Listen: "...Back Home" by Gym Class Heroes feat. Neon Hitch

What happens when two very well-defined artists collaborate on a song? It depends on the artists. If they get along or the track plays to their strengths/lets them record separately and never see each other again, it can be great. If they get in each other's way and fight over direction, it tends to be a mess. Collaboration is big right now. DJ David Guetta has been racking up Top 40 hits in the past year with his songs featuring vocals by well-known artists like Usher or Nicki Minaj. Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera have their biggest hits in years by collaborating on "Moves Like Jagger." And it is a rarity that a hip-hop track gets released as a single anymore without a guest verse or guest singer on the hook.

British singer/songwriter Neon Hitch--who seems poised for a big push in America any day now--sings the hook on Gym Class Heroes' newest single "...Back Home." Neon Hitch is best known in America for her covers (even if some of her songs charted for other artists)

while Gym Class Heroes have had their biggest successes on collaborative singles. They were even signed to collaborator Patrick Stump's (formerly of Fall Out Boy) record label Fueled by Ramen. He sang the hook on a few of their singles, including their first hit "Cupid's Chokehold."

The two acts blend very well together on their single "...Back Home." The song is a long distance relationship love song, which in itself makes it a bit of a novelty.

When you call and I don't even know what city I'm at or what day of the week in the middle of the month. In a year I don't recall, it's like my life's on repeat and the last time we spoke I told you I wouldn't be long. That was last November now December's almost gone. I'd apologize but I don't realize what I'm doing wrong.

It's refreshing to hear a song that seems to get at the honesty of a relationship. This is not some overly romanticized relationship from the perspective of rapper Travie McCoy. He likes the girl but he doesn't know how to go further in the relationship. The complaints confuse him and he's genuinely lost for words when asked about his traveling schedule. It's a sweet and honest moment.

Less novel but effective in context is the chorus sung by Neon Hitch. This woman misses her boyfriend but at this point she just wants him back. The key is under the mat and she'll gladly take him back. There's a sense of understanding at some level that Travie won't be there all the time, but she still wants him back home. There's a great play between the two sides that amount to the same goal but get there in different ways.

The song is obviously resonating with listeners. It is the biggest gainer this week on the Billboard Hot 100, jumping from number 57 to number 33 with a big push of airplay. The hook is catchy and the sentiment is refreshing. The one thing that drives me insane is that radio stations, at least in the NYC+ area, have been cutting off the final spoken "I'm home, baby" that ends the song. Way to leave the audience in suspense.

Thoughts? Love to hear them.

The Link Rally: 20 January 2012

Play It: Musaic Box