–literally–that the audience starts to pay attention. The uncanny resemblance to the time in 1984 when Jackson’s hair infamously caught on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial cannot be accidental. Jackson reportedly did several rapid spins to try to put the fire out and, in the video, The Weeknd ignites just as he is replicating Jackson’s spin move.

What’s less clear is the message the visual intends to convey. Is The Weeknd making a social commentary on our train-wreck craving appetite that only appears to be intensifying in the age of social media? Whatever the intent, it also appears the flames are on some level cathartic to the braided artist, as he seems to emerge with a new, lighter look sans his trademark coif.

Will Beauty Behind The Madness propel The Weeknd to another level?

Related: The Weeknd Uses Wrecks & Explosions To Symbolize A Twisted Love (Video)