Finding inspiration in real life? Shawn Mendes dropped surprise single “What the Hell Are We Dying For?” on Friday, June 9, and fans quickly started dissecting the lyrics — and its potential connection to his ex Camila Cabello.
“‘WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DYING FOR ?’ OUT NOW. Started writing this song yesterday morning with my friends in upstate New York & finished it only a few hours ago,” the “Stitches” crooner, 24, wrote via Instagram early on Friday. “Felt important to me to share with you guys in real time ♥️♥️.”
Mendes teased the release of the track several hours earlier on Thursday, June 8, uploading an Instagram photo of the Manhattan skyline cloaked in smoke amid the Canadian wildfires. (New York City and many East Coast cities have been under an air quality warning since Tuesday, June 6, as a result of the forest fires blowing smoke in its direction. The air, which has made it difficult for residents to breathe, has smelled like a burning campfire and makes the sky look orange.)
The Lyle Lyle Crocodile voice actor, who hails from Canada, also urged his followers on Friday to donate to the Canadian Red Cross and their efforts to provide aid on the frontlines. “What the Hell Are We Dying For?” also features lyrics that directly refer to the wildfires and smoke seen across NYC, as well as potential allusions to rekindling a relationship.
“I wanna speak, but I don’t make a sound / Locked in my mind, you’re all I think about,” he sings. “I wanna save us but I don’t know how / If we don’t love like we used to / If we don’t care like we used to / What the hell are we dying for? … If you’re not mine and I’m not yours / What the hell are we dying for?”
Mendes adds in another verse: “Living without you / Is not living at all / So what the hell are we dying for?”
While the “Mercy” artist has not disclosed all of his musical inspirations, his fans immediately thought he could be referring to Cabello, 26.
“He’s so unserious for framing this like a climate change call to action song and it’s literally just about Camila Cabello,” one social media user wrote via Twitter on Friday.
Another posited: “So you’re gonna use a climate crisis to release a breakup song about Camila Cabello… ikyfl.”
Mendes and the Cinderella actress dated for two years before calling it quits in November 2021, ultimately reconnecting earlier this year. They were spotted packing on the PDA at Coachella in April but declined to comment further on their relationship status at the time. They then continued to step out side-by-side in NYC and at Taylor Swift’s Eras Tours concert across the river in New Jersey in May.
“They’ve practically moved in with each other,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly earlier this month. “They each have their own places, but they’re spending every day they can together and traveling together.”
The insider noted that the “Señorita” singers’ feelings for one another came “flooding back” after they started hanging out again. “They don’t like leaving each other’s sides,” the source added to Us, explaining that it still “feels like a new relationship.”