More than ever, it seems that 2018 was the year of the unexpected collaboration. Ed Sheeran‘s duet of “Perfect” with Beyoncé rang in the New Year, spending about a month at No. 1 on the Hot 100, and by the time summer rolled around, Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin‘s “I Like It” was inescapable.
But what about the other unlikely collaborations — the truly unanticipatable genre marriages; the songs whose multi-artist credits warrant a double-take — that didn’t top the Hot 100 and other such charts this year?
Sting, Shaggy, “Don’t Make Me Wait”
“Don’t Make Me Wait,” the lead single from Sting and Shaggy’s collaborative album 44/876, has the Jamaican fusion artist and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer cheerfully vibing. The song’s pop appeal extends to the rest of the album, and bridges the duo’s otherwise very different sounds. Once again for those in the back (or, rather, those who didn’t tune into the 2018 Grammys): Sting and Shaggy recorded an entire album together.
Clean Bandit, Marina, Luis Fonsi, “Baby”
Welsh singer-songwriter Marina, now sans “the Diamonds,” flexes her operatic vocals on this flamenco-infused Clean Bandit bop. It’s also another winning English-language collaboration for Luis Fonsi (see: “Despacito,” “Echame La Culpa”) — if not charts-wise, then certainly in the eyes of indie popheads who have their fingers on the pulse.