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Top 10 Collaborations
Happy New Year everyone! It has been nothing short of a ridiculously busy year this year, as you can see by my lack of posts in 2013. The holidays are always a great time for me as it gives me a chance to do a little more shopping for records and also provides a little more time to dive into some music.
While on holiday, you can’t escape the Christmas tunes when you turn on the TV, listen to certain radio stations, or when you go anywhere in public. A large percentage of these Christmas tunes, I noticed, were artists collaboration with other artists in arranging those classic tunes. For example, David Bowie and Bing Crosby‘s Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth. This got me thinking about other collaborations outside of the holiday genre, and I’m not just talking about an artist featuring another to provide a backing vocal or whatever to increase sales of their piece of shit record. I’m referring to those collaborations where an artist thought a specific voice or a musician would complement their sound, or possibly when two artists met somewhere and figured their creativity would work well in a collaborated effort.
I did some thinking and a lot of listening to collaborations and narrowed it down to a top 10 list of collaborations that resulted in a beautiful piece of music.
10. The Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1968)
Featuring Eric Clapton
Although an uncredited appearance on The Beatles ‘White Album‘, Eric Clapton collaborates in the George Harrison penned While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Harrison collaborated with several artists throughout his career, but to me his work with Clapton on While My Guitar Gently Weeps is his best work as Clapton‘s guitar style is a perfect complement to Harrison’s voice and the overall tone of the song.
9.The Chemical Brothers – Setting Sun (1997)
Featuring Noel Gallagher
“Setting Sun” was released during the height of Britpop in the mid-nineties. The track is trademark powerful Chemical Brothers back-beats with a fucking great vocal from Noel Gallagher. This track coupled with Oasis “Don’t Look Back in Anger” cemented Noel Gallagher as a strong solo vocalist and a set the stage as a preview of his work in High Flying Birds.
8. Lonesome Wyatt and Rachel Brooke – Empty House (2009)
My friend from DirtRockZine has graciously accepted my invitation to provide a recommendation for this collaboration post. Coming in at number 8, Lonesome Wyatt and Rachel Brooke – Empty House. From the words of the DirtRockZine himself:
” Lonesome Wyatt & Rachel Brooke: “Empty House“, from the album A Bitter Harvest. This is a collaborative album between gothic/doom/country pastor Lonesome Wyatt and country punk songbird Rachel Brooke. They each wrote half the songs but they sing them together, and there is an uneasy tension throughout the record as if there is no hope in hell of the stars aligning for these two to be together. Sad and bitter music. Good stuff.”
7. Frank Ocean – Pink Matter (2012)
Featuring Andre 3000
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of R&B, well at least R&B produced in the last 25 years. If you’re an avid reader of Markedwordz, you clearly can tell that I try not to bitch about shit I am not immersed in whatsoever, therefore R&B has barely been mentioned thus far. However, I’m a massive Outkast fan and when I heard Andre 3000 was going to lend his hand to Pink Matter on Frank Ocean‘s Channel Orange record, I had to check it out. To my surprise, the song is fucking brilliant and all I could think was that the bastard critics had it right. This entire record is superb.
6. David Bowie – I’m Afraid of Americans (1997)
Featuring Trent Reznor
Though not the original version of the song, the remixed I’m Afraid of Americans featuring Trent Reznor is a definite highlight of the 90’s for me. The Nine Inch Nails/Bowie tour is something I dreamed of going to but was way too young to check it out at the time. The video as well is outstanding. Not much else to say about this one.
5. Crystal Castles – Not In Love (2010)
Featuring Robert Smith
Robert Smith provided vocals for Crystal Castles‘ cover of the Platinum Blonde song ‘Not In Love‘ for their second record (II). Proving he is still relevant, Robert Smith added a heart wrenching vocal to this track making it one of the most noteworthy tracks of 2010.
4. UNKLE – Lonely Soul (1998)
Featuring Richard Ashcroft
After the second break-up of The Verve, Richard Ashcroft went into the studio to collaborate with DJ Shadow and crew in UNKLE. Basically it’s the perfect track to feature Ashcroft on. Strings coupled with an epic chorus and the big beat, this song goes down as one of the finest collaborated efforts in music.
3. Deftones – Passenger (2000)
Featuring Maynard James Keenan
This song brings me back to my senior year in High School. An age where you basically hate everything and everyone, so the Deftones were the perfect band to get me through that time of my life. White Pony was a major breakthrough for the band, not only because from beginning to end it’s a solid record, but also due to the collaboration of Maynard James Keenan from Tool on Passenger. Both Chino’s and Maynard’s voices answering each other back and forth on the track is enormously bone-chilling. Absolutely a ridiculous track.
2. The Dissociatives – Young Man Old Man (you ain’t better than the rest) (2004)
Featuring Daniel Johns and Paul Mac
Basically a match made in heaven to be as lame as I could possibly be to describe it. The relationship between Daniel Johns and Paul Mac yielded a collaboration years before the 2004 release of The Dissociatives as “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Rock“, which didn’t make this list for the sole reason that I didn’t want to display any biases. In my mind, Daniel Johns is one of the most underrated rock stars out there and to hear this collaboration with Paul Mac, it’s honestly worth sitting through each of the 43 minutes of The Dissociatives.
1. Queen – Under Pressure (1982)
Featuring David Bowie
I’m sure all of us have heard this song a million times, but for me, each time I hear this track I still get chills down my spine. Freddie Mercury and David Bowie‘s performances on this track are both unbelievable, with each vocal perfectly complimenting the other. This is one of those tracks that stand the test of time, and 30 years later it’s still just as powerful as the day it was released. Without a doubt this is my number 1 pick for the Top 10 Collaborations in Music.
In true Markedwordz fashion, I can’t omit an example of a collaboration that never should have happened with an outcome of unlistenable garbage. The 2006 U2 and Green Day Skids cover of “The Saints Are Coming“. Green Day and U2, in my mind, are the most overrated bands in the last 30 years. Both bands have a loyal following of fans that will basically listen to anything they do just because they are either Green Day or U2. I’m sure I will be writing about this in the future, but for the sake of time, I’ll save the rest of this opinion for that future post. Here is that nightmare: