If Taylor Swift owned the previous year’s charts, then The Weeknd is 2015’s most popular artist so far in that regard. Just like Swift, the Canadian singer and songwriter managed the performance of stealing the top spot from himself, replacing Can’t Feel My Face with The Hills (although the latter was released as a single and entered the charts before).
Named after Wes Craven’s 1977 horror flick The Hills Have Eyes, the song’s atmosphere seems to match its influence. Many critics noticed this, such as Pitchfork who associated the screams with horror movies, while also mentioning that the song has a “disaffected croak”, or New York Post who felt the singer was ”brilliantly sinister” on it. In the same line of thinking, The Hills was described by Consequence of Sound as a “darkened synth bomb”.
The song’s video only adds to that atmosphere, picturing Abel crawling out of a wrecked car which later on explodes behind him. USA Today called the clip “harrowing”, noting that it “compounds the sense of unease”. Under The Gun Review praised the video by calling it an “absolutely gorgeous piece of visual entertainment” that’s “worth just as much of your time and attention as the music itself”.
The Hills spent 6 consecutive weeks at number one in Billboard Top 100, before being dethroned by Adele’s Hello.