When it comes to music, many might say there's nothing better than the original song, and, often times, that statement rings true. Originality is valued more than ever with music fans, and when an artist releases a big hit, there's a lot of pressure to follow-up with something even more spectacular. Every now and then, artists do just that, and strike gold with a remix that's better than the original. It's no easy feat, but these 20 artists seem to have figured out the formula for remixes that stand out from the rest.
In 2020 especially, there's been countless remixes that hit streaming services and gained equal popularity (if not more!) than the original. Taylor Swift proved to be the remix queen after releasing her December album Evermore, dropping a total of five remix versions of lead track "Willow." Similarly, BTS surprised fans with an epic new remix of "Dynamite" to celebrate the holiday season. When TikTok songs took over mainstream media in 2020, the most popular artists capitalized on the momentum by releasing follow-ups to their most popular tracks.
Not every song calls for a re-make, but these 20 artists adding new faces and fresh takes to their biggest hits are doing it right.
1. Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage" ft. Beyonce
It seemed like everyone and their mothers (literally) learned the "Savage" TikTok dance during quarantine, and when Beyonce appeared on the song's official remix, the dance craze grew even more.
2. JAWSH 685's "Savage Love" ft. Jason Derulo & BTS
JAWSH 685 and Derulo's "Savage Love" was another fan-favorite TikTok track in 2020. Then, at the height of its popularity, it received a fresh new remix featuring BTS. Between Derulo's dedicated TikTok followers and the BTS Army, the song took off at lightning speed, and finally snagged the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
3. Maroon 5's "Girls Like You" ft. Cardi B
Maroon 5's 2017 hit "Girls Like You" received a makeover when Cardi B joined them on the official remix. She even appeared in the music video among a plethora of other famous faces.
4. Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" ft. Justin Bieber.
The original "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee was a masterpiece. While I wouldn't say Justin Bieber's verse made it better (it racked up over 7 billion views on YouTube without Bieber's help, after all), it did put the track on the radars of listeners who weren't familiar with it and shot the already highly-successful track into the stratosphere.
5. Billie Eilish's Bad Guy ft. Justin Bieber
Eilish's childhood dreams came true in July 2019 when Bieber appeared on the remix for her No. 1 Billboard chart-topping hit "Bad Guy." The singer even hilariously made the single's cover art a throwback photo of her standing in her bedroom full of JB posters.
6. Taylor Swift's "Willow Moonlight Witch Version"
After releasing Evermore in December 2020, Swift's lead single "Willow" got the remix treatment five times over. In fact, she created an entire EP of "Willow" remixes. You can listen to the most-popular version below.
7. Dua Lipa's "Levitating" ft. Madonna
Lipa's "Levitating" left little room for improvement, but with Madonna on the remix, it instantly became as iconic as the Queen of Pop herself.
8. Miley Cyrus' "Midnight Sky" ft. Stevie Nicks
Miley Cyrus' November 2020 album Plastic Hearts featured some of the biggest rock n' roll icons in history, including Joan Jett and Billy Idol. It was a big month for Cyrus, who surprised fans with a remix of "Midnight Sky," retitled "Edge of Midnight," featuring Stevie Nicks just weeks before the album arrived.
9. "Till The World Ends" ft. Nicki Minaj & Kesha
In my book, Britney Spears' bops are timeless classics that shouldn't be touched. But when she enlisted Kesha and Minaj for the remix of "Till The World Ends" in April 2011, the ladies served up pure music magic.
10. Lorde's "Homemade Dynamite" ft. Post Malone, SZA, & Khalid
Talk about a power team: Post Malone, Khalid, and SZA took turns serving verses on the official romance for Lorde's "Homemade Dynamite" off her Melodrama album.
11. Lady Gaga's "Marry The Night" ft. The Weeknd
Lady Gaga was the ultimate warrior queen in her song and video for "Marry The Night," and with The Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye, on the remix, the two were a force to be reckoned with.
12. Iann Dior's "Mood" ft. J. Balvin & Justin Bieber
Iann Dior's "Mood" was unignorable when it was released in July 2020, and by September, it was the most-streamed song in the world on Spotify. The song's popularity was only amplified when Bieber and J. Balvin appeared on the fiery remix.
13. Whitney Houston's "Higher Love" by Kygo
OK, it's tough to say Kygo's remix of Houston's hit song was better than the original, but it definitely held it's own against the many covers the soulful classic song has seen since its original 1990 release.
14. Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" remix with Cyrus grabbed up major attention after the star-studded music video included Chris Rock, Rico Nasty, Diplo, Vince Staples, and more.
15. Lil Nas X's "Seoul Town Road" ft. RM
When Lil Nas X updated his song "Old Town Road" with the help of BTS' RM, he gave it a cheeky new title with a little South Korean Seoul (*wink wink*).
16. Ariana Grande's "7 Rings" ft. 2 Chainz
Grande's bubblegum pop single "7 Rings" saw a second life when 2 Chainz hopped on the official remix for a hard-hitting verse in February 2019.
17. Haim's "My Song 5" ft. A$AP Ferg
The Haim ladies usually stick to their pop rock roots, but they welcomed A$AP Ferg for a special remix of "My Song 5" in July 2014 and he really shook things up.
18. Bruno Mars' "Finesse" ft. Cardi B
Bruno Mars is the modern king of R&B, so it only made sense he invited hip hop royalty to appear on his "Finesse" remix. Cardi B dropped bars on his '80s-inspired song and took fans back in time.
19. Blueface's "Thotiana" ft. Cardi B & YG
Name a better trio, I'll wait. Between Cardi's unparalleled rhymes and YG's smooth flow, the "Thotiana" remix received the same recognition as Blueface's original.
20. The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" ft. Rosalia
Rosalia sings in Spanish on The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" remix which was released in honor of the song's one-year anniversary. Things got even more sultry in the accompanying music video.