Collaborations are often a dream come true for music fans. Who among us hasn't fantasized about our favorite musicians getting together for a jam session? When it happens though, the results may vary. One pairing you might think unlikely might do great things, where another one you always thought would work might end up being a dud.
Let's focus on the latter, shall we? Much is made of successful collaborations, but the ones that fail go overlooked more often than not. They fall into obscurity, becoming the subject of music trivia. Since we're all about music trivia at Rocks Off, here's some of those failed collaborations for you to pull out the next time you're playing a round of musical Jeopardy.Jimmy Page and David Coverdale
David Coverdale has long been derided as a poor man's Robert Plant, especially when Whitesnake became yet another '80s Led Zeppelin rip-off. To be fair, Coverdale has long been a serviceable blues rock front man, and his reputation is unfairly derived from poor decisions to jump on the hair metal bandwagon.
However, it didn't help matters any when he joined up with Jimmy Page to do some recording in the early '90s. The resulting collaboration just reinforced Coverdale's image as a Plant imitator, and the album, while being a hit, is pretty poorly regarded in 2014.The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo)
I personally had high hopes for this pairing, whose debut came out this year, but it just didn't work out all that well. The best of the songs sound like Ted Leo and the Pharmacists leftovers with Mann dueting with Leo over them. The worst are absolutely tepid, boring affairs that suit the strengths of neither songwriter.
It isn't all bad. There's a few catchy singles throughout the record, but it's a turgid affair to sit through and it mostly makes you long for the better works of each artist in their solo careers. One hopes they get back on track separately fairly quickly.Elvis Costello and the Roots
Elvis Costello is an artist with a propensity for high profile collaborations that unexpectedly work. This wasn't one of them. I had pretty high hopes for this one as well, but even Costello's roots reggae and R&B bonafides couldn't save this from being a lackluster late career experiment from both parties.
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Though there is some good here, Costello just doesn't fit in with the Roots as a band, and his songwriting sounds completely stale and derivative. We've heard this Costello on his own records in much finer form, and the Roots just play through like a group of session players out for a paycheck.
More unfruitful collabs on the next page.Chris Cornell and Timbaland
Did anyone think this was going to work in the first place aside from the two principal players involved? Well, it didn't. It is perhaps one of the worst collaborative efforts ever released, maybe one of the worst albums ever. The styles just clash way too much, and Cornell should have known his classic rock voice would never work over some throwaway beats from a hip hop producer.
The problem lies right there too. Not only is Cornell ill suited for the music, it's obvious Timbaland didn't bring his A-game to the project. Maybe he knew it would fail and just wanted a paycheck. Either way, he threw up some of the worst beats of his career for Cornell to sing over, and Cornell warbles his way around them like he's stumbling around in the dark for a hook to hold onto. It's sad.Lou Reed and Metallica
I think our readers would crucify me if I didn't include this most hated of collaborations, but I must confess to enjoying it for what it is. It's an art project, and listened to as one of Lou Reed's many experiments of varying quality, rather than a Metallica project, it's at least successful in some ways.
I can't deny the album's more glaring issues though. The songs drone on far too long with far too few ideas. Reed's voice doesn't quite work with the proceedings, and it's absolutely painful any time Hetfield sticks his in because he sounds like he's been teleported in from another world and has no idea how to sing over music like this.
Yes, I enjoy it despite all its flaws, but it can't be denied that this collaboration was a failure. Even failure can be occasionally beautiful, but there's no getting around the fact that this didn't come off anywhere near what Metallica and Lou Reed were shooting for when they planned it out.Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney
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No matter how many hits the duo produced, no matter how legendary and amazing both men are, their songs together were just absolutely wretch-inducing. "The Girl is Mine" still stands out as the worst song onThriller
, and these collaborations are oddly the most dated songs in Jackson's catalogue, a testament to how weak and of their time they really were.
Believe me, I love both of them by themselves, but McCartney's particular brand of sappy sweetness very quickly becomes grating, and he turned on the schlock to 11 when he sang with the King of Pop for some reason.