“Popular” acts as the second lead single ahead of Abel Tesfaye and Sam Levinson’s collaborative, controversial HBO show “The Idol,” but some fandoms don’t see it as that.
It’s both Madonna and Playboi Carti’s first musical release of the year, with the latter’s audience being notably vocal about this. All of these clickbait-laden details are overwhelming — if not slightly superfluous — yet the song manages to outweigh the headlines and become one of the first official songs for summer 2023.
Metro Boomin, Mike Dean and The Weeknd helm the production like tenured pros, with the assurance that this song would slap no matter who hopped on it. The thematic construction on the lyrical end tonally contrasting this chill vibe. “I’ve seen the devil” says Madonna over some Mike Dean synths, before the shoulder-swaying instrumental kicks into groove. The Weeknd’s timbre is soothing and romantic, but the character of these tonal characteristics is deceiving, with the lyrics hiding something devious and manipulative — likely fitting with the show’s plot.
Give her a little tastе, runnin’ back to me (Oh)
Put it in her veins, pray her soul to keep, ooh, ooh
Every night (Every night, uh), she prays to the sky
Flashin’ lights is all she ever wants to seeThe Weeknd – “Popular”
Playboi Carti’s verse is short, something that fans online were exceedingly quick to notice. Despite this, it works! The duality of him and Madonna, almost two feathers of the same stylistic bird, just makes sense; at least in this twisted dimension of the industry that The Weeknd has constructed with “Popular.”
The Weeknd plans to drop the his sixth studio album, The Idol Vol. 1, on June 30.
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