Six years after Ariana Grande and The Weeknd first teamed up for “Love Me Harder,” these two music superstars paired up again on “Off The Table,” a song off Ariana’s sixth studio album, Positions. Released on Oct. 30, along with the rest of the album, “Off The Table” is a sexy slow jam about a man (The Weeknd) trying to get back together with a woman (Ariana Grande) after shedding his “toxic” persona.
Ariana unveiled the tracklisting for Positions less than a week before its release. There are only three features throughout the 14 songs. In addition to “Off The Table,” Ty Dolla $ign joins Ariana for “Safety Net,” and she teams with Doja Cat for “Motive.” Other than that, this record is strictly Ariana, which makes this collab with The Weeknd all that more special.
The two first collaborated on “Love Me Harder,” a song that has the distinction of being The Weeknd’s first Top Ten entry in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The Weeknd had yet to really reach the level of success he has now. At the time, he was one year away from releasing Beauty Behind The Madness, his breakthrough album. “Love Me Harder” sees Ariana and The Weeknd (born Abel Tesfaye) trade verses before coming together on the chorus. “And if in the moment, I bite my lip,” she sings. “ Baby, in that moment, you’ll know this is / Something bigger than us and beyond bliss / Give me a reason to believe it.” He responds, “If you know about me and choose to stay / Then take this pleasure and take it with the pain.”
The Weeknd may forever be in debt to Ariana, for he revealed in an April 2020 interview with Variety that she connected him with legendary hitmaker and songwriting icon Max Martin. Max began his working relationship with Ariana on her 2014 album, My Everything, the album that contains “Love Me Harder.”
“Ariana was kinda my foot in the door with Max, my chance to show him ‘I can play this game,’ y’know?” he told Variety. “But when we got in the room together, we didn’t really connect as much. Then someone invited him to a show I did at the Hollywood Bowl, and he saw 15,000 people singing along, and I think he was like, ‘OK, there’s something I’m not getting.’ So we sat down again, and the first song we created was ‘In the Night.’” Max also worked with The Weeknd on “Can’t Feel My Face,” which skyrocketed The Weeknd into the pop stratosphere.
“Max and I have become literally the best of friends, but I don’t do that with many people,” The Weeknd shared. “It’s not that I can’t, but a collaboration is a relationship, it’s like a marriage, you’ve gotta build up to it. Lana [Del Ray] is another collaborator who’s a genuine friend of mine.” It also seems he can add Ariana to that short and exclusive list.