Billboard recently declared that The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” is the top song in the long history of their storied Hot 100 chart. The song is heavily inspired by synth-forward ’80s music, and in a new Billboard interview pegged to the Hot 100 news, The Weeknd gave credit to the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for fostering in him an interest in ’80s music.
In the piece, co-producer Max Martin notes of the song, “Abel came with the vision of what the song should be, which was a very different tempo and vibe than what is usually done. He took a risk, and that was very impressive to us. We all felt this song was very special even early on in the process.” The Weeknd then added, “GTA: Vice City really opened my eyes to a lot of ’80s music, so there was a nostalgia for when I was a kid playing video games and listening to Hall & Oates and Michael Jackson while driving through the city.”
The Grand Theft Auto games are well known for their soundtracks, which players experience through in-game radio stations. Vice City has nine stations and they all cycle through their own playlists of about 15 songs each (except for the one station that doesn’t play music). Since the game is set in 1986, all of the songs included are from that year or earlier. Hall & Oates has one song in the game, “Out Of Touch,” while Jackson has two: “Billie Jean” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”
Check out the full interview here.