By Skinny Legend
It's hard to believe, but as of September 30th this year living legend Britney Spears will have been driving us crazy, loving rock and roll and seeking Amy for exactly twenty years - and what a wild ride it's been. Apart from all the personal crises (think that Justin Timberlake break-up, the whole K-Fed saga and the infamous umbrella incident), Britney has also consistently wowed us with hit single after hit single, from 'Me Against the Music' to 'Make Me'.
But amidst all the brilliant releases (Britney's last single 'Slumber Party' was her forty-first), there was a multitude of songs that didn't quite make the cut. Some of them (like Gaga's 'Telephone') were recorded by Britney before being scrapped at the last minute; while others (like Rihanna's 'Umbrella') were offered to Britney but rejected for recording for one reason or another. While some of these songs would have contributed absolutely nothing to Britney's legacy and are no loss whatsoever, its interesting to see just how many more hits she could have had if she'd played her cards right, especially in the last decade.
In this list we'll be looking at twenty-four such songs which Britney decided to pass on. Keep in mind that in this list we're including only tracks that were officially released by an artist in some capacity jthat we're able to listen to, although other confirmed demos for Britney that are still stashed away in the vault (such as ones written by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake, Sky Ferreira, Dev Hynes and Danja) would undoubtedly be equally amazing.
24. Lady Gaga - Telephone (Feat. Beyoncé)
The story of Britney passing on 'Telephone' is at this point legendary, but just in case you've forgotten about the whole saga we'll give a brief recap here. 'Telephone' was originally written by a pre-fame Gaga alongside a song called 'Quicksand' to be considered for inclusion on Britney's sixth studio album and official comeback, Circus. But while 'Quicksand' was included as a bonus track on the album, 'Telephone' was scrapped due to the presence of another similiarly themed song, the Bloodshy & Avant produced 'Phonography'.
Later, the song was reworked as a duet between the two artists; but conflict arose when Gaga wanted the track to be on the tracklist of her re-release The Fame Monster while Britney's team wanted the song on her greatest hits The Singles Collection. Ultimately, Gaga took the song back and replaced Britney's part on the duet with a new verse by Beyoncé, and the Britney version was never released either as a solo song or as a duet. Thankfully, her version went on to leak in 2010 and we got a fan-made version of the duet soon after.
23. The Pussycat Dolls - When I Grow Up
'When I Grow Up' was the song of the summer back in 2008, and was a huge hit for the newly reformed Pussycat Dolls minus Carmit Bachar. The song was written by Darkchild (who also worked on 'Telephone') and Rock City, but we had no idea it was meant for Britney until a demo sent to her leaked in 2011. When it was originally written for Brit, the lyrics were tailor made to her situation, opening with, "My name is Britney and I don’t care what you say," before continuing "I swear at first that I was flippin'/When they said I looked like Debbie Gibson/And then I tried to dance like Michael Jackson/But people saw me and started laughing."
It's unknown why Brit passed on the song that would go on to be a huge hit, but it's interesting to note that she was originally confirmed to have a short cameo appearance in the music video. Originally, Britney was meant to have a blink and you'll miss it appearance in the traffic jam at the beginning of the video, waving at the Dolls before driving away. Like her version of the song, however, the cameo was scrapped for unknown reasons.
22. Charli XCX - Secret (Shh)
'Secret' is one of Charli XCX's more experimental songs, which is why it may be surprising to hear that it was originally intended for the princess of pop herself. The song's co-writer, Jesse Saint John spilled the tea when discussing another song he wrote for Britney's latest album 'Love Me Down'. "I did [a] song for Charli XCX called 'Secret'' that Karen [Kwak, Britney's A&R] really liked, and for a second she thought it could be for Britney Spears." Sadly, Britney never got around to recording the demo and Charli ended up releasing it on her own EP Vroom Vroom, but it was the strength of 'Secret' that allowed Saint John to pitch 'Love Me Down' in the first place. 'Secret' is actually the second Charli song to be considered by Britney, after she wrote a song specifically for the popstar back in 2013; but we're unsure exactly what that song was, or if it has since been released by anyone other than Brit.
21. Girls Aloud - Graffiti My Soul
If you don't live in the UK, you may not have heard of Girls Aloud. Manufactured on an English television show called Popstars: The Rivals, the group soon became a mainstay of the UK charts for over a decade until their break up in 2013. While its release as the fifth single from their album What Will The Neighbours Say? was scrapped, the song 'Graffiti My Soul' nevertheless became one of their most well known tracks, with group member Cheryl Cole later stating in 2008 that if she'd had the chance to release she song as a single she would have.
Interestingly though, the song was originally written for Britney, who recorded her own version of it for inclusion on In The Zone. "The record company loved it, but Britney's people said 'Where's the chorus? Why are there no repetitive parts?'," said Bryan Higgins, who produced the song as part of Xenomania. While we've never heard even a snippet of Britney's version of the song, we may not be missing out on that much. Whether it's jealousy or honesty, Cole stated that Britney's version was "strange" and that she sang it "in that really strange voice and it freaked me out"; although she later admitted that the source of her nervousness may have come from the fact that the version she heard was unmixed.
20. Enrique Iglesias - Maybe
'Maybe' is a song written by Enrique Iglesias, Steve Morales, Kara DioGuardi and David Siegel which was first released on his Escape album in 2001. The track was later reworked as an uptempo number for the album's reissue and released as the project's fifth single in May of 2002. What's bizarre is that a month prior to the song's single release, Britney started introducing the track under the title 'My Love Was Always There' and performing it live at her Dream Within A Dream Tour shows, even going so far as to say that she wrote the song. 'Maybe' was far from a flop, hitting #12 in the US and #3 in the UK, so it's unknown exactly why Britney thought she could get away with claiming the track as her own.
19. Jennifer Lopez - Brave
'Brave' is the title track of Jennifer Lopez's sixth album, produced by frequent Britney collaborators Bloodshy & Avant and The Clutch. Originally, the song was actually written for Britney's album Blackout, but it was rejected from the final tracklisting before release. That said, I can't say that I'm too disappointed about not hearing Britney's version - while the tracks lyrics stating "I'm not afraid/Because I am brave" definitely fit into Britney's narrative, the song is pretty typically generic R&B and doesn't really offer anything new to the pop music genre like the rest of Blackout did.
18. Momoiro Clover Z - Rock The Boat
Momoiro Clover Z released 'Rock The Boat' on the album Hakkin no Yoake in 2016; but as any true Britney stan will know, the track has been in the works for much longer than that. Britney fans first heard the song in late 2011 as part of the semi-annual Britmas leaks tradition, when it was heard under it's working title 'Dangerous'. Recorded for the Circus album, 'Dangerous' has the same songwriters as bonus track 'Rock Me In' of Greg Kurstin and Coco Morier, and apart from the translated lyrics not much changed at all between it's recording and it's reinterpretation as 'Rock The Boat'.
17. LIZ - When I Rule The World
LIZ has been open about her love for Britney, from her confession that Brit taught her "how to be a popstar" to her obsession over every stan's favourite unreleased track, 'Mona Lisa'. But she got closer to Britney than she ever could have expected with her PC Music-inspired single 'When I Rule The World'. "I heard she wanted 'When I Rule'," she told The Guardian, apparently astounded that Britney even knew who she was. LIZ was ultimately so attached to the song that she had to fight for it to be her own release; and although the track definitely would have fit in with the 'Pretty Girls' vibe and aesthetic, we can't say we're sad that she won.
16. Leah McFall - Home (Feat. will.i.am)
Leah McFall was a runner-up on the second series of The Voice UK, where she was mentored by the infamous will.i.am - a man who was at the same time taking Britney under his wing on the other side of the pond. That's why it makes total sense for any record will worked on around that time to have been shopped around to both Brit and Leah, as happened with 'Home'. The track is typical will.i.am, complete with nonsensical lyrics, an overused sample and a tacky lyric video, so we can't say we're sad that Britney never jumped on this one; although with that said it would definitely be an improvement over 'It Should Be Easy'.
13. Jordin Sparks - Shy Boy/14. Jordin Sparks - Young and In Love/15. Jordin Sparks - See My Side
It might be hard to imagine winner of the sixth season of American Idol Jordin Sparks and Queen of the Lip Sync Britney Spears being offered the same tracks, but believe it or not it happened back in 2007. 'Shy Boy', 'Young and In Love' & 'See My Side' are a handful of tracks which were originally worked on by production team Bloodshy & Avant for Britney's long-awaited Blackout album; but after they didn't make it onto that album, they were passed on to label-mate Jordin Sparks for her self-titled debut.
'Shy Boy' and 'Young and In Love' aren't much of a loss: they both sound like the typical messy 2007 R&B demo that sprouted up in the wake of Timbaland's success, although undoubtedly they would have been improved by some of Britney's vocal stylings. But 'See My Side', which like 'Piece Of Me' was worked on by pop's fairy godmother Robyn, would have worked nicely alongside 'Why Should I Be Sad?' as a lullaby end to the Blackout album.
12. Jamie Lynn Spears - Follow Me
Remember Jamie Lynn Spears, Britney's little sister who made a name for herself on Nickelodeon show Zoey 101 before being fired for her unexpected teenage pregnancy? Well, she also sang the theme song for that show, titled 'Follow Me', which just so happened to be written by her big sister Brit and frequent collaborators Bloodshy & Avant. Weirdly the song was never officially released in full on any soundtrack album, although we did get an official instrumental as well as dozens of snippets of the song played throughout the show which has allowed fans to compile their own versions of the song. A demo also leaked in 2014, but it wasn't sung by either Britney or Jamie Lynn which makes Britney's writing credits and the original intent for the song a total mystery.
11. Rachel Stevens - Sweet Dreams My LA Ex
A reunion of 'Toxic' producers Bloodshy & Avant and songwriter Cathy Dennis, 'Sweet Dreams My LA Ex' was actually a pretty big hit for English popstar Rachel Stevens back in 2003, hitting #2 in the UK charts and selling 210 000 copies that year. Originally, like 'Everytime', the track was intended to be a response to Justin Timberlake's 'Cry Me A River', which was long rumoured to be about Britney; but when Stevens sang it, it was to break out from her role as a singer in S Club 7. Britney apparently passed on the track because she found the lyrics just a little too obvious, which is a real shame because the western R&B sound in the song would have worked perfectly on In The Zone.
10. f(x) - Chocolate Love/Girls' Generation - Chocolate Love
Another K-Pop convert, 'Chocolate Love' was first heard back in 2009 as a dual release for K-Pop supergroups f(x) and Girls' Generation. The song was used to promote the LG Cyon Chcolate phone in commercials, with f(x) jumping on the 'Electronic Pop Version' and Girls' Generation singing the 'Retro Pop Version'. Also worth noting is that f(x) alone recorded an English version of the song entitled 'Topbillin' Love', which was performed live during their international tour in 2010.
What's interesting is that this version of 'Topbillin' Love' was actually a throwaway track that had been written years before by Karen Poole as a demo for Britney which got rejected. Poole tried her hand at writing to the instrumental after Cathy Dennis's attempt, called at that point 'Phony Lullaby', was also rejected due to it's inclusion of lyrics Britney apparently found objectionable. Britney even tried her hand at writing to this instrumental alongside Michelle Bell, which resulted in the unreleased track 'Take Off', a song which discussed Brit's anti-war and anti-discrimination views. Cathy Dennis would later reclaim the song and morph it's instrumental into 'Sweet Dreams My LA EX', the Rachel Stevens hit mentioned above; but that didn't stop the K-Pop groups from reusing it's demo years later.
9. BoA - Look Who's Talkin'
'Look Who's Talkin'' is a song originally written by Britney alongside Bloodshy & Avant, Henrik Jonback and Michelle Bell in 2003 during the same sessions that produced songs like 'Chaotic' and 'I've Just Begun (Having My Fun)'. Later, it resurfaced on Korean superstar BoA's debut English album, also titled BoA, as the second single from the R&B-pop project. The Britney demo leaked just a little later on as 'Look Who's Talking Now', and features almost exactly the same lyrics and production; although the words are a little more meaningful coming from a popstar who spent a lot of her early life silenced by her record label or management. Britney's version of the song was probably never strong enough to be a single, but it could have worked well as an an additional track for the Chaotic EP.
8. Pitbull & J Balvin - Hey Ma (Feat. Camila Cabello)
'Hey Ma' was released last year for the The Fate of The Furious soundtrack album as a collaboration between Pitbull, J Balvin and Camila Cabello; but if things had gone differently, the song could have had a twist from the Holy Spearit. When it was originally recorded, 'Hey Ma' featured Romeo Santos and Britney in the Balvin and Cabello parts, with Britney cooing "If you touch me right, I might stay the night" over a Latin-inspired beat.
But when the song was pitched for The Fate of The Furious, the producers requested that they be replaced, presumably to appeal to a younger audience and capitalise on the Latin American vibe of the film. While we'd generally cringe at the idea of Pitbull releasing a song with with Britney (or Pitbull releasing any song full stop), we have to admit that 'Hey Ma' featuring Britney is an absolute bop, thanks to the fact that her version was leaked as a Christmas present to the fans. We can only imagine how great this song would have sounded in a mash-up with 'Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortés)' on the Piece of Me shows.
7. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Pulse
'Pulse' was published on the ASCAP registry back during the In The Zone era as a potential candidate for Britney's album, but it didn't end up making the cut there. Instead, it was released in 2010 on the Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark album History of Modern. While we're unsure if anything was changed over that seven year period, we can definitely imagine Britney's vocals on the current version of the track, which has the same breakbeat R&B kind of style she explored on ITZ tracks such as '(I Got That) Boom Boom' and 'Me Against the Music'.
5. Kylie Minogue - Nu-Di-Ty/6. Kylie Minogue - Speakerphone
Britney and Kylie have a long history of working with the same producers and thus swapping tracks, with Kylie even turning down the demo that would go on to be a hit for Britney with 'Toxic'. "I wasn't at all angry when it worked for her," she said of the track. "It's like the fish that got away. You just have to accept it." Let's hope the feeling is mutual, because Kylie took two tracks that Britney worked on for Blackout for her own album X, both of which were produced by longtime collaborators Bloodshy & Avant.
'Nu-Di-Ty' is a quirky, fragmented pop song with a hint of R&B and tropicana which plays out like a more light-hearted version of Britney's own 'Freakshow'. While we don't have a Britney version of the track, she definitely did record one as some of her background vocals can be heard in the final version, and are even clearer when filtered out from the other vocals. Then there's 'Speakerphone', a precursor to 'Telephone' with a dreamy Euro-pop production which was definitely an album highlight. We've never heard anything of the Britney version of this one but it's safe to say she would slay it.
4. Kylie Minogue - Get Outta My Way
'Get Outta My Way' is not just one of Kylie Minogue's best songs: it's one of the best pop songs of this decade full-stop. The perfect slice of dance-pop for the summer season, 'Get Outta My Way' was originally shopped around to several artists including Britney, Alexandra Burke and Pixie Lott, and Wynter Gordon also wrote a song to the Cutfather-produced instrumental. But ultimately it was Kylie who nabbed the song, apparently due to the fact that the other potential candidates were too slow to respond. This is one of the few times where we're happy the song went to it's original artist: Britney's version of the track would probably have worked well on Femme Fatale, but Kylie needed the hit desperately and she put way more energy into the choreography than Brit could have at that point.
3. Nelly - Tilt Ya Head Back (Feat. Christina Aguilera)
The rivalry between Britney and Christina is basically a tale as old as time at this point, so it's no surprise that they'd both be put up for the same part on Nelly's 'Tilt Ya Head Back', which was a moderate hit when it was released back in 2004. Britney actually recorded vocals for this song, some of which were leaked in 2016; but according to producer Dorian Moore, her label nixed the idea of Britney collaborating with Nelly, finding the song "too urban". Janet Jackson was also considered before XTina took the final spot. It's not entirely surprising given that in 2004 Brit was still fighting for creative control with her record label, leading to the Original Doll saga that would begin her downwards spiral in 2007.
2. Selena Gomez - Whiplash
'Whiplash' is definitely not one of Selena's better known songs, and at the end of the day it is just album filler; but for a non-single track, it's surprisingly fun. Alternating between a silly metaphor-ridden chorus and a bouncy rap part spoken with an English accent, 'Whiplash' was highlighted as a standout track from When The Sun Goes Down and was performed on tour alongside a medley of Britney's own hits.
But if things had gone differently, the song may actually have ended up on Brit's comeback vehicle Circus. Britney wrote and recorded the song alongside Coco Morier and Greg Kurstin at the same time as she worked on 'Mmm Papi' and 'Rock Me In', but it failed to make the cut for unknown reasons. So far we haven't heard the demo of the song, which is a shame because I'm dying to know if the English accent was a Selena addition or if it was present in the original version as well. Judging by Englishney's raps in 'Scream & Shout', I wouldn't be surprised if that was something Brit came up with all on her own.
1. Rihanna - Umbrella
What more needs to be said about 'Umbrella', the monster hit which launched Rihanna's career properly and transitioned her from Bajan Princess to Bad Girl? Tricky Stewart, who had previously worked on 'Me Against The Music', wrote the track alongside The-Dream intending for it to be a comeback single for the troubled Spears; but when they sent the track to her label, it was rejected without Britney even hearing the track. After Mary J. Blige passed on it too, the song ended up in Rihanna's lap, at which time she utilised her accent to create that signature "ella ella eh eh eh" chorus which made the song such a hit. It's a credit to Rih that her stamp on the song is so huge that we can't even imagine Britney singing this one.
Which of these songs would you most like to hear Britney's vocals on? Let us know in the comments down below!
Editor's Note: This is an updated version of an article that was originally posted on 04/01/2018.
By Skinny Legend
Lady Gaga is well known for making promises to her fans which she doesn't always come through on. Between a handful of unreleased music videos and an entire scrapped album, Little Monsters have gotten used to taking every announcement with a grain of salt and waiting for concrete releases before jumping on the hype bandwagon. But out of all of her broken promises, most likely the hardest for Gaga's fans to digest are the failed collaborations which she's teased before their ultimate cancellation.
There are endless reasons for such cancellations, but it's safe to say that many stem from Gaga's own pickiness when it comes to her musical output. Although Gaga has worked with legends like Cher, Elton John and Britney Spears, none of these collaborations were ultimately released due to Gaga's displeasure with the material; while songs featuring rent-a-rappers such as Flo Rida and Too $hort and alleged child molester R. Kelly have been pushed by Gaga as potential hits. In other cases, behind the scenes dramas seem to have been the major contributing factor to cancellations, while yet others appear to simply be a case of bad timing.
In this list, we'll be looking at eighteen of Gaga's most high-profile features which have remained unheard. Is anyone else as excited as I am to hear #9?
1. T.I. - Lick It (Feat. Lady Gaga)
T.I. and Gaga worked together on the infamous 'Jewels and Drugs' for Gaga's ill-fated ARTPOP album, but if T.I. had had his way they would have done so a lot sooner. Back in 2010, T.I. teased that he and Gaga had worked together on a song called 'Lick It', intended at that point for his album No Mercy. "The one we have right now is entitled 'Lick It'," he stated, teasing, "I think we both have a tendency to shock the world in a lot of different ways." He further hinted that the two may continue to work together, saying "[We're] gonna go back in [the studio] and record some more songs." Ultimately, any collaboration they worked on for the album remained unreleased. According to former RadioARTPOP host Derek, who had ties to Gaga's team, Gaga found the song too "raunchy" and had never truly intended to release it with her vocals, even sending it to other singers to feature on.
2. T.I. - New National Anthem (Feat. Lady Gaga)
Following the release of 'Jewels and Drugs', T.I. later mentioned that he was in the "final stages" of having Gaga record the chorus vocals for 'New National Anthem', a song later released as a single off Paperwork. Originally featuring demo vocals from Victoria Monet, the song would later go on to feature frequent collaborator Skylar Grey, with T.I. stating that Gaga was too "busy with her current project" to record vocals for the song.
3. Britney Spears - Telephone (Feat. Lady Gaga)
You may remember that 'Telephone' was one of many hits offered to Britney that she eventually turned down for the Circus album, apparently because of the presence of another phone-themed song 'Phonography' on the project. But what you may not realise is that 'Telephone' was eventually reworked in duet form for Gaga and Britney, before debate over who owned the song halted it's release. At the time, Britney's team wanted the track for her upcoming greatest hits compilation The Singles Collection, while Gaga wanted it for The Fame Monster. After failing to come to a compromise over who the song belonged to, Gaga ended up taking it back and adding Beyoncé as a featured artist instead, leading to the hit we all know and love today.
4. Lady Gaga - TBA (Feat. Britney Spears)
It was later hinted that Gaga and Britney may have had something in the works following the release of ARTPOP. When asked who she would like to work with next, Britney stated, "I would do a duet with Lady Gaga. I think that would be a lot of fun," continuing, "I think she's very different and interesting and intricate." Gaga then took to Twitter to publicly support the duet, stating:
Although it was never officially confirmed that they worked on anything together, Gaga did attend Britney's Piece of Me show soon after, which may have been a way for them to further discuss the duet. Sadly, nothing ever eventuated.
5. Elton John & Lady Gaga - Hello Hello
'Hello Hello' was the first of many Elton and Gaga duets, and was recorded for the release of the 2011 Elton-funded musical animation Gnomeo & Juliet. Originally, the duet was meant to be included on the official soundtrack to the film; but possibly due to label disputes, the duet version was cut from the soundtrack and can now only be heard in the full film. While Elton's solo version appears on the album, the duet did leak several months later.
6. Lady Gaga - Room In My Heart (Feat. Elton John)
In an interview with Zane Lowe prior to the release of Joanne, Elton confirmed that he had a writing session with Gaga scheduled for the next day, saying "I'm writing with Lady Gaga tomorrow". He stated that while he wasn't a fan of ARTPOP, he had heard several songs from Joanne and found them to be a return to form. Several months later, a title named 'Room In My Heart' was registered to publishing sites, with the writers listed as Gaga and Elton and the performer as Gaga alone. A song with the same title, but this time written by Diane Warren, was also registered at the same time. Unfortunately, any Elton collaboration that may have existed remains unreleased, despite the fact that it doubtless would have worked well on the rockabilly-inspired album.
7. Kendrick Lamar - PARTYNAUSEOUS (Feat. Lady Gaga)
'PARTYNAUSEOUS' was originally conceived as a song by Kendrick Lamar featuring Gaga back in 2012. It was planned to be released as a single on September 6th of that year from Lamar's album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, but was cut due to creative differences on which direction the song should take. This led to two different versions of the song existing: one, a slow R&B version which leaked in 2015; and another, an EDM-styled rave track which Gaga reworked as an interlude for the ARTPOP Ball tour. The song, from Gaga's perspective, details her efforts to make peace with the country of Indonesia, which banned her from performing during The Born This Way Ball Tour in 2012.
8. Kendrick Lamar - Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe (Feat. Lady Gaga)
'Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe' was another Kendrick Lamar collaboration which Gaga sang the chorus for. After their creative relationship ended, Kendrick released a solo version of the track on his album (later recruiting Jay-Z for the single release), while Gaga later leaked her contribution to the song online. "We had a date, but we had to meet the deadline for the pre-order date," Kendrick explained when asked why the song went unreleased. "That’s just the business side coming through and messing things up. But you know it’s God’s plan. I’m not really too tight about it because I know we have something special."
9. Paul McCartney - TBA (Feat. Lady Gaga)
Paul McCartney has had a song with Gaga in the can since 2015, when Gaga announced via Instagram that they had been in a session alongside instrumentalists such as Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready.
It was later revealed that the track, described as a "rollicking tune", was in fact a soundtrack selection for McCartney's long-awaited film High in the Clouds. An adaptation of his 2005 book on capitalism, High in the Clouds has been in the works since 2009 and has only just gotten a writer, so it's unlikely to be released anytime soon; but as far as we know, this duet is still planned for release at some point in the future.
10. The Midway State - Don't Give Up (Feat. Lady Gaga)
'Don't Give Up' is a cover of a duet originally recorded by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. The idea for the collaboration came from Gaga's producer Martin Kierszenbaum, who introduced The Midway State and Gaga in 2008. "When we finished [recording], we were both super into it so shortly thereafter we recorded a video for the song [in L.A.]," said the band's Nathan Ferraro. The video itself was a homage to the original video by Gabriel and Bush, and features a still shot of Gaga and Ferraro embracing as the camera moves around them. The video, along with the song, leaked in 2008. "I didn't cry but I was disappointed," said Ferraro. "In this business you get used to that, it's just a snap of the fingers. It was just a matter of she was blowing up at the time and they can't put a huge push or millions of dollars behind every single artistic thing she does".
11. Cher - The Greatest Thing (Feat. Lady Gaga)
'The Greatest Thing' is a song originally recorded in 2007 by Gaga and longtime producer RedOne under the name 'Greatest'. "I wrote that song a long time ago, and I've never put it on one of my own albums for, really, no particular reason," Gaga said in an MTV interview. "I always write these concept records, and it just didn't fit in. But it's always been, like, this big, massive, beautiful hit record and everyone always says, 'Why don't you put that on your album?' And I said, 'I don't know, it just doesn't fit with everything else.'" Later, in 2011, when RedOne and Cher were collaborating, he pitched her the song for potential inclusion on her 25th studio album Closer To The Truth. Originally, the song was meant to be a solo track; but it was later revealed that Gaga wanted to appear on a remix "for the gays", before being convinced by RedOne to appear on the original. While the song was at one point intended to be the second single from the album, Gaga ultimately decided that she didn't like her vocals on the song, and Cher ended up axing it entirely after RedOne failed to get in contact with her in time. The song would later leak in 2013.
12. Trina - Let Dem Hoes Fight (Feat. Lady Gaga & Kalenna)
'Let Dem Hoes Fight' was one of three songs Gaga worked on alongside Kalenna, Jim Jonsin and The JAM in 2008. "We started writing a song called 'Freezer Burn' and that song turned out really good, so we did another song called 'Kaboom.'," explained Jonsin. "We were playing the songs back, trying to figure out who to give them to. So I said, ‘As far as the labels are concerned, just let them hoes fight over who gets the song.’ Everyone was like, 'Jim, that’s a great song title!' And in like 20 minutes, we had that song with Lady Gaga." A year later, when Trina was working on her album Amazin, Jonsin suggested that she rework the track for herself featuring Gaga for release on the album. While Gaga was featured on the song when the album was sent out for review, she was removed from the track by the time the album was officially released, possibly due to label conflicts. However, her version did later leak.
13. Barbra Streisand - TBA (Feat. Lady Gaga)
Barbra Streisand's thirty fourth album Partners, an all-male duet album, was in the works for over two years before it was ultimately released. When it was first announced in 2012, producer Walter Afanasieff teased that the album would include collaborations with Robin Thicke, Usher, Yo Yo Ma, Willie Nelson and Babyface - although ultimately, only the Babyface duet would make the cut. Two years later he teased that "Lionel Richie, [...] Blake Shelton, Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban, Michael Bublè, Lady Gaga, Bette Midler, Andrea Bocelli, Beyoncè, Billy Joel [and] John Mayer" would all appear on the album, but ultimately the three females made mention of were not included on the final tracklisting. It's unknown if a duet was ever recorded, but it's possible that Barbra and Gaga recorded a song together which was scrapped when she decided to go with an all-male list of partners.
14. Lady Gaga - Ratchet (Feat. Azealia Banks)
'Ratchet' was a collaboration recorded with Azealia Banks, intended for the ARTPOP project. Ultimately, after some untimely Twitter beefs on Banks's part, the song was cut from ARTPOP with Gaga stating that Banks had a "bad attitude". We have a small snippet of Gaga performing the track live, and an official instrumental was later released by producer DJ White Shadow on his Clock Is Ticking EP in 2013; but as of yet, the full version of the song has yet to be heard.
15. Lady Gaga - Red Flame (Feat. Azealia Banks)
'Red Flame' was another collaboration recorded with Azealia Banks for ARTPOP, which was cut for the same reason as 'Ratchet'. A sister song to 'Mary Jane Holland', the song explores the 'Princess High' persona Gaga was embodying at the time. A watermarked version of the song went on to leak in 2016, but it seemed to be in an unfinished state.
16. Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett - Paradise
'Paradise' was initially announced for Gaga's collaborative album with Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek, as one of several original songs on the album. Like much of Joanne after it, the song was a dedication to Gaga's aunt who passed away of lupus, and was intended to mark the conversation she had with her brother before she passed. Ultimately, the song went unreleased due to Gaga's nervousness over her jazz composition abilities, although she hinted that she may release the song in the future. It's unknown if Gaga was the sole artist to feature on the song or if Bennett was also involved.
17. Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett - TBA
When Cheek to Cheek was first announced, it was initially only going to include songs by one songwriter. "I can't mention the composer because I don't want anybody to do it before we do it, but there's a great composer that's very underrated, very famous, but not as famous as Gershwin or Porter," Bennett stated. "But he did as many hit songs as anybody, and so we're gonna do a big swinging album." Ultimately, the album featured a collection of songs from the Great American Songbook (including cuts from Gershwin and Porter), and only a few of them were written by the same composers. Given that recording for Cheek to Cheek occured quite a while after it's announcement, it's unlikely that a full album of songs by just one songwriter was ever recorded.
18. Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett - TBA
Immediately after the release of Cheek to Cheek, Bennett announced that he and Gaga were planning a potential sequel to the album inspired by Cole Porter's musical Red, Hot and Blue, a statement he echoed a year later when he revealed that they were releasing an album full of Porter renditions. According to Bennett, Gaga wanted to record a follow-up "right away". While giving a performance in Idaho in 2015, Bennett announced that the album would drop in 2016; and a year later, Bennett stated that the two had continued discussions regarding a second album, and that they would begin recording in 2017. In late 2017, he stated that he and Gaga had a duet that would drop on New Year's Eve, but this also did not occur. It's currently unknown if the two have recorded anything beyond their first album together.
Which of Lady Gaga's unreleased collaborations do you most want to hear? Who are you most interested in hearing her collaborate with next? Let us know in the comments down below!
By Skinny Legend
Watch the video version of this article here:
Unkept promises are hardly a new trend in Lady Gaga's fanbase of Little Monsters. Between cancelled tours such as the co-headlining Fame Kills with Kanye West, scrapped documentaries such as the one promised for ARTPOP, failed collaborations with Britney Spears, Elton John, Cher and Kendrick Lamar, and a variety of random merchandises such as Polaroid photo printers, dog accessories and perfumes, fans have gotten quite used to taking everything Gaga says with a grain of salt and waiting for concrete release dates before they get excited.
But it hasn't always been this way. Back in 2012, when Gaga's third studio album ARTPOP was first announced, she confirmed that the album would have two parts to it, with each having a staggered release. ARTPOP was released, but it's sequel, the long-awaited Act II, was nowhere to be found. And every time fans were prepared to give up on their dreams of a sequel, Gaga would string them along for another few months with the vague promise of "soon" in an obscure radio interview.
So on the eve of what will surely be a career-defining Super Bowl performance, we've decided to look back at one of Gaga's biggest unkept promises, ARTPOP: Act II, and revel in the little concrete information we know about it.
What was ARTPOP: Act II?
When Gaga initially envisioned the concept for ARTPOP, it was always as a double album. Originally, side A was to be filled with the more commercial pop sounds she was known for, while side B was intended to feature the songs designated as "experimental". As time went on, however, this seemed less feasible as Gaga realised that separating the album into these two dichotomies was contradicting the very concept of the project which was meant to bring them together.
Despite this, there was a huge amount of material that had been recorded during Gaga's fifth album sessions for the public to consume. Writing had started right after the release of Born This Way in May 2011, and by the time the Born This Way Ball tour had come to an unexpectedly early end due to a hip injury, up to fifty songs had been considered for inclusion. Even more songs were written during Gaga's six month recovery time, which meant that by the time ARTPOP was released in November 2013, over ninety tracks in various stages of development had been written for the album. Some of these were to be released on the ill-fated ARTPOP app that accompanied the projects release, but others were special enough to have their own place on a physical album.
By the album release date, Gaga had teased that she had plans to release another volume of ARTPOP before its accompanying tour, saying "it could be nice to play both acts on the tour". And ARTPOP: Act II was still a possibility back in March of 2014, when Gaga discussed it in a post-show keynote at the SXSW Festival. "There's many volumes of work over a long period of time that have just not been released to the public because I've chosen to not put it into the system," she said. "Sometimes it's just fun to have records that me and my friends listen to. We love it. We don't care what everybody else thinks. Maybe one day I'll release them. And I have a whole second act of ARTPOP."
In April of that year, Gaga stated "there's a strong possibility I will release another volume of ARTPOP".
And then: nothing. Radio silence on the subject. Gaga has never spoken about ARTPOP: Act II publicly again.
Why did ARTPOP: Act II go unreleased?
While we don't know what officially dealt the final blow to ARTPOP: Act II, it's a strong possibility that a mixed reception to the albums predecessor and the perception of it as a "flop" brought an end to any plans Gaga or her label had for a follow up: especially with the low chart positions of the albums last single 'G.U.Y.', which despite a big budget music video hit only #76 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ironically, ARTPOP as an album did relatively well, hitting #1 and going on to become the ninth best-selling album of the year, despite only having two properly marketed singles. In August of 2014, Gaga confirmed that we would never receive any music through the ARTPOP app following months of waiting. Her statement that she had "moved" on from anything to do with her old management bore an ill omen for the album release, too. Gaga went on to reinvent her image with 2014's collaborative jazz album Cheek To Cheek with Tony Bennett, before becoming a country chanteuse with last years Joanne, and ARTPOP: Act II became just another project to add to the list of Gaga's unkept promises.
A selection of fan-made covers for the fabled ARTPOP: Act II.
What songs could have made the ARTPOP: Act II tracklist?
In an interview with KISS 92.5, Gaga stated that she had recorded around ninety songs for the original album, with only fifteen of them making the final cut. This leaves around seventy-five unreleased tracks that we haven't heard, out of which we have concrete titles for thirteen - a full albums worth. The tracks that were considered for Act II include:
'Brooklyn Nights': Co-written by the team of DJ White Shadow, Nick Monson and Dino Zisis that made 'Applause' happen, 'Brooklyn Nights' is a nostalgic ode the love of Gaga's life, most likely Lüc Carl. 'Brooklyn Nights' was a contender for the original ARTPOP album until late in the game, with Gaga teasing it in September of 2013 via a Twitter post and rumours swirling that the track was competing with 'Mary Jane Holland' for a place on the album. Legal documents that leaked in 2020 show that the song was still scheduled to be on the album in early October. Later that month, when asked why the song didn't make the cut, Gaga replied, "I wanted to spend more time on it. It will come out [via] the app sometime during the album cycle". While we were eventually left high and dry with the app, which had no exclusive songs on it, the song was leaked in early 2014. 'Maren': This is a title registered onto Gaga's BMI in November of 2012. It's produced by Gaga newcomers Dreamlab (famous for their work with Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato) and John Nation, and possibly references the picturesque coastal county north of San Francisco. 'Nothin' On But The Radio': 'Nothin' On But The Radio' leaked in 2010, but there was doubt over whether it was really Gaga singing until she was spotted blasting the track out of her car in 2012. While fans were initially unsure which era the song belonged to, legal documents that leaked in 2020 show that the song was at one point in consideration for ARTPOP, further confirming the writers as Gaga, Billy Steinberg, Josh Alexander and Paul Blair. 'Onion Girl': Gaga revealed this title in an interview with KISS 92.5 in November of 2013. Produced by Zedd, this song could possibly a reference to Charles De Lint's 2001 novel The Onion Girl, which is named so for the peeling back of layers that occurs to the main character over the course of the book. 'PARTYNAUSEOUS': 'PARTYNAUSEOUS' was originally conceived as a song by Kendrick Lamar featuring Gaga back in 2012. It was planned to be released as a single from Lamar's album but was cut due to creative differences on which direction the song should take. This slow R&B version of the song leaked in 2015. Later, Gaga reworked the track as an EDM-styled interlude for the ARTPOP Ball tour. The song, from Gaga's perspective, details her efforts to make peace with the country of Indonesia, which banned her from performing during The Born This Way Ball Tour in 2012. 'Princess Die': One of the earliest titles written for ARTPOP, 'Princess Die' was first performed on an Australian date of the Born This Way Ball tour in June of 2012, and later became a mainstay of the show. Writing in January of that year, Vanity Fair had described Gaga playing the song for them during their interview: "Gaga went to the piano to play us [...] a song about fame and celebrity death. Even in its rough stages, it has her trademark catchy chorus, and she sang the sad slightly bitter lyrics in full voice." Gaga later teased that the song would be released through the ARTPOP app, but this did not come to be. 'Ratchet': This was a collaboration recorded with Azealia Banks, but was cut from the original record because Gaga found Banks to have a "bad attitude"; it's possible that it could have been rerecorded as a solo venture. We have a small snippet of Gaga performing it live and an official instrumental released by producer DJ White Shadow. 'Red Flame': This was a collaboration recorded with Azealia Banks, but was cut from the original record because Gaga found Banks to have a "bad attitude"; it's possible that it could have been rerecorded as a solo venture. A watermarked version of this song leaked in 2016. 'Sire': 'Sire' is a song written in 2012 and produced by DJ White Shadow. Gaga sang it backstage for fans at The Born This Way Ball Tour in February of 2013, and mentioned that it was inspired by Michael Jackson, who is possibly the revered "sire" spoken about in the title. 'Tinnitus': Gaga revealed this title in an interview with KISS 92.5 in November of 2013. Produced by EDM producer Madeon, the songs title refers to a condition where one hears ringing in their airs, particularly after hearing loud noises on repeat. 'TEA': Written in 2012, this song was initially confirmed for ARTPOP but failed to make the cut. Gaga teased some lyrics on Twitter which went, "It's been oolong/Since I've had a sip and/I get this feeling I need a green detox/The truth will be the winner tonight." 'Temple': 'Temple' was announced in 2013 and was apparently about her love for then-boyfriend Taylor Kinney. "It's about feeling safe with someone so beautiful on the inside and out. The song is about him being able to love somebody who has a fast pace life, and is always on the road." The song was written solely by Gaga and Zedd, as legal documents that leaked in 2020 showed. 'In Like With You': Gaga revealed this title in an interview with KISS 92.5 in November of 2013. The song was proudced by frequent Gaga collaborator DJ White Shadow, who also worked on songs such as ARTPOP single 'Do What U Want'.
There are several other songs recorded during the ARTPOP section which most likely wouldn't make the cut. 'Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe' was another Kendrick Lamar collaboration which Gaga sang the chorus for. After their creative relationship ended, Kendrick released a solo version of the track on his album, while Gaga later leaked her contribution to the song online. 'Cake Like Lady Gaga' is a joking trap track which was produced by DJ White Shadow and released online for fans. 'I Wanna Be With You' was performed once at the iTunes Festival, and is an early version of the ARTPOP track 'Dope' with completely different lyrics. 'Posh Life' was a demo recorded for TLC and produced by Dallas Austin, written for a dancer named Posh! The Prince who played himself during the 2010 dates of Gaga's Monster Ball tour. 'Stache' is a remix of the Zedd instrumental of the same name which Gaga released for free for her fans online.
Will we ever hear ARTPOP: Act II?
Sadly, given that four years have passed since the release of the original ARTPOP, it's doubtful that we'll ever hear the album as it was initially intended. Thanks to ongoing leaks, we've had enough choice selections released to form a small EP of demos that might have made the cut; but most of the truly intriguing tracks like 'Onion Girl' and 'TEA' have gone unheard of for the most part.
Early last year, Gaga mentioned in an interview that she had heard her fans opinions and considered releasing a compilation album of unreleased and rare tracks, but we've heard nothing more about any such project since. All we can hope is that Gaga's team is smart and prepared enough to release anniversary editions of each of her albums, and that we'll receive a special edition of ARTPOP for it's tenth anniversary in 2023. Until then, we'll have to listen to that live 'Ratchet' snippet on repeat and be content with wondering what could have been.