A list of very bad, terrible, no good collaborations

[Another list by list specialist Adam Morrison. – AC]

Ten musical collaborations that just didn’t work.

When artists from different musical worlds get together to create, something special gets made. But special doesn’t necessarily mean good.

Here are ten examples of musical collaborations that might have made sense on paper but did not play out well in reality.

1. Gregg Allman and Cher’s relationship and marriage was a mystery to some people. Their collaborative album, Two the Hard Way, was just disliked. Credited to Allman and Woman, the 1977 album did not suddenly create individuals who were somehow into both artists. The supporting tour ended early when Cher split, and the couple’s marriage soon ended as well.

2. You can probably imagine Brad Paisley and LL Cool J having the best of intentions with their country-rap track, “Accidental Racist.” You don’t have to imagine how cringey it is to listen to the two awkwardly, clumsily address serious, touchy subject matter. For every decent lyric like “caught between Southern pride and Southern blame,” there’s one like “if you don’t judge my do-rag I won’t judge your red flag” and “if you don’t judge my gold chains I’ll forget the iron chains.” Sorry, LL, but this track is nothing like a phenomenon.

3. In 2011, for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 25th Anniversary Concert, Lou Reed joined Metallica for a performance, and all was well. Then on October 31st of that year, like some fiendish Halloween prank, Lou Reed and Metallica released their collaborative double full length album. It’s called Lulu, and it’s nothing that Metallica fans or Lou Reed fans were happy about. Lou’s droningly delivered poetry and Metallica’s okay riffs don’t elevate one another, they distract from one another.

4. Lulu didn’t work, but it could have worked. Something that seems like a bad idea from the start is “We Did It Again,” a collaborative track between Metallica and Ja Rule on a 2002 compilation by Swizz Beatz. What the band provides sounds shapeless and like it was stitched together, and Ja Rule’s performance meets expectations, which is to say that it’s bad. “We Did It Again” has been being appropriately ignored for over twenty years now. And thankfully, they haven’t done it again.

5. There are many examples of hip-hop and metal going great together. Then there’s “Test,” a track from industrial metal band Ministry’s otherwise excellent 1989 album The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste. The track features a rapper named K-lite, and it would have worked better as an instrumental.

6. Also in the metal/hip hop category is “The Illusion of Power” from the legendary Black Sabbath’s Forbidden album, released in 1995. Ice-T is a legend in his own right, and a lifelong metal fan, but no one could apparently figure out a way for him to fit on this song.

7. John Lennon was a brilliant songwriter. Yoko Ono also makes music. When the pair released their experimental Two Virgins album in 1968, they should have remembered that weird doesn’t automatically equal good.

8. 2009’s Raditude was not Weezer’s best-received album for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is “Can’t Stop Partying,” the collaboration between Weezer and Lil Wayne that likely no one was secretly hoping for. The electronic beat, the lyrics, the singing, and the rapping are all generic and lifeless. *NSFW lyrics*

9. Korn may well have been at the top of their game on their third album, Follow the Leader. The 1998 release is filled with the angsty kinds of songs the band had done on their first two albums, plus two collaborations with talented rappers. The only issue the full length has is “All in the Family,” a sort of battle between Korn’s Jonathan Davis and Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit. It’s filled with homophobic insults, accusations of incest, and other ignorant crap. An in-joke that was surely amusing to the artists involved, It should have stayed between the artists involved. *beyond NSFW lyrics*

10. David Bowie was always awesome. Mick Jagger has been awesome a lot of the time. The two men’s collaboration on Motown cover “Dancing in the Street” is a lot of non-awesome things. Neither singer seems completely comfortable on the track, and the 80s cheese factor is unmitigated. The video didn’t help.

Anything you can add to this list? Please do so in the comments! Now I’m off to listen to the Judgment Night soundtrack on loop.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38031 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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