Every year rock n' roll music is adapting, morphing, and evolving. We are lucky to live in an age when so many creative people are taking the reins and becoming a change in the perpetual human discourse that is music. Artists are experimenting again - pushing the limits of musical tradition - and as a result we are getting music that is innovative, groundbreaking, and beautiful. As walls are torn down, divisions are diminished, and boundaries are blurred, what used to be known as popular music is being turned on its head. Collaborative efforts within and between different genres are becoming more and more prevalent. Rock n' roll has even taken a page out of the rap game's book by featuring big name artists on tracks in ever growing numbers. From the Queens of the Stone Age to Nine Inch Nails, from Justin Vernon to LCD Soundsystem, artists are coming together to either enhance a song that is within their wheelhouse or experiment with something outside of it.
This week during an interview with BBC 1's Zane Lowe, Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner discussed Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme's contribution to their forthcoming record AM, due out September 10th via Domino. "The Josh thing was very much a case of one of us returning a back scratch to the other," he said. "He came down and sort of got us out of a little rut. It's just fun, it's friends, extended family now [they] came round, had a fun night. His contribution to our record is really exciting, it's probably my favorite. The 30 seconds that he's in there is just, I dunno, it's like something that I've never heard before."
This "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" trend is becoming prevalent in the rock music world. Here are five examples of similar friendly features.
Queens of the Stone Age - "Fairweather Friends"
This song on the new Queens of the Stone Age Album ...Like Clockwork features both Elton John and Trent Reznor. Guest appearances are plentiful on this record featuring the likes of Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters), Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys), James Lavelle, and Dave Grohl.
Flying Lotus - "And The World Laughs With You"
Experimental electronic/IDM music producer Flying Lotus gets a little help from Radiohead's Thom Yorke on this track. It should be mentioned that Yorke's Atoms For Peace is a metamorphic example of a grandiose side show.
Nine Inch Nails - "Came Back Haunted"
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails assembles a different band for every tour, and usually plays all instruments when recording an album. Here's a preview of his new record, which is going to feature the likes of Lindsey Buckingham, Adrian Boland, and Pino Palladino.
Kanye West - "Monster"
Justin Vernon found his way out of the woods of Wisconsin and onto Kanye's record. Watch them performing at Coachella 2011. It should also be noted that Vernon made a recent appearance on Kanye's exceptional album Yeezus.
Sublime - "Saw Red"
Bradley Nowell and Gwen Stefani team up for this Sublime classic.