Your Handy Guide to Decoding Who The Weeknd's New Songs Are About
Did The Weeknd take a page out of Taylor Swift's book when writing the songs for his new EP, My Dear Melancholy? It certainly seems like it. The Canadian singer, née Abel Tesfaye, debuted six new songs on Thursday night, and many of them have pretty big nods to ex-girlfriends Selena Gomez and Bella Hadid. While it seems like he could potentially be trying to win back the supermodel, the lyrics about Gomez range from mournful to straight-up scathing given how their relationship ended (she started dating ex Justin Bieber almost immediately). Overall My Dear Melancholy is a dark, beautiful addition to The Weeknd's discography, but if you're interested in decoding who, exactly, his songs are about, join us as we go through the album, line by line.
"Call Out My Name"
- "We found each other / I helped you out of a broken place / You gave me comfort / But falling for you was my mistake" — Selena Gomez
- "I claimed you so proud and openly / And when times were rough, when times were rough / I made sure I held you close to me" — Selena Gomez
- "I want you to stay, even though you don't want me / Girl, why can't you wait? / Girl, why can't you wait 'til I fall out of love?" — Selena Gomez
- "Guess I was just another pit stop / 'Til you made up your mind / You just wasted my time" — Selena Gomez
Oh boy. The first song on My Dear Melancholy goes straight for the jugular. Gomez's jugular, to be specific. The line about helping someone "out of a broken place" sure seems like a reference to her ongoing health and mental health struggles, as well as her recovery from a kidney transplant surgery. It could also be interpreted as a nod to her roller-coaster romance with ex-boyfriend Bieber. The real kicker comes when The Weeknd makes it clear that whoever he's singing about was a "mistake." Harsh.
- "Don't you mess with me / The way I kissed your scars / The way I fixed your heart / Don't you mess with me, babe" — Selena Gomez
- "You're the best I ever had / Baby girl, remind me" — Bella Hadid
- "You're lookin' grown since the last time I looked at you / It might have been, been about a couple months / But I just got the picture that you texted to me" — Bella Hadid
Kissing scars? That has to be a nod to Gomez's kidney transplant surgery, which left her with a literal scar on her leg. As for lyrics like "You're the best I ever had" and "It might have been, been about a couple months," both check out when it comes to his relationship with Hadid (he was photographed leaving her apartment in November 2017, FYI). We'll probably never know what was in that picture she texted to him, unfortunately.
"I Was Never There"
- "Ooh, when no one know what love is / And I know it ain't you for sure / You'd rather something toxic / So, I poison myself again, again" — Selena Gomez
Gomez's unstable on-again, off-again relationship with Bieber has been highly publicized for years, and labeling it "toxic" definitely wouldn't be out of place. The lyric "I know it ain't you for sure" hints that The Weeknd learned something from their relationship, at least.
- "And now I know relationship's my enemy / So stay away from me / I'm warning you / You try to fill the void with every man you meet" — Selena Gomez
- "When you're with him, you close your eyes and think of me / Just call me up again" — Selena Gomez
Since her split from Bieber, Gomez has been linked to musicians like Charlie Puth, Zedd, and obviously The Weeknd. There's nothing wrong with dating multiple guys (we can't even be sure which of those relationships were legit, other than her courtship with The Weeknd), but that's likely what the singer means with the lyric "You try to fill the void with every man you meet." As for the second line, it almost sounds like Gomez has reached out to her former beau since moving on — and then breaking up — with Bieber.
- "Wasted times I spent with someone else / She wasn't even half of you" — Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez
- "And now I'm askin', who do you belong to now? / Who you give that love to now? / Who you pullin' up on? / Who you gettin' sprung for now? / And what they got that I ain't got? 'Cause I got a lot" — Bella Hadid
- "These girls only want you when you're winnin' / But you've been with me from the beginnin' / And I know right now that we're not talkin' / I hope you know this dick is still an option" — Bella Hadid
- "You were equestrian, so ride it like a champion" — Bella Hadid
"Wasted Times" is the one track on My Dear Melancholy that most explicitly references Hadid. It starts by taking another shot at Gomez ("She wasn't even half of you," oof), and then goes on to wonder if Hadid is single (the 21-year-old model has been notoriously tight-lipped about her private life since their breakup in 2016). The most obvious reference to her, however? It's gotta be "You were equestrian, so ride it like a champion." Not only has Hadid ridden horses for years, but her passion for horseback riding was so intense that she even considered competing in the Olympics at one point.
- "Enjoy your privileged life / 'Cause I'm not gonna hold you through the night / We said our last goodbyes / So, let's just try to end it with a smile" — Selena Gomez
- "And I don't wanna hear that you are suffering / You are suffering no more / 'Cause I held you down when you were suffering" — Selena Gomez
- "They said our love is just a game, I don't care what they say / But I'ma drink the pain away, I'll be back to my old ways" — Selena Gomez
"I held you down when you were suffering" could be another reference to the way he helped Gomez through some trying times over the course of their relationship. As for "They said our love is just a game," we're guessing it's meant to put the people who speculated that they were only dating for the publicity on blast.
If you want to try your hand at uncovering all of The Weeknd's lyrical shout-outs in My Dear Melancholy, listen to the full EP below.