Yesterday, a remix of Rihanna’s ‘S&M’ dropped. With two verses replaced by a dead-eyed voice which insisted that “it’s your turn to hurt me” and pleaded “shut me up / gag me down”, you could be forgiven for thinking that the whole thing was a bad karaoke cover. Except it’s not. It’s official. And that soulless voice is Britney’s.
Speaking of the collaboration, Rihanna told New York radio station Z100 that “I asked my fans last week who they wanted me to collaborate with, and Britney was one of the most popular names.” She added: “[Britney] really liked the song to begin with, but it was a different story when she had to sing it, and she really wanted to be a part of it. It made it really special, because you never see two pop female artists doing songs together anymore. Just call us ‘RNB’.”
Unfortunately, it’s not the only instance of ear-bleedingly bad collaborations of late. A quick glance at the current top 40 reveals that almost half of them (19) have a ‘guest star’ of sorts. Here’s five of the worst musical hook-ups in recent memory.
Pitbull & J-Lo – ‘On The Floor’
Aptly named, the tenacious Cuban-American rapper is as dementedly determined as his namesake. If there’s an unadorned middle eight, he’s on it. He’s worked with Lil Jon, Enrique Iglesias, Ying Yang Twins, and most recently Jennifer Lopez.
Worst Bit: I’m like Inception/ I play with your brain”
Gwyneth Paltrow & Cee-Lo – ‘Forget You’
As if singing a Gary Glitter song to a room full of schoolchildren wasn’t enough, Gwyneth only had to go and crash the Grammys. Shuffling on stage with the formidable Cee-Lo Green in the manner of a mum who had lost a bet while smashed on West Coast Coolers, she mumbled her way through his previously pretty good ‘Forget You’. Forget you? We wish we could.
Worst Bit: The staged banter. Vom.
Snoop Dogg & Buzz Aldrin – ‘Rocket Experience’
Snoop, we could forgive your Candy-Pimp stint on Katy Perry’s ‘California Girls’, and hey, ‘Fatherhood’ was unexpectedly sweet, but what on earth were you thinking when you hooked up with veteran astronaut Buzz Aldrin? The guy already has a pretty good sense of humour (check out his 30 Rock guest-spots), but making him rap Shatner-style? That’s just embarrassing.
Worst Bit: “It’s time to venture far/ Let’s take a trip to Mars/ Our destiny is to the stars”
Five & Queen – ‘We Will Rock You’
A perennial favourite – nobody in this piece of music comes off well. From those long black leather coats to the cringey shouted rap, to the key being too high for Rich (spikey brown hair, used to date Billie Piper) to poor, humiliated Brian May rocking out on the front of a skyscraper. Oh dear.
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Worst Bit: “As long as Five bring the funk, Queen bring the rock”
Neil Diamond & Fred Durst
Luckily this one remains in the air, but oh, what it could have been. Two years ago, Neil Diamond innocently tweeted a few book recommendations. Next thing he knew, Fred Durst had popped his head up, inviting him to collaborate. Ever the gent, Diamond was gently encouraging, but non-committal. Nevertheless, Durst ploughed on, inviting Diamond out to LA and suggesting that they take the conversation to direct messaging. Since then, there have been no further noises but who knows, perhaps they’re both holed up in a recording studio together?
What’s your worst pop hook-up?