False Alarm (The Weeknd song)

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"False Alarm"
The Weeknd - False Alarm.jpg
Promotional single by The Weeknd
from the album Starboy
Released September 29, 2016 (2016-09-29)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2016 At Gang Studio, Paris
Genre Dance-punk[1]
Length 3:50
Music video
"False Alarm" on YouTube

"False Alarm"[2] is a song by Canadian singer and songwriter The Weeknd, released as a promotional single from his third album Starboy on September 29, 2016.

Background and composition[edit]

After the release of the title track on September 22, 2016 following the release of Starboy's artwork and title the day earlier,[3] "False Alarm" was released as a promotional single on September 29, 2016.[4] The song lyrically revolves around drugs, unromantic relationships and materialism.[5]

Music video[edit]

A music video was released on October 13, 2016, and was directed by Ilya Naishuller. It depicts a bank robbery through the first-person perspective of one of the robbers. Due to the graphic violence in the video, a disclaimer was put in the opening, warning that explicit content could advise viewer discretion.[6]


The video begins with the heist underway, with the protagonist (The Weeknd), a robber wearing a red skull mask (Randy Irwin), a robber wearing a yellow skull mask (Sam Hale), a robber wearing a white skull mask (Damion Poitier), and a robber wearing a black skull mask loading money into three bags while the police start to show up outside. The team heads to the back exit to escape, taking a young woman (Kristine Froseth) hostage in the process. At the exit, they engage the police outside and the black-masked robber is killed. A van shows up, ramming through the police cars and the team loads all the money and the hostage into the van.

While the team is boarding the van, the white-masked robber is shot and dies in the van. The team takes out two police cars before the yellow-masked robber is killed by a policeman on a motorcycle. The protagonist takes out the bike and another van shows up for the surviving robbers to board and throw the money onto. The first bag makes it onto the new van, but the second bag is lost. The protagonist then chooses to throw the hostage into the new van instead of the last bag of money before boarding it himself, which infuriates the red-masked robber. As the driver of the first van is about to board the second van with the last bag of money, the first van crashes into a parked car and explodes.

The red-masked robber promptly attacks the protagonist, and while preparing to kill him, the hostage grabs a gun and shoots the red-masked robber. This allows the protagonist to retaliate and finish him off. The hostage then gestures to the front of the van, where it's revealed that the driver has been killed and a truck is barreling towards them. The protagonist shields the hostage with his body as the impact of the crash sends the van into a ditch.

Both the hostage and the protagonist survive the crash, but a large piece of glass becomes lodged in the protagonist's stomach. She crawls towards him and he gives her the keys to her handcuffs to free herself. As she gets close, he reaches out and cups her face, but she grabs a bag of money from behind him and starts to climb out of the van. He lifts a gun to shoot her, but hesitates, and she leaves. With police sirens getting louder, he holds up the cross necklace around his neck and examines it. He then looks in a rear view mirror and reveals his identity as The Weeknd. He then puts the gun to his chin and a gunshot is heard as the screen cuts to black.

Live performances[edit]

Both "False Alarm" and the title track "Starboy" were performed on the season 42 premiere of Saturday Night Live on October 1, 2016.[7]

Appearances in other media[edit]

"False Alarm" was the official theme song of WWE's 2016 Survivor Series event.[8]


Chart (2016) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[9] 72
Australia Urban (ARIA)[10] 9
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[11] 33
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[12] 38
France (SNEP)[13] 98
Ireland (IRMA)[14] 65
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 79
New Zealand Heatseekers (Recorded Music NZ)[16] 1
Portugal (AFP)[17] 45
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[18] 86
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[19] 25
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[20] 89
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[21] 85
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[22] 51
US Billboard Hot 100[23] 55
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[24] 23

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label(s) Ref
Worldwide September 29, 2016 Digital download [4]


  1. ^ "Listen To The Weeknd Take On Dance-Punk With "False Alarm"". myspace. 
  2. ^ "The Weeknd "False Alarm" - Republic Playbook". Republic Records. October 8, 2016. Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2016. 
  3. ^ Josephs, Brian (September 21, 2016). "The Weeknd Reveals His New Album Starboy". Spin. Retrieved October 12, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Lawler, Kelly (September 30, 2016). "Not a 'False Alarm': The Weeknd drops another new single". USA Today. Retrieved October 12, 2016 – via Gannett Company. 
  5. ^ Atkinson, S. (September 30, 2016). "The Weeknd's "False Alarm" Lyrics Explore Familiar Themes In A Cool New Way — LISTEN". Bustle. Retrieved October 12, 2016. 
  6. ^ The Weeknd - False Alarm, retrieved October 15, 2016 
  7. ^ Young, Alex (October 2, 2016). "The Weeknd kicks off Saturday Night Live's 42nd season in style — watch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 12, 2016. 
  8. ^ Keller, Wade (November 7, 2016). "KELLER'S WWE RAW REVIEW 11/7: Survivor Series hype for first Raw ever in Scotland including big five-person main event". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved November 12, 2016. Graves plugged the official theme song of Survivor Series, "False Alarm" by the Weeknd. 
  9. ^ "ARIA CHART WATCH #397". auspOp. December 3, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016. 
  10. ^ "ARIA Urban Singles Chart". ARIA. December 4, 2016. Retrieved December 11, 2016. 
  11. ^ "The Weeknd Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  12. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201648 into search. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés - SNEP (Week 42, 2016)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved October 22, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Chart Track: Week 48, 2016". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  15. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Weeknd – False Alarm" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "NZ Heatseekers Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. October 10, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – The Weeknd – False Alarm". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  18. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  19. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201648 into search. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  20. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Weeknd – False Alarm". Singles Top 100. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  21. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Weeknd – False Alarm". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  22. ^ "The Weeknd: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
  23. ^ "The Weeknd Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  24. ^ "The Weeknd Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2017.