// by Devon Armstrong//
When musical talents combine, even the mostly unlikely of pairings can make magical things happen. Here’s my playlist of unexpected but wonderful collaborations.
Listen to the playlist below!
- Kanye and Bon Iver – Lost in the World
Kanye is known for his interesting collaborations, but I did not anticipate his collaboration with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Bon Iver’s most recent album is more anthemic and electronic than previous work, and Kanye’s rap verse blends with Vernon’s falsetto nicely.
- Aerosmith and Run DMC – Walk This Way
In 1986, the height of the hip hop revolution, Aerosmith were slumping and fading from popularity and Run DMC had just had huge success with their debut single. The collaboration launched a succession of 80s and 90s rock/rap hybrids which influenced later bands like Rage Against the Machine, amongst others.
- Florence + the Machine and Dizzee Rascal – You’ve Got the Dirtee Love
Alt-pop queen Florence shocked the UK when she performed her hit ‘You’ve Got the Love’ at the 2010 BRIT awards and Dizzee Rascal came out to join her. Somehow Dizzee’s manic rapping blended well with Florence’s vocals and the soothing harp!
- Jack White and Beyonce – Don’t Hurt Yourself
The White Stripes songwriter and front man teamed up with Queen B on her prolific album Lemonade in an empowering fusion of contemporary soul and rock and roll.
- David Bowie and Mick Jagger – Dancing in the Street
Bowie and Jagger’s 1985 cover of Martha and the Vandella’s Motown classic is a testament to the musical genius of both artists and their friendship. It also has an iconic but bizarre music video.
- Miley Cyrus and The Flaming Lips – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
The Flaming Lips’ psychedelic cover of the Beatles classic is experimental and mind-bending, Miley Cyrus’ unexpected feature a perfect addition to the band’s guest filled cover album.
- Michael Jackson and Van Halen – Beat It
Guitarist Eddie Van Halen was so surprised when he received a phone call from Michael Jackson’s producer, he thought he was being prank called! Nevertheless, the rock and pop elements of the song merge perfectly and the riff has become iconic in Michael Jackson’s canon.
- Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett – It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)
Lady Gaga is a unashamed jazz fan, and her childhood dream was to sing with the jazz greats like Sinatra. When she collaborated with jazz legend Tony Bennett, the two hoped to make classic jazz masterpieces accessible to the younger generation. It’s really a testament to Gaga’s creative integrity and vocal versatility to go out on such a limb at the height of her career.
- Madonna and Justin Timberlake – 4 Minutes
Though both were pop/dance icons, no one expected Justin Timberlake and Madonna to sound so good together. The two co-wrote the song and hoped to raise awareness about the ever-approaching reality and danger of environmental problems.
- Rihanna and Coldplay – Princess of China
Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto ushered in a new era to their sound, and Rihanna’s collaboration on the synthy Princess of China symbolised their crossing the threshold into true pop culture.