While HBO Max keeps trying to get people to accept their rebrand of “Max” (never gonna happen), Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd, and Sam Levinson are crossing their fingers and hoping for the same with their controversial new show The Idol (also probably not gonna happen). The series hasn’t even been released yet but already has a 25 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes after being branded as a torture porn nightmare. So The Weeknd figured he’d sweeten the deal by getting the Queen of Pop, Madonna, to feature in one of the show’s tracks, “Popular,” and dropped the song only days before the June 4th release of The Idol.
The track began as a joint effort between The Weeknd and Playboi Carti, who was arrested for allegedly choking his pregnant girlfriend back in February. Pretty on brand for this show. Guess Abel wanted to work with someone who not only understood his vision but IS the vision! via Pitchfork:
In a new interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, the Weeknd revealed that the song originated as a collaboration with Playboi Carti. “We’ve had a different version of this song prior,” the Weeknd said. “So I’ve had these vocals for a while, and I’ve kind of just worked around it, and then kind of kept it in the tuck. But now it felt like it was time.” He also called Madonna “the ultimate co-sign for this song.”
“I’ve always wanted to work with her,” the Weeknd continued. “I’ve always wanted to write and produce a Madonna album… well, co-produce with her, of course. She’s a visionary and she has such a singular vision, and I just want to come into her world and create a classic Madonna album. That was always my dream. Hopefully this is the appetizer for that.”
Here’s the song along with visuals captured at this year’s Cannes Film Festival:
And now- we wait and see if audiences love the song enough to make us forget Lily-Rose Depp’s character was called a “human cum-sock.”