While dance music continues to ascend into popular culture, there have been some very odd pairings that have taken the world by storm. On television alone we’ve seen gerbils dance to “In My Mind,” Avicii throw a Bud Lite Super Bowl party, and A-Trak eloquently serve up glasses of Grey Goose. Some of the most unexpected collaborations, however, have taken place within the music itself. Dancing Astronaut presents: 10 collaborations that shocked dance music.
10. Swedish House Mafia & Usher
This past summer, Axwell mentioned that Shakira and Chris Brown have reached out to Swedish House Mafia for productions and that the trio turned down both offers. What he forgot to mention was that Swedish House Mafia was busy in the studio working on Usher’s latest album. Looking 4 Myself was released in summer 2012 and featured two tracks with the SHM insignia; “Euphoria,” which also made the final cut of Until Now, and “Numb,” which was co-produced with Alesso. Usher had been one of the long-lived kings of R&B and the Swedes hadn’t yet backed an artist of such caliber, but the results were bliss.
9. Deadmau5 & Gerard Way
Deadmau5 has always been one to shy away from marquee collaborations or A-list vocalists. Big names have never mattered — he even selected the singer for “The Veldt,” Chris James, using Twitter. That all changed when Joel released > Album Title Goes Here < last fall. Enlisted as the featured artist for “Professional Griefers,” one of the album’s lead singles, was Gerard Way. Linking up with the My Chemical Romance frontman was a shocking move by Deadmau5, but the California chemistry worked out for the best and the two met again for the official music video.
8. Diplo & Lil’ Wayne
As one of the most versatile producers in the game, Diplo has produced music for the likes M.I.A., Beyonce, and Bruno Mars. But after delivering “Look At Me Now” for Chris Brown (with help from Afrojack), he must have hit a sensitive spot in Lil’ Wayne, one of the record’s featured rappers. The self proclaimed “best rapper alive” is infamous for his output over 1,000 songs, but never has he ditched his standard hip-hop beats for electronica. Diplo’s producer status on “Two Shots” off Wayne’s Tha Carter IV came as a complete surprise, but expect another collaboration, “Lay It Down,” to be released in March — but throw Nicki Minaj in the mix this time.
7. Borgore & Miley Cyrus
When Borgore released his Decisions EP back in July, he hadn’t revealed the name of the lead track’s vocalist. Maybe that was because no one would believe that America’s once-upon-a-time sweetheart, Miley Cyrus, would be singing about how “bitches love cake.” It turned out, however, that Cyrus was a huge fan of cake when she was featured in the official music video smearing cake in Borgore’s face and having it smeared in hers. That wouldn’t be all from the two; Miley joined Borgore on stage at Music Box in Los Angeles this past December. There was no cake fight this time.
6. Nicky Romero & Rihanna
Calvin Harris had already produced “We Found Love” and “Where Have You Been” for Rihanna, so it was no surprise that David Guetta would be listed for the singer’s latest album. The shock came with Nicky Romero, who produced “Right Now” with the same formula that he had used for signature tracks like “Generation 303.” Nicky opened up about collaboration and admitted that the opportunity fell into his lap when in the studio with Guetta, to whom these partnerships are normally offered to. A simple case of being in the right place at the right time resulted in a huge radio-permeating record.
5. Boys Noize & Snoop Dogg
Boys Noize graced with his third studio album, Out Of The Black, last October; a 12-track offering with one big surprise. In many ways, the album was similar to his first two releases, in other ways, it couldn’t be more different — particularly, Snoop Dogg’s occupation of a rare guest spot. Snoop, who is ironically slated to perform at this years Ultra Music Festival, raps full verses atop Boys Noize’s acid-fused drumline for a song that is just as much rap as it is electro.
4. Zedd & Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga has sold well over 20 million albums, won five Grammy Awards, and been hailed as one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. So when she attested to having a “major musical boner” for Zedd, you could only imagine what would come next. Zedd had already remixed tracks like “Marry The Night” and “Born This Way,” so Gaga took to Clarity‘s “Stache” to contribute her vocals. The matrimony has only begun; Zedd be will producing at least 5 records for the singers next album. Artpop.
3. Afrojack & Michael Jackson
Afrojack has had his fair share of pop collaborations, from Pitbull to Chris Brown, but his most shocking is undoubtedly with the king of pop, Michael Jackson. Rumors had swirled that Billboard poster boys Diplo and A-Trak would remix “Bad” for its 25th anniversary, but it was unforseen that those duties would go to Afrojack. Although MJ is no longer with us and the collaboration was not a physical, in studio effort, the remix is a respectful tribute that modernizes the classic sound without jeopardizing it.
2. Avicii & Madonna
One of the most storied controversies in dance music over the past year all started at Ultra Music Festival’s main stage. Madonna strutted front and center in front of the headliner’s audience, asked the crowd if they had seen “Molly,” and introduced Avicii. This was not any coincidence, nor was it just to make a foolish drug reference — Madonna was opening Avicii’s set with their collaborative mix of “Girl Gone Wild.” Originally produced by Benny Benassi, Avicii revisited the track and made it an unescapable tune with his remix and debut.
1. Daft Punk & Disney
Daft Punk hadn’t released music for 5 years, so when Disney announced that the French duo would compose the soundtrack to Tron:Legacy in 2010, jaws dropped around the globe. This was not an artist album by any means, it was a film score. Guy and Thomas carefully crafted a cinematic experience and their electronic sound was back by an orchestra to create one of the most unpredictable and unique projects from an electronic music group. And let’s not forget about the remix album that featured the likes of Avicii, Boys Noize, and Kaskade.