If there’s anything better than one pop star belting out an infectious tune with a catchy beat, it’s two. The term “duet” is a thing of the past; the modern day equivalent is now always referred to as a “collaboration.” In years past, men ruled this type of mash up, one only needs to look at David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure” or Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s “Say Say Say” for examples of super star power coming together for million dollar singles and worldwide acclaim.

It seems as if men aren’t really capable of grabbing the attention in the music world that they once could–blame this on the multi-talented women now gracing the stage. These days, the best collaborations are coming from pop starlets and when these divas collide, the world listens.

So, last year we discussed 16 of the Worst Music Collaborations ever, but for this go-round, Let’s focus on the good stuff. Let’s take a look at five recent pop starlet collaborations that rocked the world:

Lady Gaga Featuring Beyoncé, “Telephone”

When Lady Gaga became a worldwide superstar in 2008, the music game had long been dominated by a superstar in her own right: Beyoncé. Long known for her R&B hits with Destiny’s Child, one of the best-selling girl groups of all time, the group took a hiatus and it was during this time that Beyoncé released a solo album with a distinctly pop sound. After many ups and downs, Destiny’s Child eventually disbanded for good, which left Beyoncé to continue working on her own, becoming even more popular and releasing solo records that exceeded the expectations of critics and far eclipsed anything she did with Destiny’s Child.

Fast forward to March 2010. Lady Gaga is already an established star selling out venues around the world and garnering a lot of attention- and controversy- for her bizarre attire, subversive music videos, and eccentric fans she refers to as her “little monsters.” The “Telephone” video is more like a mini movie heavy on the lesbian theme with prison scenes, girl on girl kisses, and a couple of murderous outlaws known as Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, but it’s all in good fun, of course.

Britney Spears Featuring Madonna, “Me Against the Music”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxGOBPYUwvA&feature=related

Long before Britney Spears went off the deep end, shaving her head, driving around with paparazzi in the middle of the night, and losing custody of the two children she had with one of her backup dancers, she was pop royalty. All the girls wanted to be her and all the boys wanted to be with her; she had platinum albums, multiple singles go gold, and at the tender age of 22, she was a self-made millionaire with no one to thank but her own hard work and talent. If anyone had it better it was the queen of pop herself: Madonna. By 2003 when Spears released her fourth studio album In the Zone, Madonna had been in the music game for over 20 years. When Madonna and Spears are mentioned in the same sentence, many think of their highly publicized kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2003, but just a few months later they collaborated on Britney’s song “Me Against the Music” and it was a major hit. Let’s not let the kiss overshadow the music, people.

Eve Featuring Gwen Stefani, “Let me Blow Ya Mind”

After watching “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” it’s hard to believe that the video–and the song–were released nine years ago; they’re just as good today as they were then. In 2001 when the hip hop queen released her second album Scorpion and tapped Gwen Stefani, who’d started off as a punk from Orange County and sky rocketed to fame with her ska/punk/reggae-tinged band No Doubt, to collaborate with her on her second single “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” it raised quite a few eyebrows. The two women appeared to have little in common. Eve grew up in the mean streets of Philadelphia and began her career as the first lady of Ruff Ryders, a male-dominated hip hop label famous for spawning rappers like DMX. Stefani, on the other hand, grew up in sunny southern California and played a majority of No Doubt’s early shows in Orange County. When the two women came together Eve was already a big name in the hip hop world and Stefani was a pop superstar, though it seemed like an unusual pairing, it was music gold and led to one of Eve’s most enduring songs.

Beyoncé featuring Shakira, “Beautiful Liar”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXDpFLuYvQk

With a talent as big as Beyoncé’s, it’s inevitable that she’d show up a multiple times on this list. In May of 2007 when Beyoncé and Shakira came together for Beyoncé’s single “Beautiful Liar,” many considered it a perfect pairing. Shakira was a Columbian songstress who’d recently become a major pop star in the states with a look to match, but in Columbia she’d been known for her sultry looks, belly dancing, and rock-tinged music sung en Español. It wasn’t until her 2001 album Laundry Service that Shakira became a successful crossover artist and a household name. Many equate the success of “Beautiful Liar” to the sensual moves and drop dead gorgeous looks of the two pop stars featured in the video, but the song wasn’t too bad either.

Christina Aguilera featuring Lil’ Kim, “Can’t Hold Us Down”

In 2003 when the powerhouse known as Christina Aguilera released her second studio album Stripped it became abundantly clear that she no longer wanted to be associated with the good girl image crafted by her record company during her Genie in a Bottle Days. Whether it was writhing around in chaps for her song “Dirrrty” or bragging about her multiple piercings to the mainstream media, she was sending the message loud and clear. In this way, teaming up with rap superstar and controversy magnet Lil’ Kim, the self-professed “baddest bitch around,” for the single “Can’t Hold Us Down” was the perfect move. The single became known as a female empowerment anthem, calling out the double standards that enable men to be applauded for multiple sexual conquests while women are called whores for the same behavior. A good song that makes you think; what’s better than that?


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