I can still picture myself watching The Weeknd‘s “Can’t Feel My Face” video—hearing that track, too—for the first time and being completely in awe. It was the third single for his breakthrough album Beauty Behind the Madness and immediately was a signifier that Abel Tesfaye would soon be a star. In my book, it’s a classic and definitely one of my favorite seemingly drug-inspired tracks!
In the initial Grant Singer–directed video, the world witnessed The Weeknd sing his heart out in an unimpressed club. We got the confused tourist couple and then the loner cigarette smoker who looks like he’s ordered a few hits on people watch Tesfaye with confusion; though there is one entranced lady in the audience smiling at Abel seductively. Then, out of nowhere, The Weeknd is on fire thanks to that one mysterious loner dude throwing his lighter at him. But not only is The Weeknd literally aflame, the club is bouncing with ferocious energy.
That was six years ago. Today, however, we see the release of an alternate vision for that breakthrough single’s video. Due to a change in creative direction, this newly released version was filmed and then dropped for the fiery visual we’ve all come to know. In this previously unreleased version, The Weeknd spends his time with a spunky blonde woman. They cuddle in a cab together, go to a cool underground club, and run around the city at dusk. It captures a messy and youthful affair, one that could also be envisioned by the track’s desire-tinged lyrics. However, the video takes some weird turns; there’s moments with an octopus and this wild woman falling into water a few seconds after falling at the club. Also, don’t worry, there’s still an inexplicable moment with a flame thrower.
Check it out below.