Just weeks before Coachella was set to open its gates to thousands of chicly-dressed influencers and young music lovers, Kanye West decided he wouldn’t be headlining the festival after all.
Each night of the program has one name at the top of the bill, and this year, Sunday night was supposed to belong to the rapper. Once he abandoned ship, only Harry Styles and Billie Eilish were left. Organizers rushed to fill the gaping hole in the schedule.
Thankfully, not only did one superstar step up, but he brought his friends along for the ride. West’s spot was filled by The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia, one of the most popular DJ groups in the world. They had recently collaborated on several songs, and brought that magic to the main stage at Coachella, and they’re going to do so again when weekend two begins.
As a way to celebrate the two acts coming together to headline one of the biggest music festivals in the world, here are 10 of The Weeknd’s best collaborations (in alphabetical order — it’s too hard to rank the best of the best).
“6 Inch” by Beyoncé with The Weeknd
Any collaboration with Beyoncé is sure to rank among an artist’s best, right? The queen recruited The Weeknd for “6 Inch” from her critically acclaimed full-length Lemonade. It’s sultry, sexy, and incredibly dark, so it fits the two of them perfectly.
“Elastic Heart” by Sia with the Weeknd and Diplo
The original version of this song, written and recorded for one of the Hunger Games soundtracks, is a collaboration between Sia, Diplo, and The Weeknd, though it might not be the take the public is most familiar with. Sia re-recorded the tune as a standalone single from her album 1000 Forms of Fear, and she turned it into a solo hit, though it all started as a group effort.
“I Feel It Coming” with Daft Punk
Daft Punk is credited on two songs from The Weeknd’s Starboy album, including the title track and “I Feel It Coming.” While “Starboy” was the bigger win of the two (it bolted right to No. 1 on the Hot 100 singles chart in America), the follow-up smash might be even better. It’s a bit more approachable and easy to get into, and it was also a major hit in its own right.
“Love Me Harder” with Ariana Grande
When The Weeknd appeared on Ariana Grande’s single “Love Me Harder,” it was a big deal for him. At the time, he was still an up-and-coming artist, and he was known more as a critic’s choice than a hitmaker.
The tune served as the fourth single from her album My Everything (which was packed to the brim with smashes), and it helped him reach a new audience for the first time.
“Lust for Life” Lana Del Rey with the Weeknd
It’s not always easy to make sure a collaboration between two artists actually sounds like a melding of both of their individual styles, but somehow The Weeknd and Lana Del Rey managed to do just that on “Lust for Life.” The song shared a name with the album it’s featured on, and it was a hit (a minor one, but still popular for a moment) for both acts.
“Moth to a Flame” with Swedish House Mafia
The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia might be sharing a stage at Coachella, but that only tells part of the story of their working relationship. The production/DJ duo worked with the Canadian R&B/pop musician on both their new album and his. He’s credited as a vocalist on their single “Moth to a Flame,” the biggest hit from their comeback release Paradise Again. They also contributed to his most recent project Dawn FM, as they produced the singles “Sacrifice” and “Take My Breath.”
“Pray for Me” with Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar really killed it with the Black Panther soundtrack he curated, co-produced and co-wrote, and performs on. The album spun off several singles, with “Pray for Me” ranking as one of the most popular, as it became a relatively rare top 10 smash from a soundtrack. Focus track “All the Stars” ended up competing for Grammys and Oscars, but The Weeknd’s contribution is not to be forgotten.
“Power Is Power” with SZA and Travis Scott
Another soundtrack, another must-hear collaboration from The Weeknd. He teamed up with SZA (who is on “All the Stars,” as everything is connected) and rapper Travis Scott for the dark-tinged electronic affair that is “Power Is Power,” which was created specifically for an album tied to Game of Thrones. It’s not one of his better-remembered cuts, but don’t sleep on this one.
“Save Your Tears” with Ariana Grande
“Save Your Tears” succeeded as a solo song and a collaboration, which speaks to just how catchy and expertly-crafted the songwriting is. On his album After Hours, the tune doesn’t feature anybody, but in an effort to keep pushing it up the Hot 100, The Weeknd brought Ariana Grande on board. Once she became involved, the track shot right to No. 1, giving both artists their sixth leader on the tally. “Save Your Tears” ended 2021 as one of the biggest hits in the world, and it’s the most successful duet between the two.
“You Right” with Doja Cat
Doja Cat was a star before she released her 2021 album Planet Her, but her third full-length took her to new heights and proved she was no one-hit wonder. “You Right” was released right around the time the complete set dropped, and it almost became another top 10 smash for the two, but it frustratingly peaked at No. 11 on the Hot 100. No matter! Fans can’t stop singing along, and it remains a high point in both musician’s discographies.
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