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Released: 2023

Label: XO / Republic Records

Featuring: Daft Punk, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar, Future, Ariana Grande, Kygo, A$AP Rocky, Young Thug

Canada’s unstoppable force in pop music, Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, dazzled us with his third studio album ‘Starboy’. The work is a sonic kaleidoscope that blends his ethereal vocals with a labyrinth of lyrics that navigate celebrity, love, and self-reflection. Showcasing an astounding lineup of collaborators – luminaries like Daft Punk, Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar and Future – it’s a trip down the rabbit hole of The Weeknd’s intrigue-riddled mind.

Beyond just the bangers, there’s a layer of cryptic poetry imbedded in each track. Consider prophetic verses of ‘Starboy’ and ‘Reminder’, the turbulent love narratives of ‘Die for You’ and ‘Nothing Without You’, or the poignant self-observational musings in ‘Ordinary Life’. Each song on this album is a stroke in the broader canvas of The Weeknd’s musical persona, a tableau simultaneously shrouded in excess and aching vulnerability.

Amassing critical acclaim and chart-topping success, the album’s lyrical depth arguably adds a dimension that sets this work apart from its contemporaries. ‘Starboy’ is a mosaic of pop music prowess, enigmatic storytelling, and raw emotional appeal. It’s an exploration of The Weeknd’s duality – the showman and the introspect. The intriguing lyrical twists and turns are waiting to be unfolded.

So let’s get into it. From ‘Starboy’ to ‘Reminder’, here we delve into the lyrics on ‘Starboy’ album by ‘The Weeknd’.

1 Starboy

Features: Daft Punk

Living the lyrics “I’m tryna put you in the worst mood, ah/P1 cleaner than your church shoes, ah,” Tesfaye flirts with a nuanced arrogance, underscored by a deep-seated desire to assert himself above the fray. Lyrical bravado aside, the track is laced with an undercurrent of gloominess, subtly pointing to the hollowness of such a lavish lifestyle. For all the million-dollar high life, there is the unavoidable “House so empty, need a centerpiece.” The chorus is a defiant declaration of self-confidence tinged with a dark, reflective edge, a testament to Starboy’s fraught relationship with his superstar status. All in all, it’s a fascinating showcase for Abel’s ability to navigate the intricate landscape of fame, fortune, and the constant pressure to reinvent.

2 Party Monster

The lyrics illuminate The Weeknd’s extravagantly chaotic lifestyle, fueled by copious amounts of alcohol, lustful encounters, and a thirst for excess that often leaves him “paranoid.” His self-acknowledgement of this unchecked indulgence is evident when he admits, “I just need a girl who gon’ really understand.” This narrative is interwoven with pop culture references, like the evocative lines “Angelina, lips like Angelina/Like Selena, ass shaped like Selena,” a nod to the physical allure of Angelina Jolie and Selena Quintanilla. Yet, amongst this debauchery, there’s a glimmer of spiritual gratitude, as he repetitively affirms, “Got up, thank the Lord for the day.” It’s a riveting exploration of The Weeknd’s duality—simultaneously devout and debauched.

3 False Alarm

Coated with grit and dark glam, the lyrics vibrate with the visceral allure of material excess, where love is transient, but diamonds, as the old saying goes, are forever. The Weeknd communicates his subject’s obsession with the limelight and luxury, using motifs of materialism to foreground the hollow promise of such pursuits. One particularly searing line echoes throughout the track, “She always leaves the man she loves, but the diamonds are forever.” It’s a punchy, bleak mantra that encapsulates the song’s core ethos, indicating the protagonist’s flawed value system where commitment loses out to glittering falsehoods. “False Alarm” is a powerful critique, interwoven with the harsh realities of fame’s intoxicating, yet illusory appeal.

4 Reminder

His lyrical mastery is on full display as he balances audacious bragging with deep introspective thoughts. Lines like “Everybody knows it, all these niggas know me. Platinum off a mixtape, sipping on that codeine,” show his open acknowledgment of success, addiction, and the stereotypes plaguing RnB artists. With a rebellious undertone, he rejects being a conventional pop star, sensationally stating, “Goddamn, bitch, I am not a Teen Choice.” Through these lyrics, The Weeknd nudges us to not forget his alternative RnB roots amidst his mainstream pop ascendance, thereby serving a reminder of his transformative journey from mixtape fame to chart-topping stardom.

5 Rockin’

The lyrics, best described as a sultry siren call, reflect his public image as an elusive Lothario, navigating the dizzying heights of fame. The line, “I got all these women too attracted to the fame / Not too many niggas that will end up in the way / Nothing’s gonna stop me, I’ma get it either way,” hits hard, encapsulating the hedonistic ethos that permeates the track and, by extension, much of the album. It’s a bracing reminder of The Weeknd’s raw talent for blending the provocative with the introspective, crafting his own niche in the pop soundscape.

6 Secrets

The lyrics are a raw interrogation of trust in a relationship, underscored by Tesfaye’s minimalistic yet potent lines: “It’s a lie, a lie / I catch you every time / In your lies, your lies.” The skeletal honesty in these verses echo a sentiment of broken trust and deception, brushing colours of stark vulnerability on the ‘Starboy’ canvas. Echoing the cadences of 80’s synth-pop, the track frames this exploration of truth against a backdrop of slick production, weaving a stark contrast between the upbeat tonality and the darker lyrical themes.

7 True Colors

Craving transparency from his lover, he navigates through the murky waters of trust and past transgressions. The line, “Baby girl, we all had a past, I’d much rather hear the truth come straight from you,” hits particularly hard. Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a The Weeknd, shows vulnerability and acknowledges the imperfections that make up a human being. Channeling RnB’s tender side, the song dwells on the importance of honesty and open communication in a relationship, reflecting a reality that love cannot truly bloom in the shade of hidden truths. It’s a testament to The Weeknd’s ability to dissect love’s gray areas and negotiate the emotional complexities of intimacy.

8 Stargirl Interlude

Features: Lana Del Rey

The lyrics encapsulate a raw, visceral depiction of desire, love, and unapologetic vulnerability. Lana Del Rey’s repetitious line, “I just want to see you shine ’cause I know you are a star, girl,” serves as a captivating testament of her admiration for The Weeknd, while echoing the overall celestial theme of the ‘Starboy’ album. Intense imagery, such as “My back arched like a cat, My position couldn’t stop, you were hitting it”, visualizes an intense moment and hints at the sensuality and unflinching passion that characterizes the relationship between the two protagonists. This interlude is an ethereal journey into the labyrinth of desire, serving as both a pause and powerful reinforcement of the album’s narrative arc.

9 Sidewalks

Features: Kendrick Lamar

The lyrics show both The Weeknd and K-Dot candidly tracing their journeys from underprivileged beginnings to the pinnacles of fame, embodying a rags-to-riches tale that’s as old as pop itself. A standout verse from The Weeknd, “Homeless to Forbes List, these niggas bring no stress. I feel like Moses, I feel like I’m chosen,” encapsulates this perfectly. It’s a poignant reminder of the resilience and grit required to ascend from the sidewalks of Scarborough, Ontario and Compton, LA to the glitzy superhighway of pop-stardom. Laced with metaphors and references to disenfranchisement, it’s a riveting narrative that transforms the ‘sidewalks’ from mere concrete pathways to symbols of struggle, growth, and eventual triumph.

10 Six Feet Under

The Weeknd, through this narrative, channels the dark underbelly of glamour and surfaces the oft-overlooked, desperate solitude that lurks within those shiny spotlights. The lyrics evoke an unsettling yet compelling image with “She’d rather die in the club, ’til she- Six feet under she gon’ get that fucking paper”—a chilling ode to the relentless grind, the relentless chase for that ‘paper’, money, that seemingly justifies her sacrifice of love and emotional connection. This song brilliantly lays bare the paradox of desire and loathing that underscores the pursuit of stardom and material wealth, adding a new layer of depth to The Weeknd’s repertoire.

11 Love To Lay

Through ostensibly simple phrases like “She loves to lay, I’m all to blame,” The Weeknd succinctly articulates a complex emotional terrain, hinting at the rampant hedonism that defines his persona. His reflection that “to love her is so crazy” touches on the toxic cycle of attraction and rejection, reminding us of the raw vulnerability hidden beneath his hedonistic starboy image. It’s a subtle expose, laced with regret and recognition of his own complicity in the failed relationship. “Love To Lay” is a testament to The Weeknd’s ability to intertwine melodrama with stark self-awareness, painting a vivid portrait of a star grappling with the consequences of his desires.

12 A Lonely Night

Unlike the usual anthems of grinding excess that paint a hedonistic tableau, this track unpacks the tormented side of Abel’s paradise. The slick chorus, underscored by MJ-influence and reminiscent of the ‘Off the Wall’ era, confronts the harsh reality, “Better when we’re both apart, we’re no good for each other.” Here, the typical ‘live-it-up’ mantra is muted to expose relationships marred by emotional toxicity. This is Abel – in all his rawness – grappling with love that’s only real in isolation. The context of his fame adds a chilling layer to the song’s narrative, reminding us of the paradox between star-studded life and hollow connections. “A lonely night, baby girl I loved you on a lonely night” is an apology, not just to a lover led on, but also to himself, capturing the loneliness that often lurks in the shadows of stardom.

13 Attention

The lyrics writhe with frustration and a sense of betrayal, with The Weeknd expressing his dismay at his partner’s constant need for validation – “You’re only looking for attention, You only notice it ’cause I’m never around.” This critique is seamlessly interwoven with revealing his own vulnerabilities, suggesting this constant demand for attention has starved their relationship of genuine intimacy. The resounding line in the song – “The only problem is you’ll never get enough” – underscores the void that no amount of attention can fill. In true Weeknd fashion, the song plays with paradoxes of fame, love, and loneliness, once again demonstrating his mastery of introspective narrative within the pop landscape.

14 Ordinary Life

The lyrics convey an unfiltered look into his hedonistic lifestyle, MTV-culture obsession, and the inevitable existential crisis that follows. He leads with a vivid, discomforting image—”Heaven in her mouth, got a hell of a tongue”—contrasting divine ecstasy with infernal implications. These juxtapositions persist throughout, as he negotiates a life poised precariously between hedonism and damnation. When he confesses, “Paid for the life that I chose/ If I could, I’d trade it all/ Trade it for a halo,” it’s clear The Weeknd is wrestling with the consequences of his choices. This lyrically heavy track truly gets its claws into the darker side of fame and fortune, a lament that’s far from ordinary indeed.

15 Nothing Without You

The lyrics reveal a raw dependency on a lover, an all-or-nothing confession that breaks free from Abel’s typical façade of heartbreaker bad boy. “Don’t stop your lovin’, it’s all I have/’Cause I can’t function, no I won’t last,” he pleads, completely surrendering to the power of love. It’s a portrait of a man stripped down to his emotional bare bones, illuminating how deeply ingrained his significant other’s love is in his existence. The repetition of “I’d be nothing’, nothing’, nothing’, nothing’ without you” underscores this theme, layering desperation atop the melody like a rich, poignant frosting. It’s a potent glimpse into The Weeknd’s more complex emotions, a shining example of his ability to infuse searing intensity into pop soundscapes.

16 All I Know

Features: Future

It’s not hard to see the Weeknd’s inner turmoil reflected in his lyrics as he confesses, “The reasons I can’t have you, are so easy to fix.” The track itself oscillates between a contemplative clarity and a possessive turmoil. Future’s verse brings in the braggadocious and raw aspects of the hip-hop lifestyle, emphasizing their indulgence in extravagance and hedonistic tendencies. A powerful mix of desire and fear, this track offers a snapshot of The Weeknd’s struggle with lust and love, presenting a complex portrait of a man grappling with the consequences of his lifestyle choices.

17 Die For You

The lyricism here reflects The Weeknd’s struggle to articulate his feelings, punctuated by emotionally-charged affirmations that he’d ‘die’ for the object of his affections. Arguably, the line that hits hardest is “Even though we’re going through it / If it makes you feel alone / Just know that I would die for you.” This poignant declaration underscores the theme of sacrifice, a testament to the depth of his love which is unyielding in the face of distance and time. Yet, there’s a layer of tension as he admits to manipulating feelings and fears the loneliness that might ensue. ‘Die For You’ is a deep dive into the tumultuous, capricious nature of love, illustrating The Weeknd’s capacity for vulnerability.

18 I Feel It Coming

Features: Daft Punk

This song is a wishful exploration of love’s redemption. The Weeknd eerily mimics the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, while weaving a beguiling sonic tapestry with “You’ve been scared of love and what it did to you, You don’t have to run, I know what you’ve been through.” His ability to empathize with the listener’s fear of love, while promising salvation through his affections, is as smooth as the track’s infectious tempo. He assures us that love doesn’t always have to be a battlefield, and sometimes, it just feels like it’s coming. One of the standout moments is when he repeats “I feel it coming, babe”, a promise equally soothing and anticipatory, nearing an interstellar optimism.

19 Die For You – Remix

Features: Ariana Grande

It’s a duet that delves headfirst into the stormy seas of emotional vulnerability, the lyrics painting a picture of reckless, almost self-destructive love. “I’m finding ways to articulate the feeling I’m going through / I just can’t say I don’t love you / ‘Cause I love you,” Ariana’s tender admittance intertwines effortlessly with The Weeknd’s raw intensity, an unquestionable highlight of the song. It’s as if they’re reforming the very idea of romantic ballads, and injecting a primal, visceral element that makes it impossible not to feel the songs’ emotions to your core. The potent blend of their distinctive styles redefines pop dynamism effectively, leaving you haunted by its echoing refrain long after the track ends.

20 Starboy – Kygo Remix

Features: Daft Punk, Kygo

Packed with braggadocio, the lyrics pull no punches. Echoing his transformation from gritty mixtape phenom to pop juggernaut, The Weeknd raps, “I’m tryna put you in the worst mood, ah / P1 cleaner than your church shoes, ah.” He’s found a groove in this world of consumption and excess, and he’s thriving. The line, “Switch up my style, I take any lane / I switch up my cup, I kill any pain,” underscores his adaptive nature, further demonstrating how The Weeknd’s sonic evolution continues to resonate with his ever-widening audience.

21 Reminder – Remix

Features: A$AP Rocky, Young Thug

A powerhouse collaboration that sees The Weeknd, an emblem of abstract lyricism with dark undertones, crossing paths with A$AP Rocky and Young Thug. This remix delivers a mélange of soundscapes that pushes boundaries, echoing traces of the ‘80s pop landscape and the grungy undertow of trap. The lyrics underscore a gritty reality and unabashed intentions. The line, “Every time we try to forget who I am / I’ll be right there to remind you again,” serves as a bold declaration of The Weeknd’s determinant stance in the music industry. Coupled with A$AP Rocky and Young Thug’s vivid verses about the lavish and exorbitant rapper lifestyle, this track’s lyrics communicate the essence of knowing who they are and where they stand in the public eye, a poignant reminder echoing throughout, delivered with audacious bravura.

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