Sometimes, unlikely collaborations are be a beautiful thing. Take Queen and David Bowie, for instance. Can you imagine ‘Under Pressure’ featuring any other pairing of voices? (Well, actually we can now, and Adam Lambert is a surprisingly acceptable stand-in for Freddie. It almost sorta made sense. ) Other left-field team-ups fall flat, as the artists' aesthetics don't quite mesh. Still, you've got to appreciate the effort, and with that in mind, we decided to take the good with the bad (and the really, really bad) and examine the 10 Weirdest Musical Collaborations.
Weezer feat. Lil Wayne – ‘Can't Stop Partying’October 2009
Right, so this is actually kind of catchy, but it certainly isn't one of Weezer’s finer musical moments. When we all first heard that Weezy would be making a guest appearance on Weezer’ 2009 album ‘Raditude,’ we were all, “Eh? Really, Rivers? You sure about that?” Rivers said they brought the rapper in to give the song the “edge” they were looking for, and in some ways, Wayne does. But that doesn’t take away from the complete and utter nuttiness of the idea of them making music together.
Coldplay feat. Rihanna – ‘Princess Of China’October 2011
The Vaccines’ Freddie Cowan may have said it best: "I've never heard [‘Princess Of China’], but it's Coldplay – they'll do whatever they can to be the biggest band on earth, to be bigger than U2.” OK, that might be a bit harsh, but we can’t help but agree that when we first heard that Coldplay were teaming up with Rihanna, we were more than a little skeptical. While Chris Martin has confessed that he wrote the female vocals with Rihanna in mind, and it did sort of work, there’s no denying that this was one of the most unexpected musical partnerships of 2011.
Ke$ha feat. the Strokes – ‘Only Wanna Dance with You’November 2012
Ke$ha’s no stranger to doing the unexpected (drinking her own piss, collecting fans’ teeth and making a bra top out of them, etc.), and that carries through to her music, as well. We’ve seen her collaborate with her fair share of unlikely musical partners, but in most cases, after the idea started to sink in, they actually made quite a lot of sense. (Alice Cooper? Iggy Pop? Wayne Coyne? They’re all musical geniuses, but they're eccentric musical geniuses.) Ke$ha surprised us all when she dropped her latest album ‘Warrior’, which featured a collaboration with the Black Keys' Patrick Carney and, more unexpectedly, the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas and Fab Moretti. ‘Only Wanna Dance With You’ basically sounds like Ke$ha singing over a Strokes track, which actually kinda works. But it's unexpected, nonetheless.
Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber – ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You (SuperFestive!)’November 2011
Advanced apologies for even mentioning the name Justin Bieber (and Christmas, since it's still September), but this collaboration was just so uncomfortable on so many levels that we couldn’t leave it off of this list. Mariah gifted us one of the greatest Christmas classics nearly two decades ago, but for some reason, she decided it was a good idea to dust off old faithful and dress it up as a slightly creepy love duet. Because nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a scantily clad middle-aged woman and a teenager eying each other up.
Snoop Dogg feat. Charlie Sheen – ‘Winning’May 2011
We almost put Snoop’s collaboration with Miley Cyrus on here, or maybe the one he did with Katy Perry … possibly even the one he did with Buzz Aldrin, but we opted for this one instead. As if Charlie Sheen’s bizarre “winning” meltdown wasn’t strange enough, Snoop Dogg decided to turn it into a song because, well, that’s what you do when somewhat has a bizarre meltdown, right? "The genesis of the song is about, you know, winning,” Sheen has said of the track. “It's just everything in life. I think Snoop did a really good job at encapsulating the whole vibe of, you know, the movement." If you say so, Charlie...
The Fat Boys feat. the Beach Boys – ‘Wipeout’August 1987
We can’t decide if this one is really awesome or really awful, but it’s nevertheless weird. Nine out of 10 times, anything the Beach Boys touch turns to gold, and there’s no question as to whether their backing vocals on this 1987 rework of this classic beach party song are outstanding. But the Beach Boys and beatboxing? Hmm. We’re just glad the Beach Boys aren’t actually rapping themselves. And if you thought this couldn’t get any weirder, take a look at the music video the boys made together. If you never thought you’d see the Beach Boys manning DJ decks, think again.
Paul McCartney and NirvanaJuly 2013
So, this collaboration sounded sort of OK, much to everyone’s surprise. Courtney Love, of course, was not such a fan of the idea, but for the most part, this so-called “Sirvana” project wasn’t half bad. Never thought you’d hear Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear perform ‘Get Back’ or ‘Helter Skelter’? Or hear Macca give grunge a go? It happened. They even treated fans to a brand-new original song, ‘Cut Me Some Slack’.
Metallica and Lou Reed – ‘Lulu’October 2011
On paper, this sounded unexpected and strange. But then again, with musical legends like Metallica and Lou Reed, how could something amazing not come out of the experiment? The album met mixed reviews, and Reed apparently received death threats from some unhappy listeners who thought he defiled the Metallica sound. So ‘Lulu’ wasn’t universally accepted as the groundbreaking meeting of the musical minds we’d all hoped for. Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’? Amazing. Lou Reed singing ‘Sweet Jane?' Brilliant. Metallica and Lou Reed writing an album that kicks off with the line “I would cut my legs and tits off”? Not so much.
5ive and Queen – ‘We Will Rock You’July 2000
Y’know how we just said Queen giving Adam Lambert a go at vocals wasn’t as awful as we’d expected? We’re afraid that the same can’t be said for 5ive’s attempt at taking on a Queen classic. Somehow, this atrocity managed to top the U.K. Singles Chart in 2000, although they never reached that level of success in the States. (Except for their single ‘When the Lights Go Out’ -- that was a tune.) Maybe if they’d stuck to just a cover, it would have been passable, but the added lyrical rapping bits like “Watch your back, we got Queen on this track…As long as Five bring the funk / Queen bring the rock / And it don't stop” make this one a bit hard to swallow.
Insane Clown Posse and Jack White (& Mozart) – ‘Leck Mich Im Arsch’September 2011
It’s hard enough to believe the title of an original Mozart composition actually translates into “Lick my ass right well and clean.” What makes the whole thing even more unbelievable is that Jack White later dug it up and invited his fellow Detroitians (and highly unlikely collaborators) Insane Clown Posse to rewrite the words and rerecord the track with him. An odd musical pairing with even more peculiar lyrics (“He wrote this, don’t sugarcoat this / 'To get your ass licked off is the dopest’ / Call it a fetish, call him a freak / Call him in need of a tongue on his butt cheek.” It’s probably a good thing that this song seems to have since vanished from YouTube…