The Weeknd sheds his trademark hairdo for next album Starboy
Cover hints singer could be backing away from the gothic imagery of most recent hit release
The Weeknd is giving fans a tease of his next album and signs that he's shed his trademark hairdo.
The Toronto-raised musician shared the artwork for Starboy on his social media accounts on Wednesday, but stopped short of revealing details about a release date or a first single.
The cover hints the singer could be backing away from the gothic imagery of his most recent hit release, Beauty Behind the Madness, in favour of a look that evokes the stylings of Quentin Tarantino movie posters.
In the shot, the Weeknd is basking in blue light against a vibrant red background, with a large crucifix hanging from his neck.
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He's also missing his famous dreadlocks in favour of a shorter haircut.
The photograph was shot by Nabil, who has worked with the singer in the past and filmed music videos for Frank Ocean and K'naan.
The Weeknd, 26, recently spoke with fashion and culture magazine Vman about the sound of his upcoming album, saying he found inspiration in artists and groups like the Smiths, Bad Brains, Talking Heads, Prince, and DeBarge.
His Ethiopian linguistic roots will also turn up on the album in a bigger way, he said. He briefly spoke Amharic on the track The Hills from Beauty Behind the Madness.
The singer also talked to VMan about his cinematic aspirations, saying he first wanted to be a filmmaker before turning to music. He cited Canadian director David Cronenberg as a source of influence, alongside David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. He said they all influenced his appearance and esthetic.
The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye, was reportedly working in the studio with French electronic duo Daft Punk over the summer, although it's unclear if that project is related to his own album.
Last week, he offered a few cryptic clues about his plans with a message on Instagram saying: "This is my last post before the new era."
He also tweeted emojis of fall leaves and an hourglass, which some interpreted as signs of a fall release for his next project.