Even though “Blinding Lights” refuses to die, The Weeknd is still chugging along with the rest of the singles from his record-breaking After Hours album. Originally released in 2020, After Hours has spawned hit singles like “Heartless,” “Blinding Lights,” “In Your Eyes,” and now, “Save Your Tears.” Similar to “In Your Eyes,” which received a remix from Doja Cat, “Save Your Tears” has been given a second life by way of an Ariana Grande.
The Weeknd and Ariana Grande have collaborated twice before (the #7-peaking “Love Me Harder” and the Positions album cut “off the table), and they continue their record of sublime duets with this new remix. In the context of the album, the original version of “Save Your Tears” finds The Weeknd utilizing a guitar-laced dream-pop soundscape to reflect on different experiences in a past relationship while simultaneously being purposely emotionally unavailable. The bouncy melody offers a slick contrast to menacing lyrics like “I make you cry when I run away” and “save your tears for another day.” With the addition of Ariana Grande and a new verse from the opposing perspective, “Save Your Tears” finally finds the missing pieces to make everything truly click. The song was already solid in its original form, but the remix helps add more gravity to the song, especially in the greater contexts of the After Hours universe and the previous Weeknd/Ariana duets.
Although Ariana sprinkles her whistle notes in the background of the song, it is her rich lower register that anchors the majority of her contributions. This is probably the most Ariana has ever utilized the lower parts of her range on record, and it sounds stunning. Her enunciation is clearer, her choices are more interesting, and it’s a nice departure from what could have been a predictable approach to this remix. This reworked version is a great example of how much Ariana’s understanding of ad-libs have improved. From mimicking the instrumental’s “bum bum bum bum” with her voice to her belting in harmony with The Weeknd in the final chorus to solidify the climax of the song, every choice is intentional. Ariana’s new verse sheds more light on the relationship The Weeknd was originally reflecting on. She sings “I kept my distance ’cause I know that you/Don’t like when I’m with nobody else/I couldn’t help it, I put you through hell.” Clearly, this relationship wasn’t working for either party which makes the fact that they both sing “save your tears for another day” so poetic. This remix helps morph “Save Your Tears” into a grand finale for a relationship that was too toxic to function.
If there is any downside to this remix, it’s that production remained relatively unchanged; some more fire during the final thirty seconds would have made this damn near a masterpiece. Who knows where the After Hours era will take us next? As long as The Weeknd keeps treating us to such great music and such a rich storyline, we’re sure to stick along for the ride.