Neon Wet Dreams in Cross-Shaped Forms Pervade The Weeknd’s “Party Monster”

Like some new-fangled version of La Dolce Vita (a somewhat grandiose comparison, to be sure), the video for The Weeknd’s “Party Monster”(directed by the equally diminutively named BRTHR) is all about accenting the simultaneous addiction and aversion to decadence, and all the fleetingly glorious distraction it can provide.

Featuring all the things a man could possibly need to indulge himself–mainly cake and women–The Weeknd haunts L.A. like a Dionysian ghoul. Paying homage to both Beyonce’s “Six Inch” video and Lana Del Rey’s (making a short, subtle vocal contribution) aesthetic, The Weeknd saturates the screen in neon–particularly neon crosses–which also harkens back to Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 classique Romeo + Juliet.

A jump cut shooting style adds to the frenetic, jarring nature of the video, with The Weeknd’s fast-paced, frills only lifestyle briefly marred by directly staring at a Lana lookalike-filled cross for too long, perhaps momentarily prompting him to delve too deeply into into the meaning behind all his meaningless actions.

Though The Weeknd has “calmed down” since the era of his drug addiction–of which he favors referencing almost constantly in his songs–his wild, self-destructive predilections persist in dominating the majority of his work, obviously a time in his life that endures in tormenting his split desires for the stasis of chasteness and the inconstancy of multiple lovers and drugs.

Maybe, in this regard, “Party Monster” in its video form is more cautionary tale than anthem for male promiscuity induced by lack of sobriety.