Right now, the smoke from massive Canadian wildfires is choking a whole lot of North America. The photos and videos of New York look apocalyptic. Even down in Virginia, where I live, we can barely go outside. Shit is fucked up! Canadian pop star Shawn Mendes is staying in upstate New York right now, and he apparently felt it necessary to comment on those fires through song. Today, he released “What The Hell Are We Dying For?,” a wildfire-inspired song that he wrote over the past few days.
Last night, Mendes tweeted, “Started writing this song yesterday morning with my friends in upstate Newyork & finished it only a few hours ago..felt so important to me to share with you guys in real time.” Some fans are reportedly mad about the cover art for “What The Hell Are We Dying For?,” an image of the smoke-choked New York skyline. That seems like a weird thing to be mad about, since the proceeds are going to the Canadian Red Cross.
The song itself is pleasantly generic inspirational pop music, and its lyrics only vaguely address the fires: “Smoke in the air, the city’s burnin’ down/ I wanna speak, but I don’t make a sound… I see it in the news, I see it in your eyes/ I try to let you go, then I choke, I change my mind.” Mostly, this seems to be a general breakup song. (Word around the campfire is that Mendes and Camila Cabello just broke up for the second time.) Mendes wrote “What The Hell Are We Dying For?” with regular collaborators Scott Harris, Mike Sabath, and Eddie Benjamin, and he co-produced the track with Sabath. Listen below.