Blinding Lights

Album: After Hours (2019)
Charted: 1 1
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Songfacts®:

  • This up-tempo electropop track finds The Weeknd recounting how his lover lights up his life.

    I said, ooh, I'm blinded by the lights
    No, I can't sleep until I feel your touch


    The singer is not at peace unless he is in the company of his lady.
  • So who is the lady The Weekend is speaking of? It is likely the singer is addressing his on-off-on girlfriend, Bella Hadid. The clue is in the song's bridge where Abel tells the girl he "will never let her go this time."

    After breaking up with Hadid in November 2016, The Weeknd dated Selena Gomez for nine months before reuniting with the model in 2019. Having lost Bella for a while, it seems he now realizes he is only emotionally completed when he's with her. Abel is determined to keep their relationship going this time.

    The Weeknd previously touched upon his need for Bella on his preceding single, "Heartless."
  • The song was originally teased in a trailer on German TV for a Mercedes-Benz EQC electric SUV advert. The full-length version of the commercial premiered a few days later on November 29, 2019, alongside the single. The Weeknd plays a central role in the commercial, driving around in his Mercedes and performing the track.
  • The Weeknd wrote the synth-drenched song with:

    Canadian rapper Belly. A frequent collaborator of Abel Tesfaye, Belly earned six writing credits on Beauty Behind the Madness, most notably on "Earned It" and "The Hills."

    Canadian producer Jason "DaHeala" Quenneville. He frequently works with The Weeknd, including on the hit singles "Earned It" and "Starboy."

    Swedish producer Max Martin. Their previous collaborations include the singles "Can't Feel My Face" and "In the Night," plus The Weeknd's hookup with Ariana Grande, "Love Me Harder."

    Swedish writer-producer Oscar Holter. He has also worked on hit singles by Katy Perry ("Bon Appetit"), Hailee Steinfeld ("Love Myself"), Pink ("Just Like Fire") and Tori Kelly ("Should've Been Us").

    The Weeknd co-produced the track with Max Martin and Oscar Holter.
  • This became The Weeknd's first-ever UK chart-topping single, besting his previous best performance with 2016's #2 hit "Starboy."
  • The Weeknd performed this on Saturday Night Live when he was the musical guest on the March 7, 2020 episode. This marked the Weeknd's third visit to the show's Studio 8H, following appearances in 2015 and 2016.
  • "Blinding Lights" became The Weeknd's fifth Hot 100 #1 when it topped the chart dated April 4, 2020. He'd previously visited the summit with "Can't Feel My Face," "The Hills," "Starboy." and "Heartless."
  • The Weeknd told Esquire the song is about wanting to see your lover so much, even being being inebriated won't put you off.

    "You're driving to this person and you're just blinded by streetlights, but nothing could stop you from trying to go see that person, because you're so lonely," he explained. "I don't want to ever promote drunk driving, but that's what the dark undertone is."
  • This won Video of the Year at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. At the socially distanced ceremony, The Weeknd performed the song from the observation deck at the Edge building in New York City in an elaborate production number with a helicopter, fireworks, and "blinding" spotlights.
  • The song broke the record for the most time spent in the Top 5 of the Hot 100. "Blinding Lights" eclipsed Chainsmokers' "Closer" and Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You" when it clocked up its 28th week in the top tier.

    On the Hot 100 dated March 13, 2021, "Blinding Lights" stayed in the Top 10 for the 52nd consecutive week. This ensured it became the first song in the chart's history to spend a whole year in that region on the survey.

    On the Hot 100 dated August 21, 2021, the song logged on for its 88th week on the tally, breaking the record for most weeks spent on the chart. The track surpassed Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive," which had an 87-week run on the survey. It eventually dropped off the listing after 90 weeks.
  • The Weeknd released several official remixes, including one featuring vocals from Chromatics and a second by Major Lazer. A third official remix with Rosalía was released on December 4, 2020 to celebrate the first anniversary of the original song's release.
  • The Weeknd closed out his set at the 2021 Super Bowl with this song. It was a rare halftime show with no special guests, but it took place under unusual circumstances, with many restrictions in place due to COVID-19.
  • This won Single Of The Year at the 2021 Juno awards. The Weeknd took home four other gongs from the ceremony: Album Of The Year and Contemporary R&B Recording Of The Year for After Hours, Songwriter Of The Year alongside co-writers Belly and Jason "DaHeala" Quenneville and Artist Of The Year.
  • The Weeknd's love for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City influenced both this song and the rest of After Hours. "Vice City really opened my eyes to a lot of '80s music," he told Billboard, "So there was a nostalgia for when I was a kid playing video games and listening to Hall & Oates and Michael Jackson while driving through the city."

    Tesfaye added that he's tinkered with the sounds of the '80s throughout his career. "It was much more subtle before, but I've always wanted to completely dive into it," he said. "And 10 years in, I think I've earned it."

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