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(Don’t) Come Together

written by: on August 27, 2014

Here at Pop ’stache, we’re usually concerned with what’s new and hip in the music world (or microwaving leftover spaghetti and re-watching Titanic; both are important). But you can’t ignore the past—especially artists’ blunders that they probably wish everyone would forget about. In an exciting indulgence of schadenfreude at its most pure, we’re happy to present this list of cringe-inducing collaborations that don’t make any sense.

brokeNCYDE and E-40 – “Booty Call”

Oh, man, this one’s a bummer. Here’s a tip for any aspiring crunkcore outfits: If you want to make sure your music ages like a gallon of milk in a swamp, be sure to reference Myspace at least a handful of times. The inclusion of E-40 on the track is a great idea on paper—the Bay Area rapper has proven his intent toward longevity time and time again, and has been one of the busiest rappers for decades—but his Zordon-like feature in “Booty Call” doesn’t reflect well on him. Although, to be fair, E-40’s never been afraid to try something different (see: Earl Stevens Selections), and apparently that sometimes means collaborating with a bunch of white, suburban screamo kids who must have some serious parental grudges. –Rick Homuth

Fall Out Boy and Elton John – “Save Rock and Roll”

Fall Out Boy’s 2013 comeback album Save Rock and Roll was chock full of ill-advised collaborations, including a pop-punk/trap rap hybrid featuring rapper Big Sean and a truly trashy breakup song with Courtney Love. Still, it was the album-closing, faux-grandiose title track with Elton John that epitomized FOB’s bad decisions. The boyish energy and poetic lyrics that give Fall Out Boy its charm make a pretty awful companion for Elton John’s rich vocal tone and sincere, conversational lyrics, and the pitch-shifted vocal sample at the beginning doesn’t help either. While Fall Out Boy can (and should) boast about its collab with knighted songwriting legend Sir Elton John, the plastic operatic puts a dark mark on John’s royal record. If rock ’n’ roll was ever in peril, this undynamic duo wasn’t likely to save it. –Ben Kowalski

Ludacris and Sum 41 – “Get Back”

It’s tough to call whether Ludacris’ career low was his role as a ponderous carjacker in Crash or this collaboration with alt-rawk relic Sum 41. The original “Get Back” already overflowed with creatine and Jagermeister-fueled testosterone, but palm muted power chords and a hair metal solo is what Ludacris really needed to establish his masculine credibility. One has to wonder why this song was even conceived. Ironically, Linkin Park and Jay-Z’s collaboration album Collision Course was released the same year and demonstrated, at least sporadically, that rock and rap could be comfortable bedfellows, but Sum 41’s hip-hop bonafides are about as strong as Vanilla Ice, and their rock credentials are even more dubious if a so-called rock remix amounts to nothing more than grunge posturing. –Michael Snydel

Brad Paisley and LL Cool J – “Accidental Racist”

Modern country is constantly wrestling between “good ol’ days” idealism and contemporary visions of heartland Americana, but that tension erupted into disaster on Brad Paisley’s startlingly misguided “Accidental Racist.” In five baffling minutes, Paisley contradicts every one of his lyrical intentions in a tone that alternates between petty, solemn, and nationalistic.  He tries to dispel the offensive historic associations of the Confederate flag (he wants you to know he’s just a Skynyrd fan), but shrugs when asked to explain how to atone for the past; he tries to understand the other side, but shifts the blame to previous generations. Completing the full alienation of these two sides of America, LL Cool J strolls in to make puns about chains, the Civil War, and The Ku Klux Clan before Paisley and Cool J join together in a final bout of jaw-dropping racial profiling that compares iron and gold chains and matches do-rags to Confederate flags. –MS

Weezer and Lil Wayne – “Can’t Stop Partying”

Eight albums into its career (nine this October), Weezer could fill up a whole compilation with embarrassing songs from its 2000s recordings alone, but none match the shameless bandwagoning of “Can’t Stop Partying,” the ugly duckling mash-up of butt-rock and braindead club bounce, from 2009’s baffling Raditude. Weezer’s best songs have an element of desperation (the sweet/lecherous “Across the Sea,” the possessive relationship of “No One Else”), but this crosses a line into pure depression. Whether “Can’t Stop Partying” is taken as a sincere addiction anthem or slumming for a crossover hit, Rivers Cuomo has never written a song that sounds so profoundly hopeless. Even Lil Wayne at his peak Martian stardom (post-Carter III, pre-Rebirth) can’t help but phone in his verse.The one saving grace is that Weezy mercifully never picks up his guitar. –MS


Illustration by Alyssa Lee