Today, Steve Aoki’s remix of “La Prisión” by Maná has been released to the world, and now humanity is at an all-time high risk of extinction. It takes super villain levels of misanthropy to dream up this EDM nightmare of pop rock. Run for cover–“La Prisión” is the worst both sides have to offer.
There’s been a strong public reaction to the song ever since the collaboration was announced, and it wasn’t pretty. However, this isn’t the first time two artists have come together to deliver subpar music. So here at Remezcla, we feel like it’s our duty to point you to some of music’s worst collaborations, in order to learn from our mistakes in the past.
We culled a list of questionable tracks in which two very different artists joined forces. Perhaps it was that one of the performers was under contract and not too happy about making music with the other person but had to, or one of the people involved was trying to cross over to a different crowd but failed to do so, or maybe it was any other reason why things didn’t gel. So here are a few examples of when genres collided and we ran for cover. Of course, this isn’t a definitive list, so add your favorites (or rather, most hated) collabs in the comments.
Thalia & Fat Joe - "I Want You"
We don’t know if putting together the queen of Mexican soaps with the Terror Squad rapper was an attempt to give her street cred, but it’s not something we’d think of as a perfect pairing. “I Want You” is one of Thalia’s many attempts to crack the U.S. market, which never happened, perhaps because of lackluster tracks like this one. Instead of relying on her sexy, over-the-top dance sensibilities, which worked so well for her in her post-Timbiriche career, we get a forgettable, subpar J.Lo urban pop track. The song is slightly more listenable in Spanish, although it still lacks a Fat Joe verse en español.
Alejandra Guzmán & Moderatto - "Día de Suerte"
We’re not sure how it happened, but the jokey 80s hair metal cover band became a legitimate musical phenomenon in the eyes of Mexican pop fans. The joke wasn’t funny anymore (s/o Morrissey) when Moderatto joined forces with Alejandra Guzmán, who was way past her prime when they recorded and toured together. Their collaboration often borders on listenable, which is good news for Belinda since her own collab with Moderatto came out better in comparison.
Miguel Bosé & Ximena Sariñana - "Aire Soy"
On paper, this doesn’t seem as bad as the other songs on this list. After all, Miguel Bosé is one of the most forward-thinking megastars Spain has produced in the past 30 years. So when the veteran announced a duet with quickly rising Ximena Sariñana for his (atrociously named) Papitwo album, it seemed like a great idea. However, once “Aire Soy” was released, listeners could hear one thing only: Sariñana singing “cashi shin querer,” which soon became the butt of all jokes.
Will.i.am. & Joan Sebastian - "Hey You"
Not to speak ill of the recently departed icon, but when the best thing you get in a song is the king of jaripeo’s hilarious hook, then we’ve got a problem. Actually, Joan Sebastian is having so much fun doing this that the music, in contrast, sounds especially lifeless–a lazy EDM beat from music’s greatest ringtone salesman. We’d much rather hear a Fergie cover of “Tatuajes” than this.
Paulina Rubio & Slash - "Nada Puede Cambiarme" / Marta Sanchez & Slash - "Obsession Confession"
Pau’s “Nada Puede Cambiarme” is pretty bad as it is–a dumb singalong with overblown Spanishisms that could rival Ximena “Cashi Shin Querer” Sariñana. The one selling point is, of course, a guitar solo from the legendary Guns N’ Roses guitarist, but while it might be exciting for those who love singing “Sweet Child O’Mine” at karaoke, a quick Internet search will reveal that Slash isn’t the pickiest of collaborators. It seems like all you need to do to have him on your record is give his agent a call and tell him to show up. This was probably the scenario that led to his older collab with Marta Sanchez in the early 90s, titled “Obsession Confession.” It’s a song that sounds like what a caricature of a Spanish singer would do.
Miley Cyrus & David Bisbal - "Te Miro A Ti"
Cyrus is a polarizing figure in music, but one thing no one can argue is that she’s unique when she does grandiose things. But for every “Party in the USA” or “Wrecking Ball” (forget the shocking video and listen to the song if you disagree), she has done a ton of faceless ballads since her Hannah Montana days. On “Te Miro A Ti,” David Bisbal does his overemoting cheesy thing while Miley tries to keep up. Thanks to the magic of modern technology, both seem to be singing in their own language, never even meeting for a chorus. Shout out to the all-too-brief 80s hair metal guitar solo, the one section where neither is wailing like they’re trying to wake up Mariah Carey.
Wisin & Sean Paul - "Baby Danger"
Of course, dancehall spawned reggaeton, so it’s not surprising that a collaboration like this happened. Having said that, “Baby Danger” doesn’t sound as organic as you’d think. Wisin’s vocals are like an afterthought from a better song. It’s as though he recorded this only to use up his extra studio time. Sean Paul scats and toasts his way around the song, like he’s trying to make it through in one piece. The whole song is wrapped in a generic EDM beat, redeemed only by a melody played with what sounds like a zampoña.
Raphael & Wilfrido Vargas - "Yo Soy Aquel" & "El Africano"
Some might argue that this collaboration doesn’t qualify for this list, since both the 70s divo and the merengue icon are beyond judgment. However, you have to admit, this is a bizarre artistic meeting of the minds. Bonus points for mashing up “Yo Soy Aquel,” “El Africano,” and “Yo Tengo Un Lio.” Take that, Girl Talk!
PXNDX & Belanova - "Sistema Sanguineo Fallido"
Happy punk and emo are not the most respected of genres, and Panda (or PXNDX, as they like to style their name) probably get the least respect from any band playing those styles of music, thanks to their corny lyrics and overdramatic delivery. They’re similar to Belanova in the melodrama department, except they apply this quality to synths instead of guitars. They meet halfway on PXNDX’s MTV Unplugged episode, in which the band’s lack of songwriting skills is more evident. “Sistema Sanguineo Fallido” gets a coat of screeching vocals from Belanova’s Denisse Guerrero, and she sounds like a cat attacking a chalkboard while a baby bawls nearby.