An in demand feat. artist, The Weeknd is often called upon to sprinkle some of his magic onto tracks by some of the global music scene’s shiniest stars. We reckon this smattering of songs feature some of Abel’s finest vocal performances.
Lust For Life
Lana Del Rey feat. The Weeknd (2017)
Not an Iggy Pop cover, BTW. Lana Del Rey’s alluring whispering at the start of this song evokes Never Ever by All Saints (choon!). Instrumentation tips its hat to ’60s girl groups such as The Angels and when Del Rey actually sings, “My boyfriend’s back,“ it’s gotta be with a knowing wink, right? Lust For Life‘s Clark Jackson-directed music video even sees Del Rey performing on set as part of an all-girl trio before she scales a ladder and pops up on top of the Hollywood sign to join Tesfaye: “They say only the good die young/ That just ain’t right…“ His trademark falsetto blends seamlessly with Del Rey’s timbre to create an intoxicating blend and we reckon it’s definitely Tesfaye’s uncanny knack for effortlessly enhancing lead vocals – like dropping in an extra gossamer layer of sonic bliss on top – that makes The Weeknd such a sought after feat. artist. Some claim this film clip references the British stage and screen actor, Peg Entwistle, who jumped from the ‘H’ of the Hollywood sign in 1932, dying by suicide aged 24. Although Lust For Life is the first song on any of Del Rey’s studio albums to feature another artist, it’s actually the fourth Del Rey/The Weeknd collab: she features on Prisoner (from 2015’s Beauty Behind The Madness) as well as Stargirl Interlude and Party Monster (from 2016’s Starboy).
Sia feat. The Weeknd & Diplo (2013)
Most sets of ears probably discovered Sia’s solo version of Elastic Heart (2014) via the controversial video co-starring Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler, but we definitely prefer the one featuring TheWeeknd and Diplo, which was released a year prior as the second single to be lifted from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire OST. There’s more bass in those Diplo beats, which positively throb, and those bizarre, percussive, cut-up vocal sounds really pop from the mix. When Tesfaye takes the second verse, his voice melts in like a trusted companion: “And I will stay up through the night/ Let’s be clear, I won’t close my eyes/ And I know that I can survive/ I walked through fire to save my life…“ – The Weeknd’s falsetto/tremolo combo quivers with emotional heft, adding pleasing piquancy.
Cashmere Cat feat. The Weeknd (2016)
Following its release, comparisons were drawn between Wild Love and Imogen Heap’s Hide And Seek (2005). Wild Love certainly is a glitchy affair and we’d put money on that repeated mystery noise being a sample of someone stepping on a rubber ducky. Oh, ok! So it turns out said noise is apparently an 8-bit classic video game sound effect. As you were. This is the first of five collaborations between Cashmere Cat and Tesfaye, the Norwegian musician/DJ/producer returning the favour and scoring songwriting/production credits for four tracks on The Weeknd’s third studio album Starboy: True Colors, Attention, All I Know and Die For You.
Beyoncé feat. The Weeknd (2016)
Hey, get your mind outta the gutter it’s about six-inch heels! “Six inch heels/She walked in the club like nobody’s business…“ – the way Tesfaye enunciates Mexico (MeHico) gets us every single time. This one is an ode to hard-working, independent women everywhere and it’s extremely likely that Beyoncé drew a parallel between the 24/7/365 grind of this song’s protagonist and her own global superstar-related hustle. As much as the badass working girl in the song is “…worth every dollar/ And she worth every minute“, the gasping “come back, come back, come back“ outro reveals a chink in her armour and leaves the listener wanting to know what happens next. The Weeknd scores a songwriting credit on this sonic masterpiece also.
After Hours by The Weeknd is out March 20 via Republic.
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