On New Year’s Day Kanye West and Sir Paul McCartney took many people by surprise by revealing their collaboration ‘Only One’. Which got us thinking, which music icons could team up with newer artists to produce something just as interesting…
Kanye West and Paul McCartney kicked off 2015 with a stirring and unexpected collaboration, ‘Only One’, a tender keyboard ballad that, the rapper says, is the first of many tracks to come from the pair. With Madonna reportedly working with PC Music’s Sophie, older artists teaming with contemporary marvels could be one of 2015’s defining music trends. So who else should team up?
2Liam Gallagher and Fat White Family
Liam Gallagher and Fat White Family: With Beady Eye broken up and brother Noel about to embark upon another solo album, pushing the chances of an Oasis reunion back at least another year or two, the future is unwritten at the moment for Liam. Noel thinks he should make a solo album: a record that’d no doubt benefit from Fat Whites’ primal sleaze and youthful vigour as backing band.
3George Michael and Disclosure
George Michael and Disclosure: The brothers Lawrence did it for Mary J Blige, crafting the R&B veteran’s latest album into a sprightly dance-floor filler. Madonna, too. Next to tap them up should be George Michael. The brothers’ sultry garage productions are the dance antithesis to his recent Euro-cheese output, and could help boost the ‘Faith’ singer’s career.
4Jay Z and Ratking
Jay Z and Ratking: In 2013, Hova released ‘Magna Carta…’ via a giant mobile phone company – an album derided by some as boring and corporate. But with Jay’s long-established reputation for collaboration these fearless fellow NYC-ers would help him claw back a sense of unpredictability.
5Stevie Wonder and Mark Ronson
Stevie Wonder and Mark Ronson: Mark Ronson’s made no secret of the fact that he’s a huge Stevie fan. Wonder’s even contributed a few harmonica licks to Ronson’s latest album ‘Uptown Special’, so contact has already been made. But with a production track record like Ronson’s, a whole album of material created between the two of them could be something very special.
6Madonna and Charli XCX
Madonna and Charli XCX: Older fans of bubblegum popper Charlotte Emma Aitchison, aka Charli XCX, will recognise the bundling carefree fizz of her new album ‘Sucker’ – the same sugary energy was written all over Madonna’s early work, though it’s faded in recent years. Who better, then, to pen some new songs for Madge on her next rejuvenation?
7Thom Yorke and Jon Hopkins
Thom Yorke and Jon Hopkins: The Radiohead man’s two most recent records, Atoms For Peace’s ‘Amok’ and solo outing ‘Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes’, while solid albums, have been his least critically adored in about 20 years. Should he decide to mix things up on his next effort, he could do worse than to team with Hopkins, whose cinematic electronic shapeshifting would suit Thom’s creeping vocals.
8Phil Collins and Bon Iver
Phil Collins and Bon Iver: Collins’ career has been in the doldrums for a while now, in part down to poor health. Justin Vernon, a distinguished producer as well as the face of Bon Iver, would be the man to help him avoid drippy dad rock sonics if he ever wanted to pen a comeback LP. After all, his track ‘Beth/Rest’ sounds just like Collins at his ’80s best: unabashedly romantic.
9Joni Mitchell and James Blake
Joni Mitchell and James Blake: Anyone who’s heard Mercury Prize winner Blake’s cover of ‘A Case Of You’ will know the guy understands the emotional pull of Mitchell’s poetic folk. A collaboration between the pair, with Blake providing a fizzing electronic backdrop for Mitchell’s powerful lyricisms, could push Mitchell into exciting new territory.
10Mark Hollis and These New Puritains
Mark Hollis and These New Puritains: Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis retired from the music industry after his solo debut in 1998. He is sorely missed and fans perennially hope for a return. You can hear his musical influence in newer artists; These New Puritans’ ‘Field Of Reeds’ had Hollis’ bold but gentle sound all over it. Could Jack Barnett and his group coax him back? We can but dream…
11Billy Bragg and Frank Turner
Billy Bragg and Frank Turner: Two British folk-punkers separated by a generation, Bragg and Turner’s musical and political similarities have seen the pair become friends outside of music. A collaboration would meld the former’s sage lyricism with the latter’s untiring energy. It’s only a matter of time.
12Jeff Lynne and Kevin Parker
Jeff Lynne and Kevin Parker: A triumphant Hyde Park return for ELO cast Lynne back into the limelight, but if he really wants to mount a comeback, he should get on the phone to Tame Impala’s Parker, whose production talents (and knack for similarly out-of-this-world sonics) could bring the 67-year-old’s sound thrillingly into the 21st century.
13Kate Bush and Florence Welch
Kate Bush and Florence Welch: Flo’s music has always had a fair bit of Bush’s blustery autumnal melodrama. Which is why a collaboration, though unlikely, could be an incredible passing-of-the-torch moment for dark and brooding British melodic pop.
14Stevie Nicks and Florence Welch
Stevie Nicks and Florence Welch: Or she could combine forces with the similarly evocative pop of Fleetwood Mac. Lindsay Buckingham recently described the band’s upcoming album and tour as them entering their “last act”, leaving Nicks free to resurrect her solo career. Listen to Welch’s stunning cover of ‘The Chain’ and you’ll hear why it would work.
15Ozzy Osbourne and Royal Blood
Ozzy Osbourne and Royal Blood: Worthing duo Royal Blood know a thing or two about stomping riffs and howling vocals – the same kind with which Ozzy spawned a rock empire as frontman to Black Sabbath. With Sabbath’s future at the moment uncertain, corralling Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher into a collaboration could spark some joyously heavy results.
16John Cale and Burial
John Cale and Burial: From two very different musical traditions, but each with a lineage in rebellion and experimentation, we get the feeling post-dubstep innovator Burial and the Velvet Underground Welshman would get along handsomely, with Cale’s low, foreboding croon the perfect match for the ‘Untrue’ producer’s moody, malevolent soundscapes.