Lady Gaga's 'ARTPOP': Top 10 Dream Collaborations
From Bowie to Britney to the Weeknd, here are 10 collaborators we'd like to see in the liner notes to Gaga's next album.
Last week's announcement that Lady Gaga's "ARTPOP" album was finally arriving in November was coupled with the news that the long-awaited full-length would be paired with a corresponding app, and that a first single would be released by the end of August. Aside from that, however, Little Monsters have no idea what the follow-up to 2011's "Born This Way" will sound like, or who else has worked with the pop maven on her latest opus. "Born This Way" was many things for Gaga, but a hotbed of collaborations was not one of them. After previously singing alongside artists like Beyonce, Akon and Wale, Gaga stripped her last album of featured vocalists as well as the kind of flashy pop producers we've come to expect superstars to seek out.
"ARTPOP" may repeat that process, but if the album is rife with high-profile collaborations (which it very well may be), which singers, producers and songwriters would fans most like to hear enter Gaga's brave new world? While every diehard fan certainly has an opinion on the subject, check out Billboard.com's rundown of the 10 collaborators we'd love to see appear on "ARTPOP," from EDM maestros to country divas to a certain pop queen that Gaga has long been compared to.
Kendrick Lamar - Gaga's guest spot on "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe," from the Compton rapper's 2012 album "good kid, m.A.A.d city," didn't make the final cut -- which was probably for the best, since the song is more effective as a solo track and her vocals didn't really fit with the chorus. Still, Gaga and Lamar are some of the most dynamic artists working in popular music, and there's no reason why the right collaboration couldn't be breathtaking. Maybe "ARTPOP" is this duo's "take two" moment.
Grimes - Since the 2011 release of "Born This Way," Canadian indie-pop artist Claire Boucher has unfurled her brilliance in front of bigger and bigger audiences through her Grimes project. Having Boucher contribute as a vocalist or producer would be monumentally intriguing, with Grimes' haunting voice serving as a yin to the yang of Gaga's full-throated wail.
Dev Hynes - Over the past year, the Blood Orange mastermind has emerged as producer and songwriter that enhances the strongest qualities in female alternative pop performers. From Solange's "True" EP to Sky Ferreira's "Everything is Embarrassing" single to Mutya Keisha Siobhan's recent comeback bid "Flatline," Hynes creates full hooks and clouds of synthesizers that are mesmerizing in their plushness. Can Gaga be the next one to co-opt Hynes' airy soundscapes? Pretty please?
Britney Spears - Ever since Gaga rose to fame with "The Fame," the Internet has been a testy "Britney vs. Gaga" battlefield, with extremely dedicated fan bases arguing that their pop diva is the fairest of all. Why not combine the powers of the two superstars for the purpose of one unstoppable anthem? A better question: who wouldn't want to see a Britney/Gaga song on "ARTPOP's" track list?
The Weeknd - The refrain and propulsive rhythms of Gaga's first huge hit, "Just Dance," made it easy to forget that the song was actually about feelings of disorientation under the hypnotic glow of the dance floor. Abel Tesfaye, the mysterious R&B artist better known as the Weeknd, knows all about the shadows of the club; give his remix of Gaga's "Marry The Night" another listen to see how exciting the pop star's songs can sound when inverted through a menacing lens. The Weeknd has spent the past year collaborating with rappers like Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J, but an "ARTPOP" contribution could be the moody crown jewel of Tesfaye's 2013.
Carrie Underwood - Gaga's budding fascination with country music was very much on display on "Born This Way," especially considering the down-home spin she put on "You and I" on its delightfully twangy remix. Who better to deepen her knowledge of the genre than Underwood, one of country's most undeniable personalities who happens to be coming off of a huge year with the release of "Blown Away"? Give these two a duet, and stand back as they proceed to blow the roof off.
Luke Steele - The Empire of the Sun singer-songwriter has demonstrated a limitless embrace of conceptual glam-rock, but recently and perhaps more importantly, a penchant for collaboration: after helping out Beyonce with the "4" track "Rather Die Young," Steele created "Looking 4 Myself," the title track from Usher's 2012 album, which found the R&B star grafting his voice onto another one of Steele's stylish jams, resulting in one of the full-length's best moments. If Gaga and Steele get into a studio together, the music produced will be as high-end as the pair's wardrobes.
Bangladesh - Despite her many pop permutations, Lady Gaga has yet to unleash the hip-hop-inflected banger that we know she has in her -- the "Hollaback Girl" or "Promiscuous" of her catalog, if you will. Enter Bangladesh, the producer who crafted filthy beats for Lil Wayne ("A Milli") and Gucci Mane ("Lemonade") before bestowing Rihanna with the gloriously ratchet "Cockiness (Love It)" in 2011. "ARTPOP" deserves a helping of big beats and dumb fun, and Bangladesh's number is the one to call in this instance.
Calvin Harris - Speaking of Rihanna, few artist-producer pop collaborations this decade have grasped the dizzying highs of "We Found Love," Scottish producer Calvin Harris' mainstream breakout in the States. Since then, Harris has scored more hits, including "Sweet Nothing" and "I Need Your Love," by pairing his masterful electronica with the more-than-capable voices of Florence Welch and Ellie Goulding. Logically, Harris' next muse should be Gaga, who soared while working with dance auteurs like RedOne and DJ White Shadow.
David Bowie - Like a Britney Spears collaboration, it's hard to imagine anyone not being intrigued to hear what a Gaga/Bowie song would sound like. Gaga has long channeled Bowie's boundary-pushing approach to the pop star paradigm, and with his new album "The Next Day" ending a long hiatus, a Bowie feature is finally feasible.
What do you think of our choices, and who did we miss? Discuss "ARTPOP" in the comments below.