The Weeknd – Heartless (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)
The Starboy, The Weeknd returns to music after a year to release a brand new solo project “Heartless.” After his 2018 EP ‘My Dear Melancholy,’ The Weeknd has been rather quiet except for a few collaborations such as “Lost in the Fire” with Gesaffelstein and “Power is Power” with SZA and Travis Scott. However, this new release seems to mark the beginning of a new era for The Weeknd and his fans. Let us explore the meaning behind “Heartless.”
The first hint of new music was given by The Weeknd on social media by posting a hazy picture with the caption “the fall starts tomorrow night.” This was followed by a second post that read “TONIGHT WE START A NEW BRAIN MELTING PSYCHOTIC CHAPTER! LET’S GO!,” again with a slightly less hazy picture. Finally, on November 26, 2019, The Weeknd dropped his brand new single “Heartless.”
The new single talks about how ‘heartless’ The Weeknd is now. He gives all the reasons for his current condition from the past life experiences he endured. He sings about the society that made him heartless and why he does not mind being so.
Listen to “Heartless” by The Weeknd
Download “Heartless” Single on Apple Music and Amazon
The Weeknd was kind enough to give all his fans a fair warning that this new chapter is going to be “brain-melting psychotic.” The first taste of this chapter is his almost-inhumane condition of being without a heart. The romantic Abel that we knew through ‘My Dear Melancholy’ is no more in this new song. Instead, there is a new version of him reborn through the touches of melancholy that he had to face.
The almost-inaudible intro is Abel muttering to himself that he should not rush it. This could allude to him putting out new music. Or, more in tune with the theme of the song, not to rush into relationships because he has burnt before. The Weeknd did have a few affairs with singer Selena Gomez and breaking that off, moved on to model Bella Hadid. The two of them continued an on-again-and-off-again relationship throughout the year 2018. A few disastrous relationships are enough to drive a man heartless.
In the first verse, The Weeknd dives into his ‘heartless’ condition to spitfire what he wants out of his chest. He starts off saying that he does not need a woman in his life. But he is confident that he is the man every woman needs. Filtered through the screens of stardom and glory, this might be the truth an artist like The Weeknd sees in society. However, he is not delusional either, as he admits that he is broken and needs a woman to fix him.
‘Six-speed’ is a reference to the 6-gear transmission in vehicles, and is the fastest gear in many. The Weeknd must be living life on the fast lane. Most superstars do, and “speed kills.” The Weeknd boasts that he has been able to avoid death even at his pace of living.
‘Amphetamine’ is a drug most commonly used to treat ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).’ Common symptoms of this drug are stomachaches. The Weeknd is well known for his love for drugs. In many interviews, he has opened up about his drug usage.
The Weeknd opens up about his sexual encounters, which are many, even in hundreds. They all come on to him for ‘love,’ but he knows better. These women never make The Weeknd’s heart skip a beat or even slow down–signs of love.
In these lyrics, The Weeknd lists down all the things that made him heartless. Money is a big factor, possibly the root cause for all this that befell him. ‘Pain’ is another factor that made his soul burn away. Most likely Abel is talking about heartache from relationships. He confesses that he is a ‘low life’ for some reason, but he also says that he has always been heartless, so it was easy for him to return to his natural state. Maybe, it’s his relationships that kept him from being so cold inside. But now they are no more!
In the second verse of the song, Abel gives a nod to the producer of the song Metro Boomin. The two previously collaborated on The Weeknd’s 2016 track “Six Feet Under.”
The Weeknd continues to boast about his lifestyle, probably as more reasons that made him heartless. Drugs, loose women, booze, the publicity, and even lying his way to get the girls down for his needs. All of this combined is more than enough to make a decent man turn into a heartless psychopath.
The Weeknd especially mentions the ‘Tesla pill’ which is an MDMA pill in the shape of the Tesla company’s logo.
On the topic of publicity and press, The Weeknd did appear on the Time magazine (May 2018), the Rolling Stone magazine (October 2015) and the Harper’s Bazaar magazine (September 2017). These are all highly acclaimed entertainment magazines. The Weeknd’s 2016 album ‘Starboy‘ is also a dedication to his fame and stardom.
In the bridge of the song, we can assume that The Weeknd is talking about his relationship with Bella Hadid. Although the two of them had an on-and-off relationship all throughout their time, the lyrics read that she is back in his life. And he is glad for it and thanks her for not giving up on him. Abel admits that he does not function well all by himself. This is most likely due to his tendency to fall behind sex, drugs, booze and partying. He needs a woman to keep him on track, and he knows this.
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The Weeknd dropped the music video for “Heartless” on December 4, 2019. The video, directed by Anton Tammi, shows Abel living it up in a casino until he can no more. He rushes out of the casino into the road and throws up what he drank. The video might be trying to say that the ‘party monster’ lifestyle is not agreeing with him anymore. He cannot stomach it any longer. Watch the video below.
Check out the complete lyrics and more lyrics meaning analysis on Genius.