If you’ve ever caught yourself jamming to The Weeknd’s “Starboy,” you’re not alone — we could listen to the electropop-tinged banger forever. But have you ever thought about its meaning? There’s actually so much more to “Starboy” than meets the eye, and we’re freaking out over all the references we never saw coming.
According to Urban Dictionary, the title “Starboy” means “a womanizer, a philanderer, a man who has sex with many women.” In that sense, we can tell the song intends to portray a playboy, who may be The Weeknd’s alter ego. That being said, his relationship with Bella Hadid may reflect the opposite. About The Weeknd, Hadid told Teen Vogue in 2017, “I’ll always respect him, and I’ll always love him… you never want to burn a bridge that you’ve fought so hard to build.” Hadid’s respect for the singer points to his loyalty while they were in a relationship, so it’s possible “Starboy” is actually just symbolic satire.
However, the lyrics definitely paint a playboy. From the first lines, “I’m tryna put you in the worst mood / P1 cleaner than your church shoes / Milli point two just to hurt you / All red Lamb’ just to tease you,” The Weeknd is saying he’s going to put us in a bad mood by telling us all about his luxe lifestyle. His $1.2 million McLaren P1 or Lamborghini cars are descriptors for a life few can afford, making it clear that “none of these toys [are] on lease” either.
Everything to know about the meaning behind Starboy
According to The Pop Song Professor, the next line in “Starboy” — “made your whole year in a week too” — refers to how The Weeknd’s salary measures up against a regular person’s. The subsequent line about how both his main and side women are “out of your league” continue this theme.
The pre-chorus goes into drug use, which is also prevalent in other hits like “Wicked Games.” After talking about “twenty racks a table, cut from ebony,” a.k.a. an ebony table that cost $20,000, he sings, “cut that ivory into skinny pieces / then she clean it with her face, man, I love my baby.” Here, The Weeknd is referring to cocaine use, describing his “baby” participating. By the end of the pre-chorus, we get the lyric, “I switch up my cup, I kill any pain,” which is the first reference to trouble in paradise.
The chorus points to irony in the song as the singer croons, “Look what you’ve done, I’m a motherf**kin’ starboy,” meaning that his narcissistic nature is his audience’s fault. As the Pop Song Professor describes, the singer wants his fans to know “they only have themselves to blame” by idolizing him. The other verses of the song continue the egotistical theme, such as “pockets overweight, gettin’ hefty,” talking more about his money. But there is still more darkness, shown in “we don’t pray for love, we just pray for cars,” pointing to the emptiness of fame and success.
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