Why Does The Weeknd Keep Dying In His Own Music Videos?

Screenshot via YouTube.
The Weeknd keeps dying in his own music videos. First it was the car explosion in "The Hills." Then it was the suffocation in "Starboy." Now he's shooting himself in the head in the just released "False Alarm."

Yes, violence is a very common trope in music videos. If we were to rate some popular instances: Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" would be rated G, Drake's "We're Going Home" would be PG, and Rihanna's "Needed Me" would be PG-13.

Now here's angel-voiced The Weeknd steadily releasing a slew of R-rated visuals to his soulful tracks. Are these videos a power play to establish himself as more than just the crooner with cool hair? The evidence is stacking up. First, he got rid of the hair. Now, he's doing his best to make his music videos as macho as possible.

His haunting and airy voice doesn't immediately lend itself to such graphic images as the bloody bank robbery played out in "False Alarm." Vulture referred to it as "nearly six minutes of torture porn." His choice to create gruesome videos to illustrate his songs (usually about sex and drugs, not violence) is pretty shocking, but it seems that's exactly what he wants.

Let's go through "False Alarm" by looking at a few key shots.

Here's the opening warning, which is quite warranted. Don't watch this at work.
Screenshot via YouTube.
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We immediately open in medias res during a frenzied heist. The entire video is shot from the perspective of one of the thieves, who is of course revealed to be The Weeknd (but only in the last scene).
Screenshot via YouTube.
Then there's a car chase with more gunfire and explosions, which feels like a strong nod to video game culture.
Screenshot via YouTube.
The ending is not so happy for crooks, and only the woman they kidnap from the bank survives the police chase. She steals their money and runs away.
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Screenshot via YouTube.
And here's the final scene when we finally see The Weeknd, right as he holds the gun up to himself and pulls the trigger to avoid being caught by the police.
Screenshot via YouTube.
Maybe he's crafting a tough image to contrast his sweet voice and remind fans that he can not only sing, he can also kick ass like a Canadian Jason Statham. He wants to be a bad boy but still have a heart, which is why he (sort of) sacrifices himself for the girl in the end. Watch the full video, below.
Video via YouTube.
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