A Selection of Great Duets We’d Love to See


As we’ve written here in the past, the duet is an inexact science — some of the collaborations that you’d think should have been roaring successes proved to be disastrous, and vice versa. We’re still on the fence as to which group the new St. Vincent/David Byrne collaboration Love This Giant, which is out today, falls into — but either way, the fact that two of our favorite artists have made a whole record together got us thinking about other dream duets we’d love to see. We’ve started the discussion with a bunch of suggestions. Who would you like to see in the studio together?

Michael Gira and PJ Harvey

Karen O does a surprisingly good job of handling guest vocals on “Song for a Warrior” from the majestic new Swans album The Seer, but still, if there’s any female vocalist who isn’t Jarboe that we’d like to see on the same track as Michael Gira, it’s Polly Jean Harvey. She did a fine job of playing Nick Cave’s paramour/murderess in poisonous love song “Henry Lee,” and given that there’s definite common ground between Cave and Gira, we reckon that a Harvey/Gira duet would be a similar triumph. (Nothing will ever be as good as Gira and Xiu Xiu doing “Under Pressure,” though.)

tUnE-yArDs and Peaches

Just because we’re pretty sure that never in the history of rock has there been a duet between two people named “Merrill.”

Hunx and Ronnie Spector

The affection that Hunx has for ’50s girl group sounds is pretty obvious, so why not pair him with the queen of the genre? Spector did a pretty great guest appearance on The Raveonettes’ Pretty In Black a few years back, and her voice is as strong as ever.

Dam-Funk and George Clinton

Dam-Funk isn’t just a pretty great musician — he’s a veritable treasure trove of funk-related knowledge, hosting a long-running show dedicated to the genre and generally keeping the funk fires burning in a largely funk-less age. In view of all this, we’d love to see him get together with the genre’s psychedelic overlord — we can only guess what sort of madness would ensue, but we’re sure it’d be pretty awesome.

EMA and Courtney Love

And while we’re on potentially awesome transgenerational collaborations, here’s one more. EMA has been fairly open about the fact that Hole were a big influence on her in her younger days. She’s also been understandably ambivalent about being compared to one of rock’s most enduringly “erratic” personalities, but even in 2012 — on her good days, at least — Love is a compelling frontwoman and performer. Depending on which version of Courtney turned up to the studio, this could be a triumph or a disaster — but either way, it’d make for interesting listening.

Grimes and Pictureplane

This is going to happen sooner or later. Mark our words.

Jens Lekman and Stephin Merritt

In our feature on amusing love songs last week, we noted the similarities between Lekman’s and Merritt’s voices and their general view of the world. The two share a similar sense of humor and a similar cynical but ultimately romantic view of love, and we’re sure they could make sweet music together. As it were.

Kevin Barnes and Beyoncé

Barnes has already collaborated with Solange, so why not go for the whole set and work with her big sister also? There was actually talk of a potential of Montreal/Beyoncé collaboration a few years back — nothing ended up coming of it, but we’d still like to see this happen (especially if it was Barnes’ androgynous Georgie Fruit incarnation doing the collaborating).

Madonna and Lady Gaga

So we can settle once and for all the question of whether Gaga really is in fact some sort of escaped prototype Madonna-bot.

Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon

Oh, come on… Can’t this stupid separation be over yet?! We want our Sonic Youth back, goddammit!