When Ariana Grande released her sophomore album this past summer, I wasn’t 100% smitten with it. It was GOOD. Not GREAT. Sure, My Everything featured a HELLUVA lot more up-tempo numbers than did her debut, Yours Truly but it all seemed a bit thrown together. While the first three SINGLES—”Problem” (feat. Iggy Azalea), “Break Free” (feat. Zedd) and “Bang Bang” (TECHNICALLY Jessie J.‘s single but whatever) were decent—catchy even! There was ONE song that captured my attention immediately. “Love Me Harder,” featuring Canadian PBR&B artist The Weeknd (AKA Abel Tesfaye) was a CLEAR standout for me from the very first listen. Co-written by Max Martin, Savan Kotecha, Peter Svensson, Ali Payami, Tesfaye and Ahmad Balshe and produced by Payami, Svensson and Peter Carlsson–”Love Me Harder” is slick synthpop mixed together with the sultry, smooth alt-RnB stylings of The Weeknd. There’s so much to love about this song, and now we have a video!
I think for me, “Love Me Harder” stood out because it was different. Production wise, it was something Ariana Grande hadn’t really done before. Dark, gritty, a little dirty (production-wise), “Love Me Harder” more feels like something we’d hear The Weeknd release and that’s definitely NOT a bad thing! My Everything, while filled with some tasty up-tempo pop candy, is just a bit too inconsistent for my liking. At least with Your Truly, we got an album full of Motown-inspired pop-r&b-soul music. Mixing genres is fine, but make sure that EVERY SINGLE ONE of the songs included in the final tracklist are top-notch. “Break Free” is catchy as hell and we all know how much I love a FLOOR FILLER. That being said, when talking about My Everything, there’s just no denying—”Love Me Harder” is the best of the bunch. Thank GOD it’s a single. Republic Records put the single out back at the end of September, following a live performance on Saturday Night Live (September 27th) and it’s still climbing the chart. Spending a couple of weeks on Billboard‘s Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, it finally debuted on the ACTUAL Hot 100 at No. 79 before bumping up a few spots to No. 57 and most recently No. 37. Hope this song continues to ascend that chart. People need to hear this one, and they most definitely will when Ariana and The Weeknd perform it live at the American Music Awards on November 19th.
Check out the ABSOLUTELY stunning video for “Love Me Harder” (released today), directed by Hannah Lux Davis (also the director of “Bang Bang“). The video is filled with STUNNING visuals—lightning flashing, waves crashing, GORGEOUS lighting effects. Oh yeah, and there’s a lot of Ariana as well. We have Ariana playing in a sandbox, Ariana writhing on a bed, Ariana writhing in a puddle (lots of Ariana writhing) and some shots with The Weeknd in them as well. As far as videos with little to no obvious storyline, this is one of the better ones.