Released: 2015

Aight, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of “The Hills” by The Weeknd, a track drenched in hedonism and raw confessional spillage. At its core, Abel Testaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd, wanders through the twisted terrain of fame, fortune, and the facade of relationships anchored in nothing but convenience and physical pleasure.

The jump-off is clear: “Your man on the road, he doin’ promo” sets the stage with a woman who’s involved with someone else—probably another player in the fame game—and The Weeknd slides into the narrative trying to elevate his status from the “friend zone” to something more physical. But peep the subtlety, though—there’s a hidden melancholy in wanting to break through that barrier, hinting at something deeper than just carnal desires. The Weeknd’s chronicling nighttime escapades, secret trysts, and the shadows of gated communities where these discreet hook-ups go down, painting a portrait of the high life’s underbelly.

When he starts confessing, “I only call you when it’s half past five,” you know what’s up. This isn’t a love song, fam—it’s a lust song. He lays down how the relationship is purely transactional, they’re not connecting on any emotional level, it’s just a physical thing. But what’s raw is that he admits when he’s at his lowest, that’s when he feels the most genuine—“When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me.” It’s like, the mask comes off with the influence, and the truth pours out, which is heavy, no doubt.

The Weeknd The Hills

Things get even realer when The Weeknd brings in his struggles with substances, “Tryna keep it up don’t seem so simple.” It’s all about the struggle to maintain a façade when you’ve got a love affair with more than just the person—there’s an affair with the high life, both metaphorically and literally. Emotions are numbed, and when he says, “Drugs started feelin’ like it’s decaf,” that’s shorthand for the thrill departing, the high becomes mundane, and the escape he’s seeking from reality ain’t doing its job no more.

In the bridge, “Hills have eyes, the hills have eyes,” The Weeknd’s flipping a phrase from an old-school horror flick to illustrate the idea that in this luxurious, yet isolated Hollywood Hills lifestyle, someone is always watchin’. There ain’t no privacy, even in seclusion, cause the secrets, the lies, they always find their way out into the open. And he challenges the woman, too—”Who are you to judge?”—like, we all got our vices, and ain’t none of us saints here.

And then we hit the outro with some Amharic, Ethiopia’s tongue, cause that’s The Weeknd’s heritage, right? “Ewedihalehu” means “I love you,” and “Yene konjo” is “my beautiful,” so even amidst this chaos of hedonistic indulgence, there’s this call back to roots, to something pure and honest. It’s like despite the complexity and the messiness of this lifestyle, there’s a thread of simple, universal emotion tying it all together.

Through “The Hills,” The Weeknd ain’t just giving us a track; he’s giving us a slice of his reality, no filters, just raw and unapologetic storytelling about the flip side of fame where the glitz ain’t all gold and love is just another four-letter word.