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While musicians like Miley Cyrus, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry released hit after hit on their own, 2013 proved that when it comes to music, two can truly be better than one and three makes more than just company. Cross-genre collaborations topped the charts, and beat-heavy duets dominated radio play from season to season to season to season.
1. “Thrift Shop,” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz. The hip-hop duo’s breakout hit about second-hand fashion captured music fans for its humorous take on the popular pastime, along with Macklemore’s intricate rapping sensibilities. Holding the number one spot of the year, they’re now proven collaboration masters, as they also introduced two hits — “Can’t Hold Us” with Ray Dalton and “Same Love” with Mary Lambert — and earned nine Grammy nominations.
2. “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell. Though the trio collected criticism for their controversial music video — not to mention that infamous VMAs performance with Cyrus’ twerking — and even got tangled in some legal troubles for sounding similar to Marvin Gaye‘s catalog, the hit became the song of the summer and the second top song of 2013.
3. “Just Give Me a Reason,” P!nk featuring Nate Ruess. The mid-tempo ballad off of P!nk’s The Truth About Love album featured the fun. front man as her vocal counterpart. A rarity for the singer-songwriter, who doesn’t usually feature other musicians on her songs, the track has earned a Grammy nom for Song of the Year.
4. “Cruise,” Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly. The country group’s breakout hit off of their album, Here’s to the Good Times, enjoyed a cross-genre remix with Nelly, nabbing the ninth top song of 2013. Though snubbed by the Grammys, the track set the all-time record for the most weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, beating out previous runs by Eddy Arnold, Webb Pierce and Hank Snowby in the early ’50s.
5. “Stay,” Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko. The stripped-down breakup ballad off Rihanna’s seventh album, Unapologetic, paired the singer with the songwriter-turned-performer Mikky Ekko, after she heard the track he penned. Like a handful of the year’s top collaborations, “Stay” is vying for this year’s Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
6. “Get Lucky,” Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams. Besides “Blurred Lines,” Williams also struck gold with the French duo’s first single off their album, Random Access Memories. The track repeatedly made headlines for being covered by many, including president Barack Obama, and brought hilarity after the canceled pre-VMA appearance on The Colbert Report.
7. “Wake Me Up” by Avicii featuring Aloe Blacc. Though often only credited to the EDM master Avicii, his hit with Aloe Blacc skyrocketed up the charts during the latter half of the year, earning the 19th top spot of the year’s hits. Blacc told THR that he doesn’t mind not being named on the track though: “I enjoy kind of being the mystery man behind the song. …I think of it, like, if people recognize me for it, that’s great. If not, there’s only one person who can sing that song like that.”
8. “Suit & Tie,” Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z. The two music superstars paired up for mutual chart-toppers: Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” the lead single off of his album, The 20/20 Experience, and “Holy Grail,” from Jay Z’s summer release, Magna Carta…Holy Grail. Both songs ranked closely on the year-end chart, with Timberlake beating the rapper by two spots.
9. “Scream & Shout,” will.i.am featuring Britney Spears. Though Britney Spears released her second duet with will.i.am while still a judge on The X Factor in 2012, “Scream & Shout” is still counted as the 23rd top song of the year. Before recording the #willpower track, the two musicians also collaborated for Spears’ song “Big Fat Bass” on her 2011 album Femme Fatale.
10. “Clarity,” Zedd featuring Foxes. The EDM ballad not only solidified German dance producer Zedd’s spot in the mainstream music scene — following up “Clarity” with another hit, “Stay the Night” featuring Paramore’s Hayley Williams — but also Foxes’, whose real name is Louisa Rose Allen and signed with RCA shortly after the hit track was released.
Which collaborations of 2013 should’ve made the top cut? Sound off in the comments below.
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