The song at #31 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is “Starboy” by Canadian hip-hop/R&B singer-songwriter The Weeknd. The second song by him on this list (“Can’t Feel My Face” is at #90), “Starboy” was the title single from his third album of the same name. The song features music by French electronic music duo Daft Punk, who along with others, co-wrote the track with The Weeknd and collaborated on the album. It was a massive worldwide hit, reaching #1 in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden, and New Zealand.
It’s a haunting and moody but beautiful R&B song with electro-pop elements and a captivating melody. The lyrics are somewhat ambiguous, but generally speak to various trappings of celebrity life, including references to some of the expensive cars owned by The Weeknd, including his McLaren P1, Lamborghini Aventador SV Roadster, and a Bentley Mulsanne: “I’m tryna put you in the worst mood, ah / P1 cleaner than your church shoes, ah / Milli point two just to hurt you, ah / All red lamb just to tease you, ah / None of these toys on lease too, ah / Made your whole year in a week too, yeah / Main bitch out of your league too, ah / Side bitch out of your league too, ah.”
Many of The Weeknd’s videos tend to contain violent scenes, and the one for “Starboy” is no exception. Directed by Grant Singer, who also directed the videos for “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills”, it has been described as The Weeknd’s attempt to murder his former persona, a sign perhaps that he was reinventing himself with his new song and album. It shows a masked figure, eventually revealed to be the Starboy incarnation of The Weeknd, killing his former self, and destroying posters and awards for his previous album Beauty Behind the Madness.