The Weeknd's Best Dance Music Crossovers
Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, is a chameleon of sorts. Mainly creating R&B, Tesfaye dabbles in pop, electro, synth, and even disco. Now he’s taking a walk on the ambient and EDM side with his newest release, Dawn FM.
While still technically classified as R&B, there’s some blissful techno, and house vibes sprinkled throughout. The tracks “How Do I Make You Love Me?” and “Sacrifice” are two examples of more dance-heavy songs, both having received the Swedish House Mafia treatment. In fact, according to Tesfaye, the album as a whole was inspired by the trio.
This is Tesfaye’s fifth studio album and is the sequel to his 2020 release, After Hours, which makes sense considering the dawn after the dark. Dawn FM is formatted almost like a radio show, making the name that much more appropriate. And with any radio show, there’s usually a DJ involved, and would you believe that, in the case of this album, that Jim Carrey, yes I’m talking about the famous actor Jim Carrey, is it? He’s got various speaking interludes, serving as host of this radio program, guiding you through this musical journey.
Tesfaye could be called a serial collaborator, and he’s worked with great musicians across many genres. So in celebration of this dance-influenced release, we’re showcasing The Weeknd’s best crossover hits so you can give them a listen if you haven’t already.
Swedish House Mafia (with The Weeknd) - Moth To A Flame
As mentioned above that two tracks from this new album featured house legends Swedish House Mafia. But did you know that they’ve collaborated before? Last year, the Mafia released “Moth to a Flame,” on their third studio album, and the song featured Tesfaye. However, his brooding style and melancholic keyboards made the track seem more Tesfaye’s than Swedish House Mafia, even with the pulsating bassline.
The Weeknd (Feat. Daft Punk) - I Feel It Coming
When Tesfaye released his third album, Starboy, two of the songs featured Daft Punk; the lead single of the same name, “Starboy,” as well as “I Feel it Coming.” If you’ve heard either of those tracks, you can get the Daft Punk influence with house and 80s pop. And if you know anything about Tesfaye, this collaboration was a dream come true he said before that Daft Punk’s the reason he makes music. Which makes it bittersweet that “I Feel it Coming” is the last single Daft Punk released before their breakup.
Kavinsky - Odd Look (The Weeknd Remix)
Next up is “Odd Look,” a track originaly produced by Kavinsky and SebastiAn in 2013. This 80s inspired song is full of nostalgia, pop, and synth-wave, which is, of course, Kavinsky’s forte. The addition of Tesfaye's vocals completely elevates the song to new heights. It's too bad they didn't update the throwback video with his vocals. It’s songs like these, coupled with his incredible falsetto, that draw comparisons between Tesfaye and Michael Jackson.
Disclosure (feat. The Weeknd) - Nocturnal
For Disclosure’s sophomore album Caracal, they brought Tesfaye on to help with the lead single, “Nocturnal.” At almost seven minutes long, this track is the longest on the album, yet by no means does it drag. The first part begins gradually before bursting into frenetic energy, all while Tesfaye sings about insomnia and nighttime woes. The boys are paying homage to their early sound, bringing back classic Disclosure with the heavy bass and unorthodox rhythm.
Calvin Harris, The Weeknd - Over Now
In 2020, Tesfaye and Scottish DJ Calvin Harris released a funky, upbeat R&B track, “Over Now.” This song was the first release for Harris under his Calvin Harris moniker since 2019, as he’d been releasing music under the new alias, Love Regenerator. It was also the first collaboration between the two but definitely wouldn’t be their last, as Harris contributed to Tesfaye’s current release with the seductive track, “I Heard You’re Married.”
Gesaffelstein & The Weeknd - Lost in the Fire
Now it seems that when Tesfaye collaborates with someone, it’s never just one song. French DJ and producer Gesaffelstein is a perfect example of that. In 2018 he was featured on two of Tesfaye’s songs, “I Was Never There” and “Hurt You,” and then in 2019, they collaborated again on “Lost in the Fire.” The latter collaboration is a groovy dance track that’s got just the right amount of deep sadness and emotion, which seems to be Tesfaye’s specialty.
Oneohtrix Point Never - No Nightmares
A frequent collaborator of Tesfaye’s is Oneohtrix Point Never, aka OPN. They seem to go back and forth helping each other out, with Tesfaye helping produce OPN’s Magic Oneohtrix Point Never album while OPN contributed three tracks to Tesfaye’s 2020 release, After Hours. Tesfaye appeared on OPN’s track, “No Nightmares,” which has a more experimental sound laced with 80s pop and synths. His dreamy voice perfectly compliments the somber lyrics, adding just the right amount of blissfulness.