Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and I mentioned in my Logic’s “44 More” Song Review that I had seen the movie “Black Panther” recently. I referenced it to create an ever-smooth transition from talking about a racially charged movie to discuss a song from a white rapper. However, one song from the soundtrack for the movie (which I would really recommend because the soundtrack is awesome) has been in the Billboard Top 10 for the past couple of weeks, so I decided to do a good review of it. The song in question is the last track on the soundtrack, “Pray For Me” by The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar.
Both The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar are artists that I enjoy and respect highly. The Weeknd hooked me in with “Can’t Feel My Face” and took me as a fan with “Beauty Behind The Madness”. His unique voice works well over sultry beats, and he is able to make a variety of genres sound good. From pop (“Starboy”) to rap (“Reminder”) to modern R&B (“The Hills”), there is always I song I like from the man. And, Kendrick Lamar…do I even have to explain why I like him. His flows are amazing, his lyrics are conscious, and his songs and albums have a creative energy that is hard to find in many mainstream projects. With this knowledge, it was easy to guess that I was elated to find that the two has a song together called “Sidewalks” on The Weeknd’s album “Starboy”. It’s a great track, but I feel like it lacked passion. The autotune, while fitting, was a little unnecessary, and I’m not afraid to admit that not all of Kendrick Lamar’s guest verses are godsends (if you need proof, just look up Maroon Five’s “Don’t Wanna Know”). However, when I heard that they made a single together for a Marvel movie, I became even more excited, so I had to look up “Pray For Me”
Honestly, I wasn’t disappointed! There are so many great aspects to this song! The first time I heard this track, I did not like the drum beat at all, but after a few more listens, I came to love it. The rest of the instrumental is powerful, as a soundtrack single should be, and the tribal “lalala’s” in the bridge are a nice touch. The Weeknd’s voice is phenomenal as always, and while Kendrick’s flow is nothing special, it is quite likable. The lyrics add to all this.
“I’m always ready for a war again
Go down that road again
It’s all the same
I’m always ready to take a life again
You know I’ll ride again
It’s all the same (ooh, ooh, ooh)”
The Weeknd starts off the song by setting up the narrative of a burdened hero, bogged down by many trials and tribulations. Still, he fights for the good of the people, even if it is not good for himself.
“Tell me who’s gon’ save me from myself
When this life is all I know
Tell me who’s gon’ save me from myself
Without you, I’m all alone”
At the end of this verse is where we start to see The Weeknd’s own troubles of being a hero. What is really great about the lyrics of this song is that it does not portray heroes as indestructible forces of unending power, but humans like everyone else. This fits in greatly with the movie, too, as the main character T’Challa is only a human.
“Who gon’ pray for me?
Take my pain for me?
Save my soul for me?
‘Cause I’m alone, you see
If I’m gon’ die for you
If I’m gon’ kill for you
Then I spilled this blood for you, hey”
This chorus is a very good peak for the song, not only sonically, but also lyrically. We are able to see the hero’s full vulnerability here, as he asks the common people who will save him when he needs it, and shows that he has done it all for them with almost nothing in return. The power in this chorus only conveys the lyrics’ message, and while this may be a bit of a pop-rap song, it has some great themes in it.
What may be hard for some to swallow, though, is taking in the fact that The Weeknd is basically saying he’s some sort of hero. I mean, is the guy with broccoli hair really going to save us from Killmonger? Well, I think Kendrick’s addition adds well to this “hero” side of things, as he is seen in the modern days by many as the “savior of rap”. Let’s see his verse.
“I fight the world, I fight you, I fight myself
I fight God, just tell me how many burdens left
I fight pain and hurricanes, today I wept
I’m tryna fight back tears, flood on my doorsteps”
Similar to The Weeknd’s part so far in this song, Kendrick is discussing how much he has done, but it is taking a toll on him.
“Life a livin’ hell, puddles of blood in the streets
Shooters on top of the building, government aid ain’t relief
Earthquake, the body dropped, the ground breaks
The poor run with smoke lungs and Scarface”
This has got to be one of my favorite parts of the song. The imagery here is so striking and really puts you in the shoes of a hero facing all of this destruction. Kung-Fu Kenny does not disappoint.
“Who need a hero? (Hero)
You need a hero, look in the mirror, there go your hero
Who on the front lines at ground zero? (Hero)”
And, after such dark imagery, Kendrick brings it around to show how anyone can be a hero, displaying the central theme of the song. It’s truly a great way these two were able to collaborate and bring just amazing themes together.
Overall, this is an epic track. Everything about it is perfect for a movie soundtrack, from the large beat to the banging chorus to the empowering lyrics. Sure, the artists might not have been the most lyrically apt they have ever been, especially Kendrick, but it fits what the song is meant for. Frankly, I did not go into this review wanting to give this a perfect rating, but I think I’m going to have to give this song a 5 out of 5. Do you agree?
Thank you for reading my “Pray For Me” song review. If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep on listening to good music! I know I will.