Billie Joe Armstong and Norah Jones' 'Foreverly' – Five more unlikely album pairings
Next Monday (November 25), Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and easy listening favourite Norah Jones release Foreverly, a record comprised entirely of The Everly Brothers’ tracks recorded by the pair as duets.
Armstrong, the grizzled punk rocker who’s in a stadium filling pop-punk band and Jones, the clean-cut singer songwriter whose albums can tinkle away in the background just about anywhere seem like unlikely collaborators.
With this in mind, we thought we’d drag through the crates and pull out some more musical pairings that you’d never have put together.
We begin with…
Metallica and Lou Reed
Collaborations don’t get anymore unlikely and leftfield than this. On one side you have the 100-million record selling, stadium filling, thrash metallers and on the other an avant-garde, now sadly departed, musical troublemaker with a penchant for industrial noise.
So when Metallica and Lou Reed announced they were making a record together based on Lulu, two plays originally written by the German playwright Frank Wedekind, reaction was naturally pretty polarised.
The end result, an album consisting largely of spoken word reading from Reed over the top of Metallica’s churning metal riffs with even more alienating droning keyboards. Metallica fans (and most critics) hated it, the band themselves quietly tried to distance themselves from it and most people ignored it.
Lulu remains a bizarre and very difficult listen which, over two years after it came out, most people are still trying to wrap their heads around.
Kylie Minogue and Manic Street Preachers
This is cheating a little bit as only two tracks of Kylie’s 1997 album Impossible Princess featured contributions from the Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore, but it’s so unlikely we had to get it in here.
Guitar-led and decidedly indie in places, the trio features two tracks titled ‘Some Kind Of Bliss’ and ‘I Don’t Need Anyone’. The album remains totally out of step with Kylie’s back catalogue, but it’s a fascinating listen.
Jay-Z and Linkin Park
This might not seem that unusual given Linkin Parks’ rap rock background, but this 2004 record, which saw the rapper and the nu-metal giants re-recording and combining their classics, certainly seemed to come out of nowhere.
Despite its title, the songs actually fuse together remarkably well, especially ‘Numb/Encore’ and ‘Jigga What/Faint’. It’s not the most outstanding moment of either artist’s back catalogue, but it’s well worth going back to.
Neil Young and Pearl Jam
After performing with grunge giants Pearl Jam at an abortion rights benefit in Washington DC, eleven days later the notoriously grumpy, but equally prolific Neil Young joined Pearl Jam in a Seattle studio to record Mirror Ball.
It’s billed as a Neil Young album, but you can hear the muscle and heft of Pearl Jam on every track. Eddie Vedder only duets with Young on one track ‘Peace And Love’, singing back-ups on the rest of the album.
Again, this is not the best record that either party has ever put their name to, but it remains a really good, Americana-flecked rock record and well worth seeking out.
Elvis Costello and The Roots
Elvis Costello isn’t shy when it comes to collaborations, he’s recorded albums with the likes of Burt Bacharach, classical singer Anne Sofie von Otter, Richard Harvey and the Brodsky Quarter, but his latest effort is his most out there to date.
The alt-punk veteran announced earlier this year that he was making a record with Pennsylvania hip-hop collective The Roots and it emerged in September to very favourable reviews.
Every track on the album, which is titled Wise Up Ghost, is powered by The Roots’ amazingly foot-tapping basslines, crisp percussion and funky keyboards, with Costello’s distinctive, dullest vocals over the top. It shouldn’t work, but it does, really really well.