By Bryan Hood | Despite the presence of colorful balloons and a scantily clad model, the only way to really describe the video for The Weeknd’s “The Zone” is unrelentingly bleak. The clip — which was directed by the R&B crooner, real name: Abel Tesfaye — is made up of shots of him, the aforementioned woman, and former-“Degrassi”-star-turned-rapper Drake, skulking around looking less than enthusiastic about the paths their lives have taken. While Tesfaye is decidedly less of a name than Drake, the MC’s presence shouldn’t come as a shock; the Toronto born duo have spent much of the last year telling Twitter that they’re kindred spirits, something which their music, filled with debaucherous narratives of heartbreak and how hard it is to be happy when you have the world at your fingertips, make clear. But don’t take this collective dwelling as an endorsement, as The Weeknd’s oeuvre (and this video, specifically) makes clear, that kind of living leaves you one way: Alone and crying.
The video is the third that Tesfaye’s put out during the lead up to the release of “Trilogy,” a remastered collection of the three EPs that established his reputation, “House of Ballons,” Thursday” (which “The Zone” is from), and “Echoes of Silence.” The compilation’s release means that now all three members of the trio at the forefront of the new wave of R&B, the others being Frank Ocean and Miguel, will have put out significant records this year. Unlike the other two, Tesfaye’s release is primarily made up of material we’ve already heard (though there will be three new tracks, two of which have premiered on BBC Radio 1), but it will be interesting to see if presenting the EPs as whole, rather than as separate pieces, changes how they are viewed. Because of the space between their release dates last year, and the rabid excitement with which they were received, it was hard to view them as anything but separate records. “Trilogy” is due out next Tuesday, November 13, from Universal Republic.
Image: “The Zone”/YouTube