music // top 5 male-female duets

There’s something magical about duets. Maybe it’s the sound of two voices intertwining. Maybe it’s the fact you can sing them with your friends, each taking on a role and embracing its persona.

Interestingly, duets are much more rare in alternative music than they are in mainstream, where it’s common practice to release “X featuring Y” tracks. So common, perhaps, it’s lost its magic.

Below you’ll find a selection of my all-time favorite duets. What makes them particularly, excellent, I believe, is the way they’ve accomplished to bring different voices together without sounding like a tune straight out of a musical (think Les Mis’ or Rent).

PS: These are male/female duets, but I could very well have included same-sex duets as well. I’m not being discriminatory to same-sex duets, nor am I advocating for the traditional hetero-duet, but rather saving the former for an upcoming post (so now you have that to look forward to as well!).

PPS: Songs are in no particular order!

Without further ado, let the duet-fest begin!

‘ 2 2 : T H E D E A T H O F A L L T H E R O M A N C E ’
The Dears - No Cities Left
Sung by Natalia Yanchak and Murray Lightburn

You know how I just said songs are in no particular order? Well, I may have lied. At least a little. ‘22’ should be the ultimate example of a well-crafted duet. Super vulnerable, with great interaction between the two voices. The lyrics kill me every time, especially Murray's line:

"I will avenge the death of all the romance."

‘ T H E N I G H T L A S T N I G H T ’
Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. - Record Collection
Sung by Rose Dougall and Alex Greenwald

That perfect duet to sing with your friend. Hortense and I, for instance, have taken on Dougall and Greenwald’s respective voices too many times to count. Yes, the format of this duet is rather simplistic: the male voice is assigned the verses, and the female one the chorus. What really does it, for me, is the way they come together seamlessly at the end. It’s melancholic, yet hopeful.

‘M O D E R N G I R L S + O L D F A S H I O N E D M E N ’
The Strokes ft. Regina Spektor. Single
Sung by Regina Spektor and Julian Casablancas

A rather hidden gem which came out in 2004, and was only performed once. Because Jules and Regina sing at the same time, fans have had some serious trouble discerning many of the lyrics, which means you'll find some very different ones on the internet (Though I hope "I am an animal, I am not practical" is accurate because it's so great.) The main riff is really fun to play on guitar, too, though that makes singing simultaneously a difficult task.

[I’m not going to mention Spektor and Casablancas were supposedly dating when they wrote and performed this song. Oh wait, I just did - too late. Anyway, fan communities on both sides we’re hysterical, and I clearly remember reading a Youtube comment that said something along the lines of “If Regina and Jules have a baby, it’s going to be the next Mozart”. I couldn’t have agreed more.]


‘ S E X K A R M A ’
of Montreal - False Priest
Sung by Kevin Barnes and Solange Knowles

I had a hard time choosing between this track ‘Enemy Gene’, another False Priest duet sung by Barnes and Janelle Monaé. However, what makes this one really stand out for me is the fact it’s nearly impossible to identify Barnes’ and Solange’s individual voices at certain points. Sexy, fun and absurd, as all of Montreal tracks ought to be.

‘ Y O U T H I N K Y O U ' R E A M A N ’
The Vaselines - Enter the Vaselines
Sung by Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee

Again, I had to choose from a few of the Vaselines' tracks here, since they often sing together. This one's simply a classic example of the male and female voices arguing through music. He think's he's a man, but he's only a boy, she tells him.

You Might Also Like