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10 Best Country Collaborations of 2020

From Shania Twain and Orville Peck to Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey, the must-hear pairings of the past year

Photographs used in illustration by Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Emma McIntyre/Getty Images; Christopher Polk/Getty Images; Jason Kempin/Getty Images; Trae Patton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Americana royalty, of-the-moment pop stars, and a songwriting legend all joined up with Nashville artists this year to create some captivating collaborations. But they weren’t all crossover unions, as country singers paired up with one another too. Together, they sang about trucks, cheating exes, and even political discourse. From the all-star trio of Charley Pride, Darius Rucker, and Jimmie Allen, to the glamorous and glorious meeting of Shania Twain and Orville Peck, these are the best musical partnerships of 2020.

From Rolling Stone US

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Keith Urban With Pink, ‘One Too Many’

Pink’s no stranger to singing with country stars (see her collabs with Chris Stapleton and Kenny Chesney), but this funky, mid-tempo ballad with Keith Urban puts the pop star front and center. Her solo verse is all tortured soul, as she both recalls past fights and predicts new ones with her lover. The quarrels may be loud and angry, but in the end, they’re always worth it.

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Orville Peck With Shania Twain, ‘Legends Never Die’

It’s a collaboration made in gay country heaven: masked troubadour Orville Peck and Canadian superstar Shania Twain are bizarrely great singing companions in “Legends Never Die,” from Peck’s 2020 Show Pony EP. Eschewing Peck’s typical gothic, reverb-drenched production, “Legends Never Die” comes across more like a big, campy take on one of those Tim McGraw and Faith Hill ballads from the Nineties. With its message of individualism and resilience — “Don’t worry ‘bout making sure they won’t forget,” they sing — it’s also fantastic theme music for two modern iconoclasts.

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Caylee Hammack, feat. Ashley McBryde & Tenille Townes, ‘Mean Something’

Caylee Hammack recruited Ashley McBryde and Tenille Townes for a rousing anthem of growth and change in “Mean Something,” an album cut from Hammack’s excellent debut If It Wasn’t for You. With a production that slowly builds to a cathartic finish, the three women look at the costs of chasing a dream along with the universal desire to do something that matters. “The world’s begging for change/And we get carried away helping ourselves,” they sing in harmony, a potent reminder to keep our eyes open to the world around us and not just on our own problems.

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Kelsea Ballerini With Halsey, ‘The Other Girl’

Kelsea Ballerini took a major step into pop-star territory with this mesmerizing collab with Halsey. They performed it on CMT a few times, but it’s the original version, off the country singer’s Kelsea album, that ironically displayed the most chemistry between the two vocalists. Projecting all of the things the “other girl” probably does — from drinking her martinis dry to being promiscuous — it’s ethereal, haunting, and moody.

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Gabby Barrett, feat. Charlie Puth, ‘I Hope’

On paper, rising country star Gabby Barrett’s breakout hit doesn’t really lend itself to a duet: it’s a woman’s diatribe about her cheating ex, after all. But the pop singer Charlie Puth ably offers the guy’s point of view in this remix, essentially saying, hey, forgive and try to forget. No hard feelings?