The Weeknd is ready to come out of his shell. With his first official album, Kiss Land , on the way, the Toronto singer/songwriter took major steps and opened up on Monday (July 15) with a new music video and an interview in Complex magazine.
MTV got the go-ahead to premiere Abel’s “Belong to the World” video and song. The track, which samples Portishead’s 2008 single “Machine Gun,” finds the Weeknd wallowing in self-pity from either a broken heart or a bruised ego — it’s a bit unclear. “You taught me how to love when nobody ever could,” he sings in his calming falsetto, before coming to the conclusion that the object of his affection could never be his because she belongs “to the world.”
The video was directed by Anthony Mandler and is set in Japan, where Abel has seemingly joined the ranks of a military regime who go out for a night on the town. Together, the uniformed soldiers rush to take in a bit of performance art and all admire the woman the Weeknd has had his eye on the whole time.
In his interview with Complex, the mysterious singer revealed that he doesn’t know if he’s ever suffered heartbreak, even though most of his music centers around the complexities of love. “I hope that I fell in love and I hope that my heart was broken. Because if I didn’t, then I don’t know what I’m about to go through in the next 20 years of my life,” he said before describing his sweetly titled album as a horror film.
“When I think about Kiss Land, I think about a terrifying place,” he said. “A lot of it is inspired by filmmakers like John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, and Ridley Scott, because they know how to capture fear. That’s what Kiss Land is to me, an environment that’s just honest fear.”
It’s unclear if the Weeknd has more to fear at the moment. After the “Belong to the World” song and video were released this morning, Portishead producer Geoff Barrow took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the song’s sample. “I think it’s a load of bollox when someone asks to sample you and you refuse they should have the respect as a fellow artist to not use it,” he wrote to the Weeknd and Pitchfork.com. “We usually give sample clearance to tunes we like. its got f— all to do with money! As most of them are hiphop artist that are skint.”
The Weeknd hasn’t responded to the tweets, but he did talk about Portishead’s connection to Kiss Land with Complex. “I wrote a letter to the producers of Portishead and let them know this album is inspired by them,” he said.