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An Underappreciated Union: Ranking the Weeknd & Lana Del Rey's collaborations

Danielle Cheesman

 // Mar 29, 2017

Lana Del Rey has stayed relatively quiet since the release of 2015's Honeymoon, but if fans were to look for her anywhere, they could find her crooning hypnotically aside her complementary counterpart, the Weeknd. Not only did she appear on Abel's Beauty Behind the Madness that same year, but the duo reunited for two tracks off his latest Starboy release, as well. Now Lana is back on the solo circuit having just announced today a new upcoming album, Lust for Life, and if you've been paying attention to her clues, another collaboration between the affinitive musicians is likely in the works.

On Sunday (March 26), Lana tweeted, without context, "XO"—a possible nod to the Weeknd's own record label.

Then, yesterday (March 29), it was revealed that ASCAP's searchable database listed the Weeknd as a writer for the title track of Lana's upcoming LP.

And now, in the teaser video for Lust For Life that dropped today, another hint towards the Weeknd's contribution has been made.

In the black and white clip, Lana plays a witch-like character who, as her narration reveals, lives in the "H" of California's famed "Hollywood" sign. Objects float and spin around her, defying gravity, as she overlooks the city from her window. And in one moment, as she wonders what to "cook up" for her fans on this album, items fly from her empty hand to a heated pot in the other and one of them is another "XO" symbol. See it below at the 1:06 mark.

As we wait for their latest joint effort, let's review and rank their past shared projects:

No. 3 | "Party Monster," 2017

With less than a minute left to the song, one in which the Weekend tells the tale of a femme fatale he can't trust but is seemingly at the mercy of, Lana enters to quite literally confirm his paranoia, repeatedly whispering the phrase until the song closes out almost to make a mockery of his victimhood. It's so cinematic we wish she'd been invited onto the track sooner.

No. 2 | "Prisoner," 2015

As both artists share equal time on this track, it could be dubbed their only true duet. Playing to both of their strengths, it's over-the-top gloomy. And when their voices, his falsetto and her pouty lilt, come together for a choir-like harmony—"I'm a prisoner to my addiction / I'm addicted to a life that's so empty and so cold / I'm a prisoner to my decisions"—it manages to make the feeling of "woe is me" grandiose. And when the closer turns to a lonely piano and some ghostly spoken-word, you've had enough of the celebrity sob story.

No. 1 | "Stargirl Interlude," 2017

It's a shame that the track on which the Weeknd finally and affectionately casts Lana as the female counterpart to his titular character, clocks in at less than two minutes. It's an undersell of what could have been their strongest union. Though backed minimally by a reverberating guitar and percussion thuds, the beat still manages to be atmospheric, largely due to Lana's sultry delivery and piercing falsetto, the latter of which we don't hear often. Swapping roles, the Weeknd enters to close the track with his own repeated phrase—this one more encouraging than the previous—but, still, despite his brief cameo, their artistic chemistry reaches picturesque levels, leaving you wanting to see these two, even if in-character, on the musical equivalent of a big screen.

The duo's synergy in the studio is no secret and we can only hope a more deliberate effort of their meeting of the minds is on its way. After all, the Weeknd once told Pitchfork of Lana:

"I've inspired her, she's inspired me. I feel like we've always been talking to each other through our music. She is the girl in my music, and I am the guy in her music."

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