Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Compare and Contrast: songs that sound like other songs

It can’t be any coincidence that all young songwriters, when first learning how to play guitar and put together songs, come up with some insane melody or chord progression that blows your socks off. But after listening to one full bar it all sounds eerily familiar, as in it might possibly be the refrain from that one song by that one band that you wish you could remember because it sounds a lot like it. Sound familiar songwriters?

Well, this little experience seems to be shared by a lot more than your friends and their attempts at song writing. It seems to happen quite a lot in modern music and more often than not somebody is able to notice it. Sometimes a really good song is reminiscent of another good song and other times these similarities can come off as ridiculously abusive. Here are some great songs that sound like other great songs as well as a few that are guilty of blatant plagiarism. We could call this post “rip off artists" or "copy cats" or something else like that but the Content will just leave the verdict up to you guys. Enjoy comparing and contrasting, we await your swift judgments in the comments section.

- The Good -

[mp3] The Little OnesLovers Who Uncover
[mp3] The Spinto BandOh, Mandy
Both of these songs have been played to endless numbers on my iPod and even though there are hints at the other, I still love both of them.

[mp3] The RonettesBe My Baby
[mp3] The PipettesSex
That drum beat and a manufactured girl pop band, how can it get any closer than that?

[mp3] Neutral Milk HotelOh, Comely
[mp3] The DecemberistsLeslie Anne Levine
My favorite NMH song paired with the first song I ever heard by the Decemberists. No wonder I agreed with those kids making the NMH/Decemberist comparisons.

[mp3] Jens LekmanA Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill
[mp3] The RonettesDo I Love You
Those little poppy intros on both of these songs are wonderful. I am not saying that this is a rip off but I sure did take a double (and maybe quadruple) listen to both of these lovelies.

- The Bad -

[mp3] Radiohead - Lucky
[mp3] The Din PedalsAliens
Just wait for that bridge in “Aliens,” its down right wrong that somebody thinks they can get away with ripping off the breakdown from the anthem of our generation. No wonder the Din Pedals got brushed under the rug long before anyone had even heard of them.

- The Ugly -

[mp3] Cat StevensFather and Son
[mp3] The Flaming LipsFight Test
Now I know that this is old news and that the Lips have begged for forgiveness in a way that only legitimate artists could (with royalties) but it is still crazy listening to this even if its not your first time.


Anonymous Jeff said...

I remember hearing that Din pedals song and almost cringing at the bridge. But then the same guys go ahead and start another band that not only still sounds like Radiohead, but uses the name of one of their songs. They did have a few good songs though.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah they did have a few good songs. Too bad he didn't hide it a little more. I heard an interview with him that said he started doing his thing before Radiohead even got together but I don't know, it's all a little too fishy for me.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about RHCP's Dani California and that Tom Petty song.


9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oooh, that's a good one. I should have put that one up. There is always next time, I can't believe I forgot about that one given how much I have heard it in the last 6 months or so.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Jude said...

Ah,'s no surprise to this veteran observer to see Jens Lekman's name associated with 'rip-off'. Let's call a spade a spade shall we? That guy's act is/was/will always be a blantant Scott Walker knock-off. Compounded by the fact that he doesn't even try to disguise it. You're right. I thank you for your post.

7:37 AM  
Blogger indie mom said...

OMG! If you want to know something extremely sad...I bought and still own the Din Pedals CD. It's around here somewhere, probably next to every single Radiohead CD ever released.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous C96 said...

Pipettes are OK, but too ironic to do the Ronettes/Spector thing properly. Lucky Soul on the other hand..

9:10 AM  
Blogger shane said...

I was gonna do a post like this, based on the chord changes for each song, but I never got around to it. But thanks for reminding me so nicely.
And also, I've decided that Lucky Soul are much better than the Pipettes. I don't really know why. The album wasn't as good as I was hoping.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is actually a great idea for a post. A lot of those old pop chord progressions have a really distinct sound and are a great way to fashion a melody.
It looks like you have also given me an idea for a totally different post. Thanks Shane.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

great post.

1:50 AM  
Anonymous U2 d00d said...

The Din Pedals song "Ashtray" sounds very much like a U2 song.

11:00 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's been a long time since you posted this, but I found this post searching around for something to prove that I wasn't crazy in thinking that Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon and All Summer Long by Kid Rock were oddly similar.

1:28 PM  
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3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think of the similarity between Neil Diamond's Dry Your Eyes
and Springsteen's cover of Chimes of Freedom? Doesn't sound like a rip-off, but I do believe Springsteen was influenced by it.

11:58 PM  

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