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Odd Couples: The Weirdest Dance Music Collabs Ever

From bluegrass electronica to rapping about cake, electronic music ventures into some odd directions.

by Kathryn Kyte
Jul 28 2014, 10:23pm

There's always room for experimentation when it comes to music and these artists have attempted to crossover into new musical terrain, bridging different sounds and styles into their recordings. Some of the offerings have worked while others have failed to meet the mark; here are the seven weirdest electronic dance music collaborations. 

Avicii vs. ABBA – "We Write the Story"

Sometimes the idea seems better in theory, as was the case when Avicii decided to go oldies with ABBA. "We Write the Story" came out in 2013, sure it was for a Eurovision song contest, but still, this wedding didn't work. Written by Benny and Björn of ABBA with production assistance from the Swedish DJ, the song acted as the opening anthem to competition, which also heard a large choir chiming in. The all-Swedish collaboration felt more like a holy chant sung by ambitious carolers that should've stayed home. 

Major Lazer and Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) – "Jessica"

"Jessica" premiered on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show in March 2013. The track featured the howling vocals of Ezra Koenig straddling a flux of reggae-infused beats. Perhaps it was a strategy from both parties as each act had new albums dropping shortly after the release of  "Jessica" or perhaps it was just one of those creative pursuits. Regardless of how it came to happen the song was a refreshing dose of spoken word, spacey beatscapes and groovy production tact. 

Deadmau5 and Ryan Adams – TBD?

Deadmau5 has not been one to follow the mainstream when it comes to music curation. He's already worked with My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way ("Professional Griefers") but it was news of his collaboration with singer/songwriter and all-around vocal crooner, Ryan Adams, that made the music blogs blow up with intriguing speculation. Back in October 2012, Ryan Adams posted a photo of himself working in studio with the electronic wonderkid, citing their "new track" would be like "BladeRunner starring Don Henley," according to Pitchfork. Now, we never heard what came of this meet and greet, but Deadmau5 is known for keeping many of his production efforts on lockdown until he feels like spewing them out. For now recall the photo uploaded via Instagram of Ryan Adams "singin words n shit" in a room featuring a sweet Les Paul and other randomness. If you fancy a trip down memory lane, "Professional Griefers" can be relived below.

Skrillex and The Doors – "Breakin' a Sweat"

Forging the electronic and rock worlds together can work, but it is not the easiest feat. Sonny Moore enjoys weaving eclectic webs of dub fury and "Breakin' a Sweat" taps into this sonic recipe, but the heightened beat barrages are somewhat hard to follow. Then comes the late Jim Morrison sample, which almost seems to be used as validation for the track that dizzies with of vocals from Mr. Moore and the remaining members of The Doors (Ray, Robby, John). "Breakin' a Sweat" was honed for the Re:GENERATION documentary and appeared on Skrillex's fourth EP, Bangarang. While Skrillex does enjoy serenading with patterned cuts, he has been one to shy from bringing this energy to live television. In 2012 Sonny turned down the opportunity to perform with Deadmau5 and the Foo Fighters at the Grammy Awards, explaining to Pitchfork that he does not "play on TV."

Borgore and Miley Cyrus – "Decisions"

A former Disney princess that can't be tamed pairing with a rising DJ/producer who invented his own music genre—why not? It was very random and when the WTF track surfaced it was hard to know if one should laugh or not. Borgore told Rolling Stone "I didn't think twice before I did this. I was so certain this is was going to work." The official video that came with the two acts smothered in cake and "rapping" has over 13 million views to date, somehow. After the track was released, Miley even hit the stage with the Israeli dubstep DJ during his LA show, to you know, grind and sing about not sharing cake some more.

Bloody Beetroots and Paul McCartney – "Out of Sight"

Neither rock nor electronic music was sidelined for this collaborative effort. Sir Paul McCartney has never been one to rag on electronic culture, he embraced the hydraulics of the ever-evolving genre on his 1980's track "Coming Up" and has had a decades old electro-experimental project called 'The Fireman' alongside Killing Joke bassist and co-founder, Martin Glover. Martin also acts as a producer under the pseudo name, Youth, and worked with the honcho behind the Italian electro-punk mask of the Bloody Beetroots, Sir Bob Cornelius Rifo. After Martin became aware that Sir Bob wanted to work with Sir Paul, the process of getting the Beatle to join forces wasn't that difficult for the two music masterminds. "Out of Sight" appeared on the Beatroots' album HIDE, which hosted a mix and match of collaborations with artists like Tommy Lee. Even Sir Paul McCartney appeared in the official music video for "Out of Sight," highlighting his vocal inclusion in true form.

Avicii and Aloe Blacc – "Wake Me Up"

As one of the standout singles from Avicii's debut album, True, "Wake Me Up" combines elements of bluegrass, country, folk and electronica into a pop-friendly radio tune that has been littered over the airwaves and then some. The Swedish DJ/producer clearly saw something viable with the track penned by singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc and whether you despise it or not, the rollicking electro-country jam received a hefty amount of commercial success. Listen to the original "Wake Me Up" song here.

Avicii's desire to cross-pollinate will be further experienced on his forthcoming album, due out later this year. The album does not have a title yet. According to a new interview with Rolling Stone, Avicii's next bundle of noise will include collaborations with artists such as Jon Bon Jovi, System of a Down's Serj Tankian, Wyclef Jean, Billie Joe Armstrong and Avicii's new best friend, Coldplay's Chris Martin. "It's going to be a lot more song-oriented," the 24 year old told RS. "True was an attempt at that, getting electronic music in a song format."

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Tagged:
Major Lazer
Paul McCartney
deadmau5
skrillex
The Doors
Miley Cyrus
Ezra Koenig
Avicii
The Bloody Beetroots
Collaboration
Borgore
Ryan Adams
aloe blacc
Abba
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miley cyrus and borgore