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May 10, 2021

Save Your Tears, The Weeknd and Ariana Grande are Here

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The Weeknd and Ariana Grande have mastered the romance genre. From the very sultry and sensual lyrics in their first collaboration “Love Me Harder” back in 2014, to last year’s potential heartbreak in “Off the Table” to last month’s recent remix, where they sing about full-on heartbreak in The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears (Remix).” The voices and styles of these artists blend so well together and the proof is in the charts. The duo has never failed to hit number one with their collabs.

“Save Your Tears” is the fourth song on The Weeknd’s After Hours album that was released last year and peaked at number one on the iTunes chart and the Billboard Top 100. Although it definitely wasn’t my favorite song on After Hours (look to “Escape from LA” and “Snowchild”), I will admit that Ariana’s addition persuaded me to add the song to my current playlist, and not just because she referenced my astrological sign. 

Besides this version with Ariana, The Weeknd has another remix of “Save Your Tears” with the producer OPN that was also released last year, although the main difference is merely just a dance-electronic twist on the original beat. Of course, it doesn’t compare. 

Ariana gives the song a magical quality. Her voice is sweet and gentle, with an alluring edge that immediately distinguishes her background vocals in the first verse from the ones in the original version. When she actually starts singing in the second verse, her first line is “Met you under a Pisces moon,”  furthering this fantastical aspect in her words (she wrote her own lyrics). 

The lyrics are regretful and bittersweet. Ariana and The Weeknd exchange lines about their struggle with being in love but having a fear of commitment that ends up hurting their lover (“makes you cry”). They both sing, “I realize that it’s much too late and you deserve someone better,” which gives a sense of loss that is completely undercutted by the song’s cheerful beat. The background is bouncy and upbeat, making the song perfect for those moments when you feel sad, but don’t want to be sad. You get the best of both worlds. 

Although The Weeknd has been popular since his early edgy R&B albums, he has recently been known for singing his sadness out over a pop melody. This is seen in his other big successes on the After Hours album, “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless.” 

The animated music video includes two trademarks of the After Hours aesthetic: The Weeknd’s sunglasses and outer space. The video is set in outer space. It shows The Weeknd’s character in his signature sunglasses building Ariana piece by piece, like a doll, in his futuristic factory. The concept seems a little unrelated to the song, but it is an entertaining and pandemic-approved watch. 

I encourage you to add this remix to your “Upbeat Sad” playlists (or Heartbreak Pop as Apple music calls it) and surely you’ll “save your tears for another day.”

Keshonna Jackson is a Freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at kej49@cornell.edu.