When legends collide: the best collaborations in music

Written by Victoria Lucas on 14th June, 2018
When legends collide: the best collaborations in music

One of the best things about this current era of music is that artists from all different genres, territories, and demographics can easily collaborate on songs – which gives us a steady blend of excellent combinations that we never thought we’d hear.

Below are our favourite recent collaborations: some make perfect sense, some don’t – but all of these are awesome. Enjoy!

MGMT + Kid Cudi: Pursuit Of Happiness

Kid Cudi has always produced music that sounds slightly woozy, like it should be listened to under the haze of cough syrup and depression. Therefore it made perfect sense that they tapped the experimental, technicoloured MGMT to provide the chorus for this trance-like tune. The illusion that the pursuit of happiness is enough to fix inherent problems is the subject matter here, and while they may not have sorted any of their issues with this song, sonically they get pretty close to perfection. It certainly sounds like happiness.

Weezer + Hayley Williams: The Rainbow Connection

The brilliantly-named The Green Album, awash with psychedelic artwork Jim Henson would have approved of, and covers of classic Muppets tunes from artists such as The Fray, My Morning Jacket, Alkaline Trio and OK Go was an ambitious and patchy affair, but Weezer teamed up with Paramore’s Hayley Williams for an affecting, tender version of Kermit’s old-time heart-stirrer The Rainbow Connection. They don’t try to reinvent the wheel, but nor should they. With a classic, you should just sing it like you mean it. As the song says: “All of us under its spell, we know that it’s probably magic.”

Conrad Sewell +Avicii: Taste The Feeling

It’s a sign of the late great Avicii’s penchant for pop perfection and eschewing of the toxic elitism of the dance music scene that what stands as perhaps his finest musical achievement was commissioned by Coca Cola. Rather than take the easy cheque and phone in a dance banger, Avicii instead teamed up with one of the best voices in the pop game — Australian Conrad Sewell (for a more recent taste of Conrad’s brilliance, check out his new two-song bundle Ghosts & Heartaches) — and the pair came up with a pop anthem that is as bubbly and fresh as… well, a bottle of Coke. As with all great pop singles, this song stands alone, devoid of context. It’s just a brilliant tune. End of story.

Arctic Monkeys + Josh Homme: Crying Lightning

After their first two records made them indie honeys, known for witty, verbose takes on Northern English night culture, romance, and the specific art of being young and poor, the Arctic Monkeys met QOTSA linchpin Josh Homme, decamped to the Californian desert, and unleashed a third record crammed with stoner rock and spacious jams. Josh Homme has since claimed he wasn’t responsible for the swift change in the band’s previous chipper-chirpy-chap sound, but it’s hard not to hear his fingerprints all over this album, in particular the frenetic first single ‘Crying Lightning’.

Chance the Rapper + Childish Gambino: Favorite Song

Built on top of a bouncing, joyous musical bed sampled from Betty Wright’s ‘Clean Up Women’, this is perhaps the best early example of Chance’s life-affirming attitude to music. “The album feels like ’92” he sing-raps, referring to a golden age in both hip hop, and in his hometown of Chicago, when the Bulls were in the middle of their legendary Jordan-led three-peat. Childish Gambino provides the bridge verse and skips lightly across the beat. The pair would later collaborate on an experimental film, the Gambino-single ‘The Worst Guys’, and an as-yet unreleased EP – but this is their best team-up.

Lorde + Run The Jewels: Supercut

Run The Jewels take Lorde’s dramatic ‘Supercut’, add some tasteful EL-P production, and unleash a feature verse that makes this song sound like something that could have easily slotted onto their excellent Run The Jewels 3 record. It adds a certain freshness to one of the most underrated songs on her Melodrama album, which will hopefully result in Lorde fans exploring RTJ, and vice versa. Everyone wins with this expert cut.

Foo Fighters + Boyz II Men: Concrete and Gold

Dave Grohl described his 2017 album as a place where “hard rock extremes and pop sensibilities collide”, and nowhere is this more apparent than on the blisteringly heavy title track, which closes the album with five and a half minutes of crunching guitars, and… ’90s barbershop harmonies. In truth, one Boy (or are they Men now?) Shawn Stockman layers dozens of vocals to provide a veritable choir worthy of any gospel session or ’90s R&B jam. It’s weird, wonderful, and pretty perfect.

Luke Steele + Daniel Johns: Silence

Luke Steele and Daniel Johns first worked together before Silverchair split and Empire of the Sun was but a twinkle in Steele’s eye, but the results of those recording sessions (reported at the time to be a suite of four EPs, each representing a season) never saw the light of day. Well, over a decade later we finally have some music from the duo and it is every bit as experimental, dance-infused and psychedelic as their individual canons would suggest. First single ‘No One Defeats Us’ is more commercial, despite being a chorus-less mantra, but we prefer the weirder, twitchier ‘Silence’.

The article was originally published on Tone Deaf