The Weeknd – Starboy
Quarter four is about to begin and The Weeknd is already out of the gates with his new song “Starboy”.
Upon first listen I really wasn’t as engaged or interested in the song, and I love The Weeknd. It blended his very distinct vocals with production from Daft Punk, a very pleasant surprise to myself and many others. I think initially I wasn’t attracted to the chorus – not as straightforward and catchy as something like “Earned It” or “In The Night”.
Yesterday, the video was released and my perspective on the song is very different.
It’s definitely lighter on the production side, some noting that is reminiscent of his mixtape days. The lyrics also reflect something that isn’t as prevalent on “Beauty Behind the Madness”: fame and how to cope with it.
At the beginning of the video, the new form of The Weeknd takes the life of his former self, high braids included, by placing a bag over his head, taking the last of his breaths away. Further along, and throughout, The Weeknd’s status of “Starboy” causes him to destroy and erase the life of fame he’s surrounded by, smashing awards and record achievements on the wall.
With that destruction, you get this humble side of The Weeknd. He knows fame kills. Whether it is the detachment from normality or drugs or stress, fame is isolating. Prince is one example who was surrounded by fame and just wanted his creative freedom. Shocking the world in early 2016, his death was mourned by so many because of that reason, which is something that I think The Weeknd really tries to emulate. Also noteworthy is that Prince is huge influence to The Weeknd.
The reality of fame often leaves you alone, like the video shows, in a house that could fit a handful. Staring the chorus, he sings, “House so empty, need a centerpiece” – most likely meaning a female, but easily just as translated as to something that brings purpose to their life.
While still sticking with a darker persona, a lot of questions loom with this next album “Starboy”. With the inclusion of Daft Punk on the first song, it will be very interesting to see the collaborations. And, most importantly for me – how will it change sonically? We definitely get some of that on “Starboy”, but will it delve deeper into a lighter, more mixtape vibe or will it be edgy and even darker like “Beauty Behind the Madness”.
For the moment, I see no issues with promotion. With only a couple of days to record the number of sales upon release, he debuted at number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. And with the video is out, a pre-order for the album available and his appearance on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, I can already see a top 10, undoubtedly.
By no means is this my favorite song by The Weeknd, but I do like how it potentially echoes a different sound come November.