Kevin Bourne calls The Weeknd, Madonna, and Playboi Carti track “a surprising treat that we didn’t know we wanted” in his Popular song review.
The Weeknd shocked fans this week announcing the latest single off The Idol Vol. 1, the soundtrack for his upcoming HBO series The Idol set to premiere on June 4th. This is the second single off the soundtrack following the April release of “Double Fantasy” featuring Future.
At first glance, the features may have raised a few eyebrows. With the unlikely additions of Madonna and Playboi Carti, what could possibly go wrong, right? Well, if fans had any reservations about the seemingly odd trio they would’ve dissipated at midnight.
While The Weeknd has given fans a string of big, cinematic anthems with lush instrumentation and his signature wide vocal range, the upbeat yet laid back, pop sounding “Popular” is a welcomed departure from the formula. Where a lot of his previous releases create a sense of grandeur, the new single is an easy, no frills and “accessible” song to vibe to for the summer.
For her part, Madonna delivers a simple yet good performance in her own right. While Madonna was never known for overly strong vocals, she brings a sense of nostalgia and star power to the song and The Weeknd does a good job of taming his usually big vocals and blending them with hers.
Overall, this was an artistic risk from an unlikely trio that was well-executed, with everyone playing their position. There’s some storytelling going on in the song that reveals a bit of the story from the show, but what makes the song even more exciting is its potential to bridge generations and bring together fanbases that couldn’t be more different.
It’s a surprising treat that we didn’t know we wanted but ended being fire, and when it comes to the The Weeknd and Madonna pairing, let’s hope there’s more where this came from.