Can anyone stop The Weeknd from making summer bangers at this point? The Weeknd, Playboi Carti, and Madonna ate every second of this song and left fans wanting more. “Popular” premiered on Friday, June 2, just two days before The Idol‘s release on June 4.
What is The Idol, you ask? If you’re a keen fan of The Weeknd, you would know that the Canadian superstar recently decided to start tapping into his acting capabilities, and, at the same time, rake in some producer credits in movies and TV shows. In The Idol, the Weeknd stars alongside Lily-Rose Depp, Blackpink’s Jennie, and Troye Sivan – if you can recognize half the names, you’d know that, like The Weeknd, they hit it big as musicians. The big guy’s also got an upcoming project starring Jenna Ortega, just so you know he’s not ready to stop soon.
“I’ve seen the devil / Down Sunset, in every place, in every face,” – the song’s intro kinda hints at something darker than a fame-monger doing everything she can to rise to through the ranks of popularity, but I guess, in some way, it works. The verse details the personalities of the character they’re singing about, and her ever-present need to be famous, so much so that “she calls the paparazzi” and then acts surprised.
“Beggin’ on her knees to be popular / That’s her dream, to be popular (Hey) / Kill anyone to be popular / Sell her soul to be popular,” the catchy chorus goes on to hit the hammer on the head on how far this character is willing to go just to be popular.
The upbeat pop song was first teased by The Weeknd when he was walking the red carpet of the show’s premiere alongside his The Idol co-stars. He’d already previously confirmed fan theories that Playboi Carti will be featured on the song when he shared a screenshot of their FaceTime call on Twitter.
He also teased Madonna’s involvement in the track by sharing a photo of Madonna from her “Like A Prayer” music video on Instagram. A day after he shared the post, he went on to either confirm or disband fan theories by saying that the post points to Madonna’s presence on one of his upcoming songs.
“Popular” marks The Weeknd’s first collaboration with Carti and Madonna, as well as marking the latter two’s first musical offering of 2023. The writing credits on the song include The Weeknd, Playboi Carti, Madonna, Metro Boomin, and MIKE DEAN. I think we’ll be coughing up Metro Boomin everywhere we turn these days since he’s also involved in the Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse Soundtrack.
Nmesoma Okechukwu is an entertainment journalist, editor and freelance writer. She covers pop culture, music, lifestyle, literature, movies, and environmental preservation.
Nmeso's work ranges from writing profiles, essays and features for various online and print publications to doing commercial copywriting, musician bios and press releases, editorial consulting, live interviews and video production.
You can also find her interviewing talents, campaigning for the preservation of the natural environment and championing the eradication of extreme poverty.