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Breaking down the Lyrics on ‘Starboy ‘ by ‘The Weeknd’

Released: 2023

Label: XO / Republic Records

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

When it comes to the upper echelons of modern pop infused hip-hop, The Weeknd stands proud. Our boy Abel Tesfaye, known to the masses as The Weeknd, dropped his magnum opus, ‘Starboy’, back in 2016, and its impact is still reverberating through the music landscape. This album allowed The Weeknd to cement his status as one of the leading voices in contemporary R&B, with his distinctive blend of sultry vibes, introspective lyricism, and knack for earworm melodies. Tight collaborations from heavyweights like Daft Punk, Kendrick Lamar, Future, and Lana Del Rey added extra spice to this rich sonic feast.

‘Starboy’ is a rich tapestry, exuding an opulence that mirrors The Weeknd’s journey from enigmatic mixtape maverick to chart-topping superstar. Tracks like “Party Monster” and “Reminder” carry the flag of his darker themes, while “Die For You” and “I Feel It Coming” showcase a more vulnerable and romantic side. The remixes with Ariana Grande and Kygo, along with the A$AP Rocky & Young Thug adorned “Reminder” remix, give us different takes on his successful formula.

Understanding ‘Starboy’ involves going beyond just the catchy hooks. It’s about delving into the rich narratives painted by The Weeknd’s sublime lyrical craft. So let’s get into it. From “Starboy” to the “Reminder remix”, here are the Breaking down the Lyrics on ‘Star Boy’ by ‘The Weeknd’.

Starboy (feat. Daft Punk)

Using flashy imagery and references to luxury, our boy Abel paints a vivid picture of his extraordinary lifestyle. He decodes his journey of struggle and triumph, throwing shade at doubters and cementing his place as an undeniable “starboy”. It’s a cautionary tale cloaked in bravado, with The Weeknd acknowledging the emptiness that can accompany fame (“House so empty, need a centerpiece”). But it’s his willingness to embrace, even relish, this life that sets him apart. Daft Punk’s electronic pulse provides a perfect backdrop to The Weeknd’s raspy, soulful voice, resulting in a powerful opening track that sets the tone for the entire album.

Party Monster

Taking us on a kaleidoscopic journey into his late-night escapades, The Weeknd grapples with a sense of paranoia, and alternating moods of dependence and detachment towards his female companions. The shout-outs to Angelina Jolie and Selena Quintanilla reflect his penchant for women of strong personality, while the repeated awakening next to unnamed women suggests transient, forgettable encounters. His lyrical prowess shines through as he blends hedonism with existential dread, embodying the paradox of the glitzy yet volatile lifestyle often associated with stardom.

False Alarm

With rhythmic verses punctuated by an infectious hey-hey staccato, Abel breaks down the emptiness of a life lived for constant attention, the diamond-dusted glimmer of lavish luxuries, and the hollowness of transient passions. It’s an unflinching critique that reflects the seedy zeitgeist of Hollywood’s excesses, a recurring theme in Weeknd’s music. Even as the catchy hooks reel you in, the lyrics serve as a sobering reminder of the distorted values that success can oftentimes breed in the starstruck. False Alarm, indeed.


Abel Tesfaye unabashedly flaunts his XO label loyalty, weed habits, and disdain for sanitized accolades (‘I just won a new award for a kids show’), all while putting the industry on notice about his originality. The track serves as a self-assertive counter to the industry’s attempt to mold him into a ‘blue-eyed soul’ poster boy. From his R&B rivals to his romantic conquests, no one is safe from his lyrical shots, and the chorus reasserts his indomitable presence in the game (‘Every time you try to forget who I am, I’ll be right there to remind you again’).


With a pulsating rhythm, Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) reveals his struggle to balance the demands of his high-profile lifestyle with the desires of the women drawn to his public persona. The track’s lyrics hint at the seemingly passionate but transient physical connections he engages in, avoiding emotional commitment and instead reveling in the hedonistic ecstasy of the moment. Yet, beneath the veneer of nonchalant detachment and addictive party life, there’s an undercurrent of self-aware recklessness and even a sense of loss. “Rockin'” is thus a heady exploration of the consequences of fame- a defining theme in The Weeknd’s artistry.


Abel is all about speaking his truth, even when it’s layered in lies and lust. This joint’s got a vibe that’s straight intoxicating, a nocturnal symphony that serves as the backdrop to a tale of low-key paranoia and high-key heartbreak. It’s all about digging up the hidden – those confessions whispered in sleep, those desires that are supposed to be buried and forgotten. “Secrets” ain’t just about the dirt kept under wraps, but about the painful realization that the one you love is just as fraudulent as the world you’re trying to escape.

True Colors

The track unravels the intimate vulnerability of a new lover demanding honesty and trust, the very essence of any relationship. The lyrics echo the emotional pain of past betrayals, while expressing hope clothed with caution and skepticism. ‘True Colors’ delineates the journey of love and trust, grappling with the fear of deception, which is where The Weeknd’s genius truly shines. His ability to articulate this dilemma of the heart – to love or not to love, to trust or question, all while urging his lover to show her true self – profoundly captures the human relational experience, resonating deeply with his listeners. This song, in essence, is a masterstroke from The Weeknd, diving into the murky waters of love’s complexities.

Stargirl Interlude (feat. Lana Del Rey)

Overflowing with raw emotion, they weave a tale that’s rife with desire and loss. The Weeknd’s provocative “Starboy” persona is on full display, a nod to his stardom and self-image. Coupled with Del Rey’s ethereal voice chanting about her compelling need to witness his radiance, the narrative amplifies the tension between their divergent desires. The song, meanwhile, serves as an intimate interlude that enhances the overarching narrative of the ‘Starboy’ album, drawing on the conflicts and contradictions inherent in stardom and personal relationships.

Sidewalks (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Featuring the lyricism powerhouse Kendrick Lamar, this track paints a vivid picture of The Weeknd’s early life, where sidewalks served as a symbolic testament to his struggles and triumphs. These concrete jungles were his foundation, his classroom, where he learnt life’s toughest lessons while dreaming of grandeur. The track is a bold proclamation of his self-made success, acknowledging the twists and turns of his journey which always “lead me on”, and a rebuttal to anyone who disputes his right to the top. Kendrick’s verse in juxtaposition serves as an additional commentary on fame and the trappings that come with it. A standout track, “Sidewalks” is a testament to the grit, resilience, and aspiration embedded in hip-hop culture.

Six Feet Under

Backed by moody synth beats, he sketches a femme fatale who uses her appeal for monetary gain, indifferent to the emotional cost. Her adamancy to ‘get that fucking paper’ signifies an intense hustle, a relentless grind for wealth that’s both admirable and tragic. Here, Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, cleverly interrogates the crossover between lust, love, and capitalism, unafraid to delve into the shadows of the human psyche and the dark side of luxury.

Love To Lay

It’s a tale of a man entangled in a game of love he can’t win, a narrative staple in The Weeknd’s lyrical palette. This track’s poignant realization of being played woven into the production’s energetic synths mirror the paradoxical joy and pain of chasing someone who loves the chase more than the person. It’s classic Weeknd: seductive yet tragic, all cloaked in an irresistible tune. The raw vulnerability in his voice captures the lessons learned the hard way, a testament to his emotional resonance in this lyrical narrative.

A Lonely Night

As the rhythms pull you into a disco-esque reverie, you’re hit with Abel’s introspective exploration of an emotional impasse, a love that’s complicating rather than comforting. Navigating the rough waters of a relationship gone south, he’s caught in a paradox of love on a lonely night – a temporary respite bathed in regret and apology. His realization: they’re better off apart, a blunt confession underscoring their mutual toxicity. It’s a testament to The Weeknd’s genius, situating raw, gut-wrenching emotions within an irresistible sonic ambience, turning personal turmoil into a universal, resonant narrative.


The central theme bounces around attention-seeking behavior and the toll it takes on a relationship already hanging by a thread. The Weeknd here plays the part of the jaded lover, undone by the insatiable need for validation from his partner. He paints a picture of a love that’s warped, twisted from affection to obsession. Is it a confession or an accusation? That’s left for us, the listeners, to decide. But one thing’s for sure, under the seductive synth-pop beats, there’s a stark commentary on the hollow emptiness of modern relationships.

Ordinary Life

The track sees Abel, our boy from Scarborough, precariously balancing on life’s knife-edge, grappling with fame’s intoxicating allure and its damning consequences. Laced with cinematic references to Hollywood tragedies like James Dean and David Carradine, the song is a macabre ode to a life far removed from the mundane. Diving deep into the Weeknd’s psyche, it unveils the strain of a life lived in the limelight, a life punctuated by fast cars and fast women, but bereft of wholesomeness. The ordinary is left far behind in Abel’s rearview mirror, with the echoing refrain “this ain’t ordinary life” serving as a haunting reminder of the lost simplicity.

Nothing Without You

The emotion-drenched track bares his struggle with intense dependency, making it clear that his existence feels incomplete, meaningless even, without his significant other. This dependence is presented so intensely that he correlates his survival, his very ability to function, to his partner’s presence. The lyrics show Tesfaye confronted with the harsh reality that sometimes, the person you find hardest to be with is yourself. It’s a complex exploration of love’s dark side — the terrifying prospect of losing oneself in another and the fear of being left stranded without an anchor.

All I Know (feat. Future)

Yet, there’s a dogged determination to overcome these barriers. He addresses the stigma surrounding him, acknowledging the rumors that have painted him in a certain light. But there’s also a stark vulnerability, showcasing his need for connection amid the chaos. As for Future, he infuses the track with street-hardened truths from the underbelly of fame. The duality here is profound – the track oscillates between braggadocio and introspection, a war between the heart and the ego. This is the crux of hip-hop, candid as life gets.

Die For You

Stripping down the braggadocio commonly found in his darker narratives, Abel Tesfaye exposes his rawest emotions, delivering a poignant confession of undying love. The lyricism is drenched in melancholia, showcasing his struggle to articulate emotions while promising a heartbreaking devotion. Through his lens, we see a parallel universe where the fear of loneliness interweaves with the fear of vulnerability. It’s a journey made all the more authentic by his hauntingly beautiful vocals, cutting through the façade to reveal a heart willing to ‘die for love’. With this track, The Weeknd further solidifies his impact on the hip-hop landscape, demonstrating his ability to fuse intimate storytelling with that signature moody synth-pop soundscape.

I Feel It Coming (feat. Daft Punk)

Daft Punk)”, weaves a sonic love story that’s as smooth and sultry as his velvety vocals. This track, a love-note filled with promises and certainties, is an antithesis to the usual themes of painful love and heartbreak that dominate his work. The Starboy ditches his familiar haunting vibe for a brighter, more hopeful tone, suggesting an evolution in his music as well as personal life. Meanwhile, Daft Punk’s involvement provides a funky, electro-pop groove that effortlessly marries with Abel’s luxurious sound. Lyrically, it’s all about reassuring a hesitant lover, with an emphasis on being patient, taking time, and trusting the process. All this is wrapped neatly into a package that’s as much a head-bop as it is a soulful croon, a testament to The Weeknd’s remarkable versatility as an artist.

Die For You (with Ariana Grande) – Remix

His lyrics paint a vivid picture of turbulent emotions, as he grapples with his inability to express the depth of his love. Both he and Ariana Grande convey the internal struggle of desiring and yet fearing tranquility, echoing the classic ‘can’t live with you, can’t live without you’ trope that’s so intrinsic to the hip-hop narrative. With the remix, they spin an intricate, almost tragic veneer over die-hard affection. A potent mix of dread and devotion, this track delves into love’s often contradictions, reminding us that in the game of passion, sometimes, ‘to die for someone’ isn’t just a metaphor, it’s the cold, hard truth.

Starboy (feat. Daft Punk) – Kygo Remix

Daft Punk) – Kygo Remix,” leans heavily into unadulterated opulence, exuding confidence woven with a thread of melancholy. The track’s lyrics bubble over with references to high-end luxuries, as Abel delineates his superstar status with a braggadocious veneer. But beneath the ostentatious veneer, there’s a wistful lament about the emptiness of fame’s glittery facade. The Kygo remix, specifically, adds a neon-lit afterhours vibe to the original’s crisp production. As The Weeknd navigates the fast lane of wealth, fame, and the perils they bring, his lyrics and Kygo’s hypnotic, pulsating beats serve to underscore a tale of a starboy caught in the intoxicating whirl of the high life and its inherent isolation.

Reminder (feat. A$AP Rocky & Young Thug) – Remix

A$AP Rocky & Young Thug) – Remix” by The Weeknd is a raw affirmation of his authentic presence in the music industry. The Weeknd challenges the radio-friendly image often ascribed to him, exposing the grittier aspects of his persona and music. References to his upbringing, indulgences, and ongoing sidelining of mainstream expectations are laid bare. The added flavor of A$AP Rocky and Young Thug bring additional layers of unapologetic realism and individuality, stressing the point that The Weeknd refuses to lose sight of his roots amidst fame and success. This sonic representation embodies the true essence of hip-hop – asserting identity and resilience amidst trying circumstances.

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