PNAU love a heavyweight collaboration, don’t they? The dance trio have this time teamed up with Khalid on new single ‘The Hard Way’. 

The sublime synth-pop number conjures nostalgic memories of wholehearted ’80s music. Khalid’s compelling voice sings forlorn, lovelorn words, surrounded by splendid and splashy melodies. It’s just the right mixture of upbeat rhythm and melancholic lyricism.

According to PNAU’s Nick Littlemore, the group were hugely excited about this collaboration. “We are so very excited to share this with you,” he says. “Working with Khalid has been an absolute dream, we hope this song shall live in your hearts like it does ours.”

The feeling was definitely mutual. “It’s just awesome; it’s feel-good but then the lyrics have that melancholy, bittersweet thing about them,” Khalid adds. “It’s that juxtaposition, that the lyrics are heartbreakingly sad but if you listen to the song, you can’t help but smile.

“Those are my favourite songs, the ones that contradict. Just waiting for the world to hear it, they’re going to attach to it and just love it.”

PNAU and Khalid’s link-up follows several other huge collaborations for the former. Late last year, they joined forces with fellow Aussie Troye Sivan for the single ‘You Know What I Need’. Unsurprisingly from these two acts, the track was a sizzling dance-pop number, with Sivan’s silky smooth vocals melting over a dazzling funk beat.

PNAU also found huge success in 2021 for their production of Elton John and Dua Lipa’s ‘Cold Heart’, with the single becoming Elton’s first U.K. number one in 16 years. It also earned a nomination for Song of the Year at the BRIT Awards.

Love Electronic?

Get the latest Electronic news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

And don’t leave Khalid out: the R&B star has famously worked with the likes of Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran, and Alicia Keys.

PNAU and Khalid’s ‘The Hard Way’ is out now.

For more on this topic, follow the Electronic Observer.

YouTube VideoPlay

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine