The Best Music Collaborations
In recent years, it is very common for artists to collaborate on music. Sometimes it is an epic fail, other times it is an incredible success. Our CommRadio Arts & Entertainment department wrote about the best collaborations in music.
“FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney
There is not one flaw to this timeless hit. “FourFiveSeconds”, which was released in 2015, is a one of a kind song with three three world-renowned artists.
From beginning to end, this song is objectively perfect. To show her enthusiasm, Rihanna begins singing even before the beat comes in.
It is obvious when listening that each artist had their voice heard, literally, but artistically. Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney’s influence are evident while listening.
Rihanna has her moment to sing from her soul and belt out one of the most catchy choruses in music history, Kanye was able to rap and his occasional ad libs, and, lastly, the famous former member of the Beatles, Paul McCartney played an acoustic guitar throughout the song.
Besides the song being beautiful sounding, everyone can relate to waiting “three more days ‘til Friday” and being “four, five seconds from wildin.”
And in the theme of Kanye being his own biggest fan, he sings “they want to buy my pride, but that just ain’t up for sale.” The song radiates self-awareness.
“FourFiveSeconds” is one that will stay in your head, but with that fabulous chorus, no one will be bothered by it. Every single situation can and will be solved if “FourFive Seconds” is playing.
This song, which changed the world, given to music listeners from Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney is, not only the best song that is a collaboration between artists, but unanimously the best song ever. - Natalie Simone
“exile” - Taylor Swift (feat. Bon Iver)
It’s only fitting that Taylor Swift got Bon Iver, one of the greatest indie folk artists of all time, to feature on her album “folklore.”
“Exile” is exactly what a duet should be– two sides of a story, a falling out between lovers. It opens with Justin Vernon’s signature deep, rich voice singing about the feeling of being exiled in a dying relationship.
Swift comes in on the second verse and adds to the conflict between the two, her lighter voice completely contrasting Vernon’s. Everything comes together in the bridge (as it often does in Taylor Swift songs) when their voices overlap in a lyrical argument.
Vernon argues “You never gave a warning sign” and Swift responds with “I gave so many signs.” The pain in their voices is palpable and cements this song as one of the saddest in Swift’s discography.
Taylor Swift has collaborated with many artists throughout her eras, but “exile” with Bon Iver is just on another level of beautiful and haunting. - Kaitlyn Murphy
“Family Ties” by Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar
All rise for our national anthem.
Maybe that’s an extreme. However, whenever these trumpets play at a party, everyone better clear the floor.
This is Baby Keem and Lamar’s first collaboration on a song since Keem signed onto Lamar’s label, pgLang. Additionally, Baby Keem co-produced this song.
Both of their distinct voices blend perfectly on this song with top-tier bars. When that beat drops for Lamar’s verse? Get off the road if you see me.
This song also addresses Lamar’s legacy in the rap world. The seventeen-time Grammy winner said “stop playing, I’m that guy” and he meant it.
Baby Keem’s delicate flow on the first half of the song and Lamar’s quick bars on the second make this song an instant party classic. - Adrianna Gallucci
“Say, Say, Say” - Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney
Two musical legends, one song, absolute magic.
In the early 80s, the King of Pop and former Beatles member released this track, which rightfully held a top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time.
Although this duo seems a bit unconventional, this collaboration is exactly what the music world needed.
Jackson’s and McCartney's music styles are very distinct, yet somehow they were seamlessly merged together to create a very dynamic track that attracts the ears of each artist’s fans alike.
The song opens with a very Beatles-styled arrangement with McCartney singing the first verse. As the tune continues to the Jackson’s verse, the singer is led in with a guitar riff that contains his signature sound.
What makes this one of the best collabs is not only the song itself, but also the lighthearted music video.
The chemistry between the two superstars is unbeatable, enough to convince viewers into thinking that they were the best of friends on and off of the screen, making the fall out that the two would have in the future very surprising.
For reference, the music video for “Say, Say, Say” is best described as Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon” meets Post Malone and Doja Cat’s “I Like You.”
Definitely a 10/10 collaboration, but considering it was between two Hall of Famers, can anyone expect anything less? - Abby Chachoute
“Nothing New (From the Vault) (Taylor’s Version)”- Taylor Swift (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
Sure, the big story from “Red (Taylor’s Version)” was Taylor Swift’s magnum opus with the 10-minute version of her fan favorite and critically beloved “All Too Well.”
But the album's best-written and the most heartwrenching song comes from Swift’s collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers on the vault track “Nothing New.”
Swift is known for her masterful lyricism, and Bridgers is a brilliant lyricist in her own right, on par with Swift’s standard. While Bridgers doesn’t offer her writing talents on this track, as Swift is the sole writer, the pair of voices blend beautifully together to create this hauntingly beautiful song.
With the song about the entertainment industry's treatment of its young female talents, having Swift collaborate with a younger artist who cites her as one of her inspirations adds another layer to this profound song.
Also, knowing this song was written in 2012 and living through Swift’s egregious treatment by the media makes the song’s delayed release all the more harrowing.
Just conceptually, Swift and Bridgers on an indie-rock track make sense. But one about the agony of aging as a young woman, that’s a perfect song. - Sophia D’Ovidio
Natalie Simone is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year student majoring in journalism. To contact her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abigail Chachoute is a second-year majoring in journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year from Allentown, New Jersey. She is now a communications (undecided) major at Penn State University. Sophia intends on pursuing a career in journalism. Sophia writes for the CommRadio Arts department.