Dark Light

Navigating the mystifying aura of The Weeknd’s discography is like walking through the decadent labyrinth of contemporary pop music. One moment you’re in the blissful grip of chart-dominators like “Blinding Lights” and “Can’t Feel My Face”, the next, you’re plunged into the introspective depths of lesser-known cuts like “The Party & The After Party” and “I Was Never There”. His ability to morph the conventional pop blueprint with an enigmatic, darker edge has cemented his status as one of the most impactful pop figures in the last decade.

Unforgettable collaborations with Playboi Carti and Madonna on tracks like “Popular”, as well as the captivating Starboy release prove his versatility and boundless artistic reach. Whether it’s the sultry melancholy of “Die For You” or the raw vulnerability of “Call Out My Name”, The Weeknd’s songs are a testament to his emotional depth and musical prowess. The infusion of his hauntingly unique voice with synth-driven beats and poetic lyrics creates an intoxicating harmony that blurs the line between joy and pain, taking listeners on an emotional rollercoaster that is as arresting as it is transformative.

So let’s get into it. From dance floor anthems to melancholic introspections, here are the Top 15 The Weeknd Songs ranked.

15. The Party & The After Party

Framed against a backdrop of pulsating rhythm and seductive vocals, Abel Tesfaye, the man behind the moniker, weaves a tale of a magnetic woman who’s the life of the party. Her allure is palpable; high heels making her “six feet tall”, accentuated with a Louis Vuitton bag, and tattoos on her arms. Yet the protagonist offers her something no other man can – an understanding of her desires and a promise to ‘ride with it’. As the track traverses from party to after-party, The Weeknd confesses his intoxication, not just with substances, but with her. The lyrics echo the theme of being lost in a haze of pleasure and potential heartache – a resonant motif in The Weeknd’s auditory universe.

14. Heartless

The song centers around the artist’s struggles with personal demons and wallows in the depths of self-awareness. The lyrics reflect The Weeknd’s internal battle with his fame and his feelings of isolation, as he outlines his journey through pain, money, and love. It’s as if he’s taken a metaphorical walk on the wild side, trying to find a cure for his heartlessness.

The narrative is drenched in references to hedonistic lifestyle choices, where the chase for external pleasures propels him further into self-destruction. His candid portrayal of this journey highlights an attempt to escape his reality through reckless indulgence. The catch? His pursuit for numbness leaves him more heartless than before. In essence, this track serves as The Weeknd’s introspective reflection on love, fame, and the inevitable loneliness that comes with it. It’s a poignant glimpse into his world, a world that despite all its glitz and glamor, remains replete with hollow victories.

13. Can’t Feel My Face

The lyrics delve into the complex world of a destructive love affair. The intensity of his relationship is so potent that it induces numbness— a startling metaphor he persistently explores. There’s an intrinsic struggle portrayed in the song, where he concedes to the seemingly harmful effects of this love because it also makes him feel invincible and everlasting. It’s the beautiful distress of loving something that isn’t necessarily good for you, a dichotomy The Weeknd has unflinchingly delved into throughout his career. This track further cements his position as one of pop music’s most intriguing figures, unafraid to lay bare the raw truths of human experiences for all to see.

12. Is There Someone Else?

Oozing with Abel’s signature vulnerability, this song is a deep dive into his insecurities within a relationship. The melody carries a hint of that nocturnal, moody R&B vibe that we’ve come to associate with The Weeknd. Lyrically, he’s spilling out insecurities of potentially being the second fiddle. There’s haunting uncertainty throughout the song, as he grapples with whether his significant other is hiding something from him, or if he’s just caught up in his own fears. The tug-of-war in his mind forms the crux – is he the one causing the hurt or is he the victim? He desperately wants to retain a close connection but refuses the notion of being a prisoner to his past. A beautiful concoction of doubt, vulnerability, and fear – that’s “Is There Someone Else?” for you.

11. Stargirl Interlude

The track, drenched in a moody, atmospheric soundscape, is essentially a distilled snapshot of The Weeknd’s recurring exploration of love, passion, and excess. It’s a reflective moment in the throes of hedonistic pursuits, marked by the woman’s evocative vision of scratchings on kitchen countertops and back-arching passion. It conveys a feverish, addictive love where ecstasy is laced with anguish, creating a paradoxical reality where she shouldn’t cry, but loves it. The repeated lines about her being a ‘stargirl’ and the desire to see her shine, subtly hint towards a craving for her to remain radiant amidst this tumultuous passion. Overall, “Stargirl Interlude” offers a raw and exquisite paradox of pleasure and pain, serving as a poetic testament to the darker side of intense desire.

10. Call Out My Name

The song walks us through the devastating fallout of a heartrending breakup, likely the one with Bella Hadid. It’s a classic tear-jerker with The Weeknd’s powerful vocals carrying pangs of regret, love, and pain. The central theme revolves around the futility of an unreciprocated love where he put his partner ‘on top,’ only to be let down. The lyrics reach a feverish pitch where he contemplates slicing a part of himself for her life. The recurring plea to call out his name highlights his yearning for her presence, even when the love has fizzled out. It’s a raw, emotive narrative that testifies The Weeknd’s ability to translate personal experiences into compelling pop narratives.

9. I Was Never There

The lyrics explore the deep psychological struggles faced by the protagonist, articulating a profound sense of hopelessness and self-destruction. It’s a portrait of a man grappling with his inner demons and battling loneliness, highlighted by repetitive phrases such as “When it’s time, it won’t matter”, suggesting a feeling of nihilism that pervades his existence.

The accompanying music creates a eerie atmosphere that intensifies the narrative, encapsulating the artist’s anguish. Amid the glitz and glamour of pop music, The Weeknd dares to delve into the darker nooks and crannies of the human soul, making “I Was Never There” not just a commercial pop track, but a revealing and introspective piece. Despite its melancholic undertones, the song possesses an addictive quality, a testament to The Weeknd’s signature blend of sorrow and thrilling highs.

8. The Hills

It’s a late-night confession, where our star, Abel Tesfaye, navigates a landscape riddled with substance abuse, promiscuity and raw, unfiltered hedonism. The beat’s unsteadiness, the haunting background, reflect the turbulence in The Weeknd’s mind as he struggles to find a balance between his public and private personas.

Lyrically, the track dives into Tesfaye’s conflicting feelings, attempting to navigate love, lust, and connections infested with falsehoods all while under the influence. There’s a constant push-pull between the ‘real’ Tesfaye and the image he portrays to the world, a struggle echoed in the refrain about when he feels most genuine: during these half-past-five, intoxicated interactions. The tracks’ closing lines, delivered in Amharic, his parent’s language, offers an intimate and personal conclusion. An undoubtedly deep cut, “The Hills” serves as a potent testament to The Weeknd’s complex relationship with fame, love, and truth.

7. Reminder

The lyrics convey a confident message: he is not a manufactured pop star, but an artist with a unique voice who’s made it big in a world that often pushes back. He won’t conform to expectations or norms, instead, he remains true to his roots, writing songs that reflect his personal experiences and perspective. Amid the catchy beats and soaring melodies, he confronts the music industry’s stereotypes and hardens his resolve to stay authentic. The song’s repeated phrase “You know me” is an anthem of defiance, reinforcing his identity throughout. A considered sonic slap in the face to those who have downplayed his music, “Reminder” highlights The Weeknd’s determination to stay true to his artistry, irrespective of the public opinion or industry pressures.

6. Save Your Tears

Its undercurrent of sadness, disguised by the catchy dance beat, reflects the complexity of The Weeknd’s artistry. The up tempo synth-pop instrumental deceives us into thinking it’s another dance anthem. But the lyrics? Now that’s where the heartache kicks in. The lyrics reveal a narrative of romantic regret, a beautiful tragedy of lost love.

The singer speaks about seeing an ex-partner at a party, filled with remorse for causing her pain. He recognises the hurt he’s caused, acknowledges that she deserved better, and he wants to mend it all – but alas, it might be too late. It’s a tug of war between wanting to cling to that lost love and recognising that the best thing to do might be to spare her further heartache – hence, ‘save your tears for another day’.

It’s this blend of vulnerability, regret, and self-awareness that drives the song, offering listeners a peek into The Weeknd’s emotional mindset. And guess what? That’s pop introspection at its finest.

5. Die For You

Through this piece, the Canadian performer unpacks an intense narrative of steadfast love, demonstrating his ability to encapsulate the profound intricacies of romantic relationships. The lyrics express an unwavering commitment, not just the kind written in poetry or love letters, but the solemn pledge that comes with facing and conquering struggles together. As he grapples with the pain of distance and time, The Weeknd affirms, again and again, the extreme lengths he’d go for this relationship, even if it means laying down his life. Ultimately, “Die For You” goes beyond the surface-level thrills of romance, plunging into a deep exposition of an ardent lover’s soul. It’s a potent testament to The Weeknd’s knack for capturing the essence of human emotions through words and melodies.

4. Popular (with Playboi Carti & Madonna) – Music from the HBO Original Series

The song lays bare a critique of fame-seeking behaviour, with lyrics that are as biting as they are emotive. The archetype of a character who’d kill to be “popular”, sell their soul, and forever be trapped by the insatiable lure of fame is sketched out with expertise.

The recurring theme of ‘money on top of me, money on top of her,’ heightens the sense of relentless oppression that fame can bring, and the surrender to popularity, as a willing sacrifice of freedom. The Weeknd warns of the disadvantages of spotlight, presenting a scenario where people are willing to trade their souls for a taste of fame. It’s a dark, captivating, and poignant exploration of fame from three artists who’ve lived it, giving us an insider’s view into the underbelly of the glittering world of popularity.

3. Blinding Lights

It plunges straight into the soul of loneliness and longing through poignant lyrics and a powerful, pulsating beat. The lyrics shed light on The Weeknd’s struggle with isolation and the cascading turmoil of emotions when separated from a loved one. The line “Sin City’s cold and empty” distills the starkness of solitude amidst urban chaos. The cascading refrain of “blinded by the lights” serves as an invocation of the disorientation and desperation that often accompany unrequited love, as The Weeknd pleads for connection in an isolating cityscape. Overall, the track paints a vivid and emotionally complex portrait of romantic desire set against the backdrop of The Weeknd’s sonic universe.

2. Starboy

This track sees Abel Tesfaye (the man behind The Weeknd) embracing his meteoric rise to fame, and unapologetically flexing his superstar lifestyle while embracing consequences and challenges that come with it. The lyrics paint a picture of extravagant indulgence—clean kicks, cherry-red Lambos, overflowing bank accounts, luxury items that most people can only dream of. But it’s not all glitz and glamour. The Weeknd also talks about competition and threats, signifying the dark underbelly of stardom. A hefty chunk of the song is built around contradiction, how public perception doesn’t necessarily match up with personal experience. In essence, “Starboy” is an anthem of ambition, achievement and the harsh realities of fame. It’s a quintessential Weeknd track, a party on the surface with an undercurrent of sadness and introspection.

1. One Of The Girls (with JENNIE, Lily Rose Depp)

A definitive tour de force by The Weeknd, it’s a song that skillfully merges dark, sensual undertones with hauntingly captivating lyrics. Featuring pop sensation JENNIE and the ethereal Lily Rose Depp, it’s a tune that plays with the tropes of possessiveness, control, and submission, all wrapped in a chillingly beautiful package. The lyrical narrative explores the intense desire to become ‘one of the girls’, a reflection on the deeply human need to belong, even in the context of a toxic relationship. It’s a powerful commentary on the complexities of love and intimacy, exploring the lengths we’re willing to go for acceptance. This audacious exploration of love and power dynamics solidifies The Weeknd’s position at the top of the pop music hierarchy.