The Weeknd’s New Video: Modern Dance for ‘The Birds’

The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye can’t do anything without a healthy dose of mystery, so we’ll admit we don’t know much about the origins of this new clip. What we do know is that it’s set to “The Birds (Part 1),” from last week’s Thursday mixtape—still free at his website!—and it stars model Akiko Mims. It may also have some connection to Bujaldon Photography, if the link under the video is any indication.

Besides that, though, it’s pretty much an enigma! As with The Weeknd’s music, the lack of background information actually makes the experience of watching this video a little more pleasant. Without tons of context getting in the way, the viewer is free to luxuriate in its sultry atmosphere. There’s not much plot here: Mims plays a dancer, and shots of her getting ready to perform—putting on lipstick, smoking, pulling up a foundation garment—are interspersed with shots of the performance, a dizzying, shadowy, blacklit affair. (Other sites have called her style ballet, but it looks a lot more Martha Graham than Anna Pavlova to us.) Mims dances, and then, with a lens flare and a wavy fade-out, the video ends, quickly as it began. If the goal is to keep us interested in Thursday even after a weekend has passed, Tesfaye’s succeeding.

[Stereogum via Pitchfork]