A Song Wall What is the meaning behind "[Verse 1]"? Starboy by The Weeknd (Ft. Daft Punk) - A Song Wall

What is the meaning behind “[Verse 1]”? Starboy by The Weeknd (Ft. Daft Punk)

  • by imrk
  • April 13, 2023

Sonically, the most obvious feature of this first verse is the -ah sound which terminates each line; this persistent, almost unnatural repetition becomes the backbone of the verse, anchoring all of the rhymes which occur around it. The sound returns in the background vocals of the chorus (“hah hah hah”). But this is just the beginning. The real meat of the verse are the two syllables before this sound, an aggressive trochee which, with the terminal -ah , create the multisyllabic rhymes structuring the verse. The Weeknd introduces this structure in the first two lines: I’m tryna put strong you in the worst strong mood , ah P1 cleaner than your church strong shoes , ah Rhyming “worst” with “church” and “mood” with “shoes” is slant at best, and simple assonance at worst. The ah sound saves the rhyme, creating a greater sense of likeness between the end line sounds than the isolated words actually have. “Mood” and “shoes” are also drawn together with the first line’s “you.” This -ou rhyme will be developed extensively later. Coming in at ten and nine syllables respectively, the first two lines are longer than every other line in the verse (except the sixth line, which is nine syllables). As the lines shorten to eight syllables each, their rhyme scheme tightens and complicates. At first, it seems the third line further loosens the rhymes: “hurt you” not only sharpens the “church” into the hard end of “hurt,” but abandons the “s” at the end of “shoes” for “you.” But something else happens, too: Milli point strong two just strong to hurt strong you , ah All red Lamb' just strong to tease strong you , ah Together, lines 3 and 4 are wound tight with the perfect rhymes of “two,” “to,” and “you.” In order to move away from the relative slack of the first two lines' rhyme, The Weeknd repeats “just to,” rhymes “you, ah,” and reinforces both with “two.” The result? The verse promotes the assonance of “mood,” “shoes,” and “you” to create the primary, driving multisyllabic rhyme. By now, a pattern begins to emerge. The Weeknd uses paired sounds to create the satisfaction of consistency, but also as pivots to evolve one structure into another. This creates texture and variety. For example, lines 4 and 5 are pretty regular: All red Lamb' just to strong tease you, ah None of these toys on strong lease too, ah The last three syllables are almost perfect rhymes, and the lines are identical in length. This allows him to let out the slack in line 6, which comes in at 9 syllables with a significant change in sound: “week” and “lease” aren’t slant rhymes, rather yet another use of assonance. Despite this, the “too, yah” rhyme sufficiently continues the “too, ah” of line 5. And the change is necessary, as is obvious in comparing 6 with 7 and 8: Made your whole year in a week strong too , strong yah Main strong bitch outta your league too, ah Side strong bitch outta your league too, ah While “lease,” “week,” and “league” all have the same internal vowel sound, they do not rhyme. The Weeknd uses “week” to transition between the soft sound of “lease,” and the more guttural “league.” The slack from line 6 whips back for the taut and satisfying final lines. When sung, “out your” and “out of your” both become “outta your,” delivering two perfect seven-syllable rhymes–while also recalling lea- from “lease” in “league”.