Pretty

Album: Kiss Land (2013)
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Songfacts®:

  • In an interview with MTV News, Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye said Kiss Land, his debut studio album, "is about what young men think but will never say out loud," which includes complicated feelings about infidelity. The album's fourth single, "Pretty," is a moody, atmospheric number about wanting to reconnect with a cheating partner.
  • When The Weeknd performed this on the Late Show With David Letterman, it drew comparisons to Phil Collins' 1981 post-divorce classic "In The Air Tonight." The R&B has singer confirmed in interviews that he counts Collins among his influences.
  • In the controversial music video, The Weeknd arrives back in town and buys flowers for his unfaithful girlfriend, who is preparing for a romantic rendezvous with her lover. But plans go awry when the singer opens fire on them in the midst of their lovemaking.

    Sam Pilling, the clip's director, shared his vision with Dummy magazine. "The main concept for the video was to create a revenge narrative disguised as a love story. When I first heard 'Pretty' I felt there was an underlying sadness and pain to Abel's lyrics, beyond the song's essentially upbeat narrative," he explained. "I wanted to stray away from creating something too literal as this can often create a dull video. Instead I wanted to make a narrative that began in a way that the viewer might expect but that would ultimately be shocking and unexpected.

    I was also interested in the idea of showing something so horrific and horrendous in a beautiful and 'pretty' way."
  • Pilling disagreed with critics who blasted the video for being misogynistic for its gratuitous nudity and depiction of violence against women. He told Dummy: "I find the term 'misogynistic' completely inaccurate for this film. Being a misogynist means that you particularly hate women. In this narrative The Weeknd commits a crime of passion against his girlfriend and her lover. It has nothing to do with hating women he is seeking revenge against her unfaithfulness, that is all. It's a story set in the yakuza / gangster world and in that world, guns and violence is how they sort out their problems.

    I also believe that the way the nudity and sex is stylised and not derogatory. It is there for the story's sake, not simply to show some skin. I would actually say this video is far less degrading to women than the majority of music videos that come out with half-naked girls twerking and dancing all over our screens."
  • The French dialogue that's sampled in the outro appears to be a loose reading of Stevie Nicks' "Edge Of Seventeen." Here's the English translation:

    When a f--king white dove sings its song, that's all we hear.
    Days roll like string in the wind.
    Tangled into my web I reveal them again.
    It's been 10 years, my friend, that nothing else matters.
    She was just a kid at this time
    Suffering from a broken heart, a very deep pain.
    This is where I saw her, alone, ready to begin her 17 years
  • On Kiss Land, The Weeknd worked with hip-hop producers DannyBoyStyles and DaHeala, who both acted as co-producers on his follow-up, Beauty Behind The Madness, and continued to work with the R&B singer throughout his career.
  • The album debuted at #2 in the US with 95,000 copies sold in its first week. It was held off from the top spot by Keith Urban's Fuse.

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