“Starboy,” the anticipated new track release by Daft Punk and Weeknd is finally out and, oh boy, the track did not let us down.
Word of the artists’ collaboration was hinted during Billboard’s interview on July 15, when Wendy Golstein, Executive VP/Head of A&R, Republic Records, casually stated that Daft Punk and Weeknd are in the studio, working on an upcoming track. The mention almost went unnoticed, until YourEDM caught and published the leak.
Strangely, her mention of their collaboration was not transcribed in the Billboard’s interviews. But at this point, does that really matter? The Weeknd and Daft Punk released their track, “Starboy,” and now we can bask at two musical genius’ alchemical art.
The track is going to be re-released and added in his upcoming album, which shares the same album title and will be out mid-November.
Shortly after, the track was followed by a gritty cinematic music video, directed by Grant Singer. Below is the release of Starboy’s music video.
The Weeknd’s voice adds a layer of drama, giving an otherwise catchy dance music an ominous tone. We can even go as far and say that the song is a tragedy. Accentuated by the piano instrumental, the beats assemble into a gloomy, contemplative, yet catchy, track.
Ominously, the Weeknd references Brad Pitt’s current relationship issue, “Brad Pitt legend of the fall/Took the year like a bandit.” Let us not forget that the Weeknd and Daft Punk was producing the song as far dated as mid-July. So just based on this lyric, either Daft Punk and the Weeknd have psychic powers which we should know about or they have the writing prowess to fit any current pop news in a whim. There’s also a possibility that the Brad Pitt reference is entirely coincidental. Depending on how the song is viewed, it’s not irrational to say that the track is premonitory to the pop culture tragedy between an iconic relationship. In any case, the Brad Pitt line doesn’t make this song cheerful enough. Then again, with the right remix by the right DJ, we’ll be hearing a more upbeat version of the song in a club pretty soon.
Then, there is the music video. In the video, a masked robber snuffs the Weeknd with his signature hairstyle. Once the Weeknd reaches his demise, the robber removes his mask and reveals himself to be no other than the Weeknd himself. Playing the criminal, the Weeknd commits a series of property damages, which are not as bad as the murder committed earlier. He breaks picture frames, chandelier, and other fragile decor, sprinkling the ground with broken glasses. Afterwards, he dances on the broken glasses. He even stands on a table just to break the chandelier. In reality, these acts would probably be considered hazardous and a pet peeve for most people, but as expected, the Weeknd’s slick dance moves make the act look pretty damn cool. Daft Punk does come out in the music video as paintings, hiding their identities behind their signature robotic masks, similar to Sia’s clandestine presence onstage and in her music videos.
Let us not forget that the Weeknd’s wardrobe is not bad either. Actually, his clothing in the music video is very high end. As he smashes glasses and sets on fire what we can only assume to be cheap suits, the Weeknd shows off stylish clothing, which consisted of a leather pilot jacket by Ovidia & Songs, Puma sneakers, and a Dior tux.
The video ends with the Weeknd entering the garage and stealing a McLaren P1. With the luxury car in his possession, he drives off with a charcoal colored panther on the passenger seat. What better way to end a video than stealing one of the most luxurious cars currently in the market and taking along a panther.
It’s apparent that the Weeknd’s track and music video mix the themes of guilt and decadence. He’s basically saying, “I have a lot of feelings right now, but I’ll express them as glitzy and high end as possible!” The Weeknd and Daft Punk accomplishes this goal without fail.
Also, worth noting is the religious symbolism in Starboy’s song and music video. A quick glance at the single’s album cover is hints at that conclusion. The cross necklace is one of the most noticeable feature of the artwork. The Weeknd is shown leaning forward with his hands covering his head, as though he is guilty of a wrongdoing. The body language is telling as though he is on the verge of making a dire confession.
Just when we thought the single’s album cover blares a stream of religious symbolism, the video is strongly expresses the iconography right into our faces. He’s basically smashing the apartment with a neon lit cross. Also, he lit the closet on fire, as though he’s sending the entire home into the depths of hell. What in the world is Weeknd and Daft Punk trying to say? That he’s a Christ figure that is bringing damnation to the apartment? Is he a punisher of some sort?
The religious symbolism might seem overwhelming from a layman’s perspective, but it is possibly a fitting theme for his music video, cover art, and Starboy in general. In a Rolling Stone article recently published, the music video can be interpreted as the present Weeknd snuffing out the past Weeknd, as though he is trying to tell the world that he wants to start anew. The Weeknd behind Beauty Behind the Era is now dead, but he is restarting a new life, a new persona, as the Weeknd behind Starboy.
The fact that he wants to restart anew suggests that the Weeknd probably has some regrets that he wants to cleanse himself from. Did something happen between Weeknd and Bella Hadid that we should know about? Are there any “sins” that the Weeknd committed that he wants to forget? The fact that Starboy Weeknd cut his signature hair style must mean a lot, as though he wants to start a new chapter in his life.
The religious symbolism put aside, the music video is pretty sexy. Correction: the Weeknd is pretty sexy in the video. Watch 1:00 – 1:17 and please try to tell me that Weeknd doesn’t have some smooth moves that will charm the pants off of anyone.
Ultimately, there is many aspects of the Weeknd and Daft Punk’s latest release. “Starboy” is juggling so many themes, from the most commercial (the luxury cars and high fashion) to the most personal (Weeknd’s message of restarting his life anew). It’s a sign of the artists’ prowess of combining the dark and catchy into what has become Billboard’s No. 1 hit.