Wednesday 13 December 2017

The worst words in pop music? Let's do a duet

Britney Spears (L) and Rihanna perform during the 2011 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ABC)
Britney Spears (L) and Rihanna perform during the 2011 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for ABC)
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Want to ruin reputations? Easy. Get two stars to record together, writes Darragh McManus

Duets: for many critics, they should be confined to karaoke bars. Drunken twosomes warbling through their favourite love song -- that's fine. It's when professional artistes get involved that the problems start.

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan plan to reignite their fcareers by reuniting on their smash hit, the saccharine duet 'Especially For You'. They'll be singing the song -- famous for its role in their fictional wedding in Neighbours -- at an event in London next month.

Cue mass shudders of dread in music fans around the world, but this pair aren't the first and definitely won't be the last. Pop stars, it seems, are addicted to doing duets. Considering how poorly most of them turn out, you'd have to wonder why?

Journalist Louise Bruton writes about music at her website notverywise. com. She says: "Duets are definitely the swiftest and easiest way to merge two fan bases and the best thing is that the two artists don't even have to be in the same studio to do it.

"Personally, I love duets. Some are utterly ridiculous -- here's looking at you, Westlife and Mariah Carey. Others are brilliant but completely forgotten about, like Enrique Iglesisas and Whitney Houston's 'Could I Have This Kiss?' or George Michael and Mary J Blige's 'As'.

"Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman's take on 'Somethin' Stupid' was, to me, one of the worst things to ever happen in the world. If you are going to remake a classic, you should make it better or completely different. This pair did nothing. It was just a chance for the two of them to frolic around for a day or two.

"And worse still was the disastrous remix of Rihanna's 'S&M', which featured an extra verse by Britney Spears. This was definitely an after-thought and as a result it felt sterile and vapid."

And do duets ever have any merit? Louise says: "Duets are at their best when you know that the artists are properly invested and interested in the song.

"Look at any of Kanye West's, Jay-Z's, Big Boi's or ODB's back catalogues.

"You can tell that all involved are putting time and effort into the song, rather than just cashing in on a get-rich-quick tune.

"A stunning example of a perfect duet is Beyonce and Lady Gaga's 'Telephone'. Tied up with the slightly bizarre video, it is a stand-out track from both of their careers.

"With Kylie and Jason, we wanted them to be in love, thanks to Neighbours. We allowed ourselves to believe the folly that they presented to us because it was an innocent time. You can't find tack like that any more!"

Irish Independent

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