The Year of The Weeknd Continues

“2020 is the year of The Weeknd! He’s just released this new album called ‘After Hours’!”

Average Twitter user, 2020

“2021 was the year of The Weeknd! Did you see that Superbowl Halftime Show??”

Average Twitter user, 2021

     Is there another mind in music today quite like Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye? One that can consistently cross over into film and television, all the while maintaining artistry, performance, and work ethic? I don’t think so. The former “Starboy has been on a continuous roll of roll-outs since his role in A24‘s 2019 film “Uncut Gems”. What has followed is nothing short of a pop-culture takeover. Following the announcement of Tesfaye’s new tie-in with Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, I think it’s warranted to recap everything The Weeknd has accomplished in the first half of 2022 alone.

1. The release of Dawn FM

First teased in mid-2021 with the release of lead single, “Take My Breath, Dawn FM came out of nowhere. “Let’s just drop the whole thing and enjoy it with the people,” Tesfaye wrote shortly before the album’s release in January of 2022. It may not have charted as high or as long as its predecessor, but that doesn’t mean “Dawn” is any less intricate or decorative. Narrated by Ace Venturasorry, Jim Carrey, we slip in and out of the dark with 16 brand new songs featuring Tyler, The Creator, Quincy Jones, and Lil Wayne.

2. Singles and Remixes

Just a week after Dawn FM, we saw the release of Dawn FM (Alternate World). This saw the inclusion of “Moth To A Flame”, Tesfaye’s 2021 collaboration with super-group Swedish House Mafia, remixes of “Sacrifice” and “Out of Time”, along with a shorter, single version of “Take My Breath”. Since then, even more remixes have been released for “Out of Time”, the title track, “Dawn FM”, and “Starry Eyes”. The most recent, released in August of 2022, was a remix of “Best Friends” featuring R&B musician Summer Walker.

3. Coachella 2022 

Replacing an artist formally known as Kanye West, The Weeknd headlined the 2022 Coachella festival for two dates in April of 2022. His April 24th performance has since been uploaded to YouTube.

4. Film and Video

Michael Jackson requested his “music videos” be referred to as “short-films”, something Tesfaye has not yet endorsed, but should soon. Original music videos were produced for Dawn FM, expanding upon the album’s cinematic elements. All starring Tesfaye, we saw Sacrifice and its remix, Gasoline, and Out of Time, in which Jim Carrey makes a very rare on-screen cameo.

An animated, “Twilight Zone”-inspired video for non-single How Do I Make You Love Me? was released in July, perhaps confirming that videos are on-going as well.

Following a string of live-streamed music events, Amazon announced its partnership with The Weeknd that inspired two completely new film projects. The first, an event on release night entitled “103.5 Dawn FM”, saw Tesfaye (in the “old man” persona) “DJing” the event, leading dances and sing-alongs with a studio audience.

The second, entitled “The Weeknd x The Dawn FM Experience”, is currently available to stream on Prime Video. It contains articulate live performances with a special cameo from producer Oneohtrix Point Never and the voice of Jim Carrey.

5. After Hours ‘Til Dawn: The Tour

As we speak, The Weeknd is on tour for the first time since 2018, supporting both After Hours and Dawn FM. 19 shows are currently scheduled for North America, stretching to September of 2022. Opening acts currently include DJ Kaytranada, multi-instrumentalist Mike Dean, and Snoh Aalegra. Tour dates and more can be found here

6. “The Idol” (HBO Series)

Announced in 2021, “The Idol” is an original HBO Max series “from the sick and twisted minds of The Weeknd and Sam Levinson (of “Euphoria” fame)”. It is set to star Lily-Rose Depp as a rising musician that meets a self-help guru played by The Weeknd. The trailer recently premiered on YouTube, though no official release date has been announced.

7. The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare

Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, a holiday tradition since the early 90s, announced that The Weeknd would be hosting his own haunted house, entitled the After Hours Nightmare. In an official press release, Universal described the show: “Guests will step into a surreal living nightmare filled with grotesque characters and themes inspired by The Weeknd’s music and short films. As they’re stalked by slashers, bandaged maniacs, gruesome toad-like creatures and other unfathomable horrors from the mind of the artist, guests will be challenged to survive the night while trapped within the terrifying, unexpected world of “The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare” – a place that only exists in The Weeknd’s vivid imagination and from which one may never escape.” Tickets and more information can be found here.