The cathartically destructive video for the lead single from The Weeknd’s upcoming sophomore album, the title track “Starboy,” is a lesson in reinvention through aesthetics: in the opening 30 seconds, his character kills the “old” Weeknd — the one with the distinctive haircut that made his shadow hard to misidentify — and emerges in all black, leather jacket in tow and black panther in the front seat of his sports car as he speeds away from the wreckage he has wrought.
It helped “Starboy” win the best video category at Sunday night’s MTV European Music Awards and set the stage for The Weeknd (aka Abel Makonnen Tesfaye) to perform the single in a literal star-emblazoned half dome that rose slowly over his head to become a backdrop by verse two — and highlighted one of the standout moments of the awards ceremony. The song’s falsetto runs, which The Weeknd performed live, gave him a platform to show off his impressive vocals; at this point, Abel should be considered among the best pure singers putting out pop music today.
Shortly following his performance, The Weeknd returned to the stage to accept his purple EMA for best video, one of two awards he was up for at this year’s event, as well as best male, which went to Shawn Mendes. Starboy is due out Nov. 25 via Republic Records. Check out The Weeknd’s performance below.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.