VIDEO: Watch The Weeknd’s “The Knowing” in 2-D Jankyvision
If you’re a fan of The Weeknd, you’ll be happy to know that you no longer have to watch homemade fan videos that look like Quest ads: the honey-voiced crooner has released his first official music video for “The Knowing.” Not one for the old-fashioned R&B video formula—drinking Patron in the club, intense scenes between the singer and a model playing his girlfriend, making emotional hand gestures while belting on a beach—Abel Tesfaye has gone the avant-garde route with an Afrofuturistic space opera.
It’s certainly ambitious. Directed by Mikael Columbo (he helmed Cee Lo Green’s “Bodies”), the eight-minute epic is set in the 117th century on a planet called Ethio. It kind of reminds us of Lars von Trier’s Melancholia—twin planets, air of majesty—but also a lot of Britney Spears’ “Oops! I Did It Again” video. The elusive Tesfaye is onscreen for brief flashes, but most of the video is just a series of collage-like stop-motion images of laser beams, toppling cities, space-scapes, brain scans and—because this is still an R&B video, after all—a very pretty lady. It’s also shot in 2-D Jankyvision, which isn’t a real thing, but it is fun to say.