When Selena Gomez returned to music in late 2019, she did so with two songs about Justin Bieber. Now, turnabout is fair play, as her ex-boyfriend, The Weeknd, seemingly referenced their short-lived 2017 romance on his brand new album, After Hours. At least, that’s what fans thought after listening to “Save Your Tears,” thanks to the very first line in the first verse. “I saw you dancing in a crowded room,” The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) sings. Sound familiar? Well, Selena dropped a song on her recent album, called none other than “Crowded Room”!
“Hold up… is ‘save your tears’ about selena?!? ‘i saw you in a crowded room’ abel PLEASEEEE #AfterHours,” one fan tweeted. Another fan dug especially deep: “abel referenced crowded room 2 times on after hours. selena has a song called crowded room ft. 6lack someone who toured with abel during legend of the fall tour (sometimes referred to as abelena world tour.” The fan was referring to the Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour that ran between Feb.-July 2017, when Selena and Abel were dating!
Meanwhile, another fan detected a possible Selena reference in “Escape From LA.” At the end of the last verse he sings, “She’s all mine until he calls her line.” Upon hearing that, the fan tweeted, “why he end selena and Justin in this one line.” However, fans were convinced that the very same song was about Abel’s other ex, Bella Hadid — actually, there was general confusion across Twitter as to which songs were specifically about Selena, and vice versa (if they were the true muses).
Initially, fans were expecting a completely different Selena song. Shortly after Abel returned to music in 2019, fans spotted that he had registered a song titled “Like Selena” with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Polishers directory. While there was some speculation that this might be about Selena Quintanilla — since Netflix has a new series about the Tejano singer on the way and Abel is not shy about lending his music to commercial projects (see how contributed his “Blinding Lights” to a Mercedes-Benz commercial) – others got ready for another Selena Gomez-themed track.
Abel – who dated Selena for 10 months in 2017 until they broke up, and she rekindled her ill-fated romance with Justin – seemingly wrote about Selena on his 2018 EP, My Dear Melancholy. “Guess I was just another pit stop/’Til you made up your mind/You just wasted my time,” he sang, seemingly referencing how quickly she got back with Justin. Funny enough, Selena referenced how quickly Justin got with Hailey Baldwin on “Lose You To Love Me” (I gave my all and they all know it / then you tore me down and now it’s showing / in two months, you replaced us / like it was easy.”)
— LV (@lucianavee) March 20, 2020
“You want to get it out. It’s like you close a chapter,” he told TIME magazine in May 2018. “Prior to Melancholy, I had a whole album written, done. Which wasn’t melancholy at all because it was a different time in my life. It was very upbeat—it was beautiful.” The Weeknd scrapped the album because he had moved on past those feelings, and he didn’t “want to perform something that I don’t feel.” As to this pre-Selena breakup album, Abel said it would “never” see the light of day.
Before releasing his album, The Weeknd touched upon his other source of heartbreak, Bella. The on-again/off-again lovers split for the second time in August 2019. Though they’ve remained friendly, he said that he has to throw himself into his music to stave off the sadness. “It’s a gift and a curse but it helps me give undivided attention to my work. I enjoy being a workaholic, I think, he told CR MEN, “or I’m just addicted to it. Even when I’m not working I’m always somehow still working. It distracts from the loneliness, I guess.”