If you don’t know about one of the year’s best collaborations yet, allow us to make your day: Flavorpill favorites Rye Rye and Robyn have released a duet. “Never Will Be Mine” is actually a remix of Robyn’s 2005 single “Be Mine!,” injected with a shot of Rye Rye’s adrenaline. What’s that old saying? Two scorned women are better than one? Something like that.
The track got us thinking of how few great musical collaborations we’ve seen between two women. While the male-female love duet is a classic, and the menfolk are always hopping onstage together, the all-girl tag team is something of a rarity — perhaps because female musicians are often set up as rivals. After the jump, with the help of Flavorpill’s knowledgeable staff, we’ve collected some of pop’s most memorable lady-on-lady musical collaborations, from Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox to Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, in hopes of inspiring many, many more.
Lady Gaga and Beyoncé — “Telephone”
If “Telephone” isn’t quite the single “Bad Romance” was, at least Jonas Åkerlund’s crazy jailbreak video made up for it. There’s no denying the thrill of seeing two of our most fascinating pop stars as a pulpy tag team — and we love Beyoncé’s interlude, which splits the difference between rapping and belting. She should also consider rocking the Faster, Pussycat look more often.
Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin — “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” (1985)
It gets us every time — that moment in the video above when Annie Lennox points to her right and we see for the first time that she and Aretha Franklin are onstage forever. And in case you didn’t get the idea from the first verse, the ladies want to make sure you understand what this song is about: “This is a song to celebrate the conscious liberation of the female state.” The oft-covered hit has become a feminist anthem, earning a place in the canon alongside Aretha’s own “Respect.” Sing it, sisters!
Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue — “Whatta Man” (1994)
Still wondering “what women want”? Then you may benefit from giving “Whatta Man” a listen. This ’90s staple combines Salt-N-Pepa’s horny rapping with En Vogue’s steamy, neo-Motown harmonizing to praise a guy who has “a body like Arnold with a Denzel face,” is “secure in his manhood, ‘cuz he’s a real man,” and, most importantly, “knows that my name is not Susan.” Yeah, we’ll co-sign that.
Brandy and Monica — “The Boy Is Mine” (1998)
The first #1 hit for either Brandy or Monica, “The Boy Is Mine” is high school in a nutshell. Inspired by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s “The Girl Is Mine,” it’s also far more believable; can you really imagine Macca and Jacko fighting over a woman’s love? And we’re so glad our girls learn their lesson by the end of the video: They shouldn’t waste their anger on each other when the guy they’re fighting over is clearly at fault.
Eve and Gwen Stefani — “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” (2001)
Sort of the “Telephone” of its time, “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” represents the union of two pop badasses. The video begins with Eve and Gwen’s mug shots and follows the provocatively dressed ladies from the party to the paddywagon. Stefani’s breathy vocals are the perfect complement to Eve’s tough-edged rapping. Did we mention how much better the song is than “Telephone”?
Thao and Mirah feat. tUnE-yArDs — “Eleven” (2011)
What’s better than finding out that two of your favorite indie-rock women, Mirah and Thao Nguyen (of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down) are making a whole album together? How about learning that they brought in a third awesome lady, tUnE-yArDs to add her global-dance genius to its opening track, “Eleven”? Thao + Mirah came out April 26th, and the whole thing is worth a listen or 50.
Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand — “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” (1979)
Sure, it all starts out grandma-friendly enough. But this cross-genre collaboration enters disco-inferno mode about two minutes in and never looks back. As brassy as “I Will Survive” and featuring two of the era’s biggest gay icons, “No More Tears” must have caused a riot the first time it played at Studio 54.
Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, Pink, and Missy Elliott — “Lady Marmalade” (2001)
Let’s get one thing straight: There is nothing wrong with Labelle’s original smash hit. And the updated version, recorded for Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!, is a wonderful tribute. Christina’s pipes are in top form, and Lil’ Kim’s original verse is a killer. “Why spend mine when I could spend yours,” indeed. The song was produced by Missy Elliott, who also added a few stray phrases of her own to the track.
Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt — “To Know Him Is to Love Him” (1987)
Like Thao and Mirah two and a half decades later, these three couldn’t stand to limit themselves to just one single. So, in 1987, Emmylou, Dolly, and Linda treated America to an entire collaborative album, appropriately titled Trio. And the country trio didn’t stop there; they returned in 1999 with Trio II, which included an enchanting version of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush.”
Leslie and the LY’s feat. Elvira — “Zombie Killer” (2008)
This may not be classic in the Top 40 sense of the word — but just try to watch Leslie Hall’s collaboration with B-horror queen Elvira and tell us it isn’t classic in its very own way.