Taking a glance at the current top 40, it struck me that in the top five alone, three of these tracks are collaborations (If you stretch to the Top Six, three becomes four thanks to Katy Perry). Although in today’s music market this type of song has become commonplace, they still seem to retain a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi.
I was told in a recent interview that the best collaborations come from two different genres (Biologists will no doubt have just compared this to reproduction). Considering the current chart, you have B.O.B and Hayley Williams, Katy Perry and Snoop Dog, Even Eminem and Rhianna. On this evidence, my source would seem to be correct.
By source, I refer to Canadian techno-artist Lights, who recently teamed up with Pop-rockers Ten Second Epic, to great effect. Once again, differences have proved to be key.
Even looking back to the past, who can forget Run DMC and Aerosmith? Hip-hop and rock brilliantly combined, a collaboration that has beaten the tests of time. Are the current Top 40 collaborations quite up to this standard?
Let’s examine. Eminem, for all is faults, has and always will be a recognisable voice, a beat everyone seems to love. So while Rhianna’s contribution to the song won’t go un-noticed, it is perhaps destined to be carried by the Rapper’s fame.
Then we have Katy Perry, who turned heads with her first album, and, although this latest single has divided opinion, look set to continue the trend with her albums (and a little help from Russell Brand!). It seems more than likely, however, that the song has been, and will be eclipsed by her personal life.
Regarding B.O.B and Hayley Williams, which at a first glance would seem the most popular of the three songs, it is hard to tell what hope it has for the future. With any luck it will escape the notoriety of being over-played, making it a worthy candidate for future playlists.
None of the current crop of collaborations, I think, will ever threaten Run DMC and Aerosmith, which should be considered the benchmark, the pinnacle, never to be topped. If music is to keep progressing, let’s hope I get proven wrong.