The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber have teamed up for a collaborative track that recently hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and on Billboard’s Global 200. It’s called “Stay.”
This song focuses on a man who asks his girlfriend to stay in a relationship with him, even though he’s unsure if he’ll ever be able to change for the better.
It’s clear that this young man loves his girlfriend, and he tells her so: “When I’m away from you, I miss your touch/You’re the reason I believe in love.” He also promises to stay by her side: “Ain’t no way that I can leave you stranded/’Cause you ain’t ever left me empty-handed.”
However, this relationship feels like it’s steeped in an unhealthy amount of emotional manipulation and codependency: “And you know that I know that I can’t live without you/So, baby, stay.”
Later on, same guy says, profanely, that his unhealthy patterns and choices are bound to be continually repeated: “I’m afraid I’ma f— it up/ I do the same thing I told you that I never would/I told you I’d change even when I knew I never could/…I get drunk, wake up, I’m wasted still/I realize the time that I wasted here.”
This single romanticizes an unhealthy relationship while being honest about how hard it is to change, especially when you feel permanent change is impossible. Still, I’d suggest that the overall message is not a positive one, especially as it’s highlighted by a fair bit of profanity.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).