The Weeknd’s “The Hills” Lyrics Meaning
There is an old saying that goes “the hills have eyes”. What that basically means is that someone is always watching. And this is especially true when it comes to the lives of celebrities like The Weeknd.
Moreover the female addressee of this song would most likely be a famous person herself and/or an individual who is dating another celebrity. And the reason The Weeknd notes the above reality in the title is because he is having a sexual relationship with this lady on the down low.
In other words she has a boyfriend, and The Weeknd is screwing her behind his back. And it is one of those types of situations where no one is supposed to know, though he is convinced that her friends do.
Meanwhile the vocalist himself is living what has been described as a hedonistic lifestyle. He is sleeping with other women beside the addressee. Also he’s addicted to drugs. But all of that aside, he feels as if he has a genuine rapport with her. In fact it can even be said that he’s in love with her.
And if this is a real-life relationship he is singing about, we wouldn’t know because the addressee is never revealed by name. But even if she were, such is ultimately beside the point. For what The Weeknd is asking is who are we to judge anyway? And as further illustrated in the wording of the bridge, he does possess special feelings for her, stating it is only she whom he trusts.
What “The Hills” is all about
So breaking it all down, the situation can be read as so. The vocalist has found himself caught up in the Hollywood modus operandi of drugs and sex.
In fact he is so loose in the latter regard, that not only can he sleep with someone else’s girlfriend but also a lady whom, if discovered, can put them both in hot water.
However, in this particular case he is compelled to do so anyway. And that is because, on top of finding her to be very attractive, out of all the different ladies he may be sleeping with she is the one he has actually formed an emotional dependency on. And from a moralistic standpoint, he doesn’t appear to really feel bad about any of this, drugs and all. Rather it is the reality he lives as The Weeknd.
Massive Success of “The Hills”
Dropping multi-platinum hits has been the norm for The Weeknd. However, as of the writing of this post in 2021, “The Hills” has commercially proven to be his most-successful single. For example, it is the only one of his tracks to date to have achieved the elusive RIAA diamond certification, meaning that it has sold in excess of 10,000,000 copies stateside.
Additionally it was a Billboard Hot 100 chart topper. It also accomplished said feat on the Canadian Hot 100, UK R&B Chart and two other Billboard listings (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Rhythmic). And in terms of certifications, the song has also gone multi-platinum in almost 10 other countries, such as in The Weeknd’s native up north (Canada), where it went octuple-platinum. In other words, it was one of the biggest hits of 2015.
In fact a snippet of this tune blew up on SoundCloud even before its official 27 May 2015 release date. It was taped during a live performance at a 2015 South by Southwest event. According to The Weeknd it was just “a sh*tty phone recording”, but it went on to break SoundCloud records.
That was an earlier version of “The Hills”, which was actually being worked on under the title “Mood Music”. And it proved so successful that The Weeknd and co. actually tried to emulate some of the crowd noises into the official recording itself.
The Weeknd is Sued!
But with such success usually some related controversy. And The Weeknd and co. were in fact slapped with a copyright lawsuit in 2015 related to this song. That is because it allegedly samples audio from a 2013 Caity Lotz’s film entitled “The Machine” which the plaintiff, Cutting Edge Music, is representing.
More Facts about “The Hills”
The Weeknd seemed dead serious when he questioned why “67 versions” of “The Hills” were in existence. But admittedly, there are quite a few remixes of this song. Two of which we know The Weeknd personally sanctioned were those respectively alongside Nicki Minaj and Eminem. In fact in terms of the latter, he personally requested its creation.
There is a Lil Wayne remix of this tune, as featured on Weezy’s 2015 project “No Ceilings 2”.
The production of this track is credited exclusively to Mano, a Kanye West-affiliated hip-hop artist from Chicago. And he also gets songwriting credit with The Weeknd, Belly, Thomas Raybould and Illangelo.
There are two music videos to this track. The traditional version, a product of director Grant Singer, has nearly 1.7 billion YouTube views as of April 2021. It features a cameo by musician Rick Wilder, who also appeared in a couple of other The Weeknd videos. Then there is a VR music video for the Eminem Remix of the song. And that particular outing actually features Hollywood star John Travolta.
Also concerning the Nicki Minaj collab, she and The Weeknd did perform this song together on the Saturday Night Live episode dated 10 October 2015.
Additionally in 2021 The Weeknd headlined the biggest stage in all of America, the Super Bowl Halftime Show. And The Hills was part of his setlist.
The outro of this song is recited in an Ethiopian language known as Amharic.
The Hills was the second single from The Weeknd’s highly-successful sophomore album, “Beauty Behind the Madness” (2015). The hit song “Can’t Feel My Face” was also one of the album’s singles.