The Weeknd is of East African heritage, and a lot of Ethiopian music played in his household. His style of singing is more about the feeling than the technique, and in some cases he creates songs by "letting his voice do the talking."
"Gone" is an example of a track where he just let it flow - The Weeknd has said that he freestyled the lyrics, and didn't even know what he was saying. The song seems to touch on his relationship with drugs and alcohol, describing how they come into play on a typical night out.
The lyrics to "Heartbreak Hotel" were written by a steel guitar player who was once a dishwasher repairman. He was inspired by a newspaper story about a man who killed himself and left behind a note saying only, "I walk a lonely street."