QUESTION OF THE WEEK: BESIDES METALLICA AND LOU REED, WHAT IS THE WORST COLLABORATION BETWEEN A METAL BAND/ARTIST AND A NON-METAL BAND/ARTIST? AND WHAT IS THE WORST ONE YOU COULD POSSIBLY IMAGINE IN YOUR WILDEST NIGHTMARES?
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Welcome to “Question of the Week,” a (not really at all) weekly debate amongst the MetalSucks staff regarding a recent hot button issue.
Inspired by the ongoing disaster that is Lou Reed & Metallica’s Lulu, this week we asked our writers:
BESIDES METALLICA AND LOU REED, WHAT IS THE WORST COLLABORATION BETWEEN A METAL BAND/ARTIST AND A NON-METAL BAND/ARTIST? AND WHAT IS THE WORST ONE YOU COULD POSSIBLY IMAGINE IN YOUR WILDEST NIGHTMARES?
The MS staff’s answers after the jump!
When Slash met Fergie, the metal community revolted. That Korn-Skrillex mindmeld (“Get Up”) insulted both artists’ respective fanbases. Yet those odd pairings don’t even scratch the surface of how awful things can get when two-become-one. I’d posit that the most disappointing collaborations come from performers you respect in separate contexts whose meeting prove intolerable. Sure, a Kreayshawn/Five Finger Death Punch double-LP would be unlistenable, but would it be worse than Lemmy recording a Christmas single with Prince? No. Disturbed and Michael McDonald might induce excessive bile, but damnit my heart would sink if Johnny Cash had ever jammed with Pantera. (That David Allan Coe thing was awful enough!) There’s a reason you don’t pour nacho cheese over your Fruity Pebbles!
I think we’d have to go back to the Metalli-well and point to “The Memory Remains,” Metallica’s first foray into “former counterculture figure plus sleazy fat dude rock” collaborations, this one with Marianne Faithfull. And it’s not so much that it’s awful — though it certainly is — but that it doesn’t make any sense. Faithfull’s voice adds nothing to the song — which is C-grade latter-day Metallica to begin with — and instead feels completely arbitrary, warbling around the track’s sluggish, overproduced dreck like a lost 3-year-old. And if you want to get even worse, you’d probably have to go with something like a mythical combo of Oh, Sleeper and Ke$ha. But not because of the train wreck factor, but how naturally they’d work with one another, bringing about what I imagine would be akin to when the Keymaster and Gatekeeper meet 2/3 of the way through Ghostbusters. Except there would be nothing we could do to stop them, and we’d all be reduced to dust or enslavement, where the living would envy the dead.
Let’s continue the piling on, shall we? Metallica’s collab with DJ Spooky on “For Whom The Bell Tolls (The Irony Of It All)” for the Spawn soundtrack is gawdawful, but in reality, it’s just a super-shitty remix. No, the cake goes to, who else, Metallica, for their insipid pairing with rapper Ja Rule and producers Swizz Beatz on the original canker sore, “We Did It Again.” The levels of pain inflicted on the listener with this hoax is unimaginable. Indeed, rumors out of Libya are surfacing that the rebels played this song on a continuous loop for dictator Muammar Gaddafi right before they blasted a bullet through his skull. No confirmation has been made that Gaddafi was smiling with relief upon his death.
Rebel Meets Rebel. As much as I love David Allan Coe (which is a LOT, trust me), witnessing his veteran twangy, whiskey-worn vocals twisted and processed into mechanical pap and then laid overtop the insipid likes of “Cowboys Do More Dope” and “One Nite Stands” was simply too much to bear. No disrespect to the band members, but I don’t care for Pantera at all, and while Coe isn’t exactly known for his intellectually stimulating (or politically correct) subject matter, for the love of god leave the man alone. Get your crappy watered-down nu-thrash and wretched chugga-chugga psuedo-riffs out of my country music, damnit, and Coe – you’re the original longhaired redneck, for sure, but you should think twice about fraternizing too closely with the current crop. Clearly, it don’t work.
As for the worst pairing imaginable… beats me. Unlikely bedfellows black metal and bluegrass mesh surprisingly well (see: Panopticon, Blood Cult) so that’s out. Maybe some unholy combination of deathcore and symphonic black metal? Oh, wait…Winds of Plague and Abigail Williams are already a thing, aren’t they? Gross.
Ronnie James Dio and Pat Boone. The great one sang backup on Boone’s cover of “Holy Diver” from his unbearable In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy album, an all-metal/hard rock covers album that also featured abortion-inducing big-band renditions of “Enter Sandman,” “Smoke on the Water” and “Paradise City.” I prefer to interpret Dio’s cameo as grand, bitter irony – what could be more fun than watching firsthand as the ultimate square, 40 years after he first incited your grandparents to tap their toes, makes a half-assed attempt at A) reclaiming some hipness and B) translating devil music for the fundamentalist set? It’s sad to see someone who clearly doesn’t love or understand metal trying to appropriate it for comic relief and further perpetuate metal’s reputation as a silly “other” music. It’s even sadder to see someone who does get it, like Dio, getting involved in the charade. His background vocals are so buried in the “Holy Diver” cover that whatever air of nobility he might have lent is totally missing. And instead, we’re just left wondering “why?” Read the fundamentalist response to the record here.
Worst metal/non-metal collaboration I could imagine? Cannibal Corpse and Jim Carrey. Oh, wait… that actually happened.
I’m blanking on other collaborations save for that Slash/Fergie Superbowl thing, but that’s not that weird because they’re both pseudo “rock” at this point. It was pretty terrible but let’s keep the focus on Metallica, because any excuse to laugh at them, right? I remember Marianne Faithfull sang on “The Memory Remains,” and that was fucking weird. And bad. I don’t know if she hit bottom when she was living on the street in the throes of heroin addiction or singing horribly off-key in that song. Marianne Faithfull, Lou Reed… if he weren’t dead I’d say they’d be vying for Marc Bolan next. As for worst possible collaboration, some friends and I spent quite some time thinking of hilarious combinations when Loutallica first made headlines. I don’t know if it would be the worst but it’s my favorite: Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel with Touche Amore. They could be called Invisible Touche.
Ugh, memories — when Puff Daddy came out with his song “Come with Me” featuring Jimmy Page on guitar, I… just… words cannot express how angry that song made me. One of the worst rappers of all time collaborating with someone as talented and iconic as Jimmy Page? For the fucking Godzilla soundtrack?! I couldn’t wrap my naïve little head around it. Actually, that might have been the first song I ever vehemently hated. And hey, over a decade later, I still do! Some things never change.
As for the collaboration of my worst nightmares… Well, I get shit for my unyielding hatred for Manowar on a fairly regular basis, so I’ll throw that in the mix. Maybe add Barry Manilow? Yeah! They could put out an album called Man on Man Action or something. Actually, no, I’d probably buy that on principal alone.
Alright, so a long-time favorite plus an artist I absolutely despise. Oh, got it — Bono and Bolt Thrower. If this ever happened, a part of my brain would explode, another part melt, and I would then transform into an axe-wielding murderess seeking revenge for the meticulous dismemberment of my very being; a direct result of such a collaboration.
While the Ja Rule/Metallica thing certainly gave me nightmares, by the time I first heard it (and I somehow managed to not even be aware of it until years after it happened), I had already accepted that fact that Metallica were broken beyond repair, so it’s not like I was heartbroken or anything. On the other hand, when Slash re-recorded “Paradise City” with Fergie and Cypress Hill, well… I went into a deep, deep depression. I know Slash isn’t a bastion of artistic integrity or whatever these days, but did he seriously have to shit all over his legacy by doing a horrible cover of one of his signature songs? Why’d he have to go all George Lucas on us, y’know?
And yet, that’s not the worst team-up I could possibly imagine. No no no — if you ever really, seriously, no joke wanna drive me to suicide, hire Dr. Acula to record a new song with piano by George Winston and sax by Kenny G. and make me listen to it on repeat. I would grab the nearest canister of gasoline and set myself on fire
Okay, kiddies, now it’s your turn! Weigh in with your answer to the question of the week below.