August 11, 2006

Stop Me If You've Heard This Already

I'm fascinated by the subliminal way songs seem to sound directly like each other. Someone commented on the Elastica post that the song Connection is said to rip the riff from Three Chord Rhumba by Wire (who have also just been covered). I don't know how deliberate it was, but I've got a couple of occurances here that are so unlikely to not be anything but pure coincidence.

Spoon – The Streets

Spoon - Streets

I was completely flummoxed by this pairing at first, because the Spoon song appeared way back in 1998 album A Series of Sneaks. Yet I only got the album around when the second Streets album A Grand Don't Come For Free was about to be released.

Mike Skinner details a laddish holiday out on the pull, while the Spoon boys take a shorter slower stomper through the riff. I love 'em both, so take your pick here:

Spoon – Utilitarian MP3 Expired [buy A Series of Sneaks]
The Streets – Fit But You Know It MP3 Expired [buy A Grand Don't Come For Free]

The Avalanches – Jens Lekman

The Avalanches - Jens Lekman

This second pairing seem a little further apart but they are closer and more obvious than you might think. Jens Lekman has obviously inadvertantly sampled the same record as those Avalanches, and despite the differing genres these artists represent, they are both relaxed bittersweet tales of love. I prefer Jens Lekman's cut, just for the beautiful lyric of a simple misunderstood conversation and the brilliant double drum loops, beating the Australians at their own sampling game.

"She said our love was make believe,
But I thought she said maple leaves,
And when she talked about a fall,
I thought she talked about Mark E. Smith,
I never understood at all"

Here's the pair for your pleasure:
Jens Lekman – Maple Leaves MP3 Expired [buy When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog]
The Avalanches – Since I Left You MP3 Expired [buy Since I Left You]


- 18 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. I lov when these coincidences appear. As for sampling the same source, what about the I, Monster/Beta Band versions of ‘Daydream’? Both ace, of course.

    Mind you I heard a rap track over that the other day. Not impressed.

    11 Aug 2006, 11:02

  2. The main melody of some Coldplay song sounds ridiculously like Kraftwerk’s “Computer Love”. It really annoys me because the Kraftwerk song is really good.

    11 Aug 2006, 13:08

  3. Consuelez

    Vincent, some bothered to do a mashup of the two…you can really see how similar the melody is…

    http://www.partyben123.com/PartyBen-ComputerTalk.mp3

    11 Aug 2006, 22:38

  4. Gah I knew about that Beta Band one (Squares ain’t it?), but I don’t have the I, Monster track (cos I’m not too keen on it).

    12 Aug 2006, 02:00

  5. With the Coldplay/Kraftwerk one it’s worth pointing out that Chris Martin said the riff is the same and I think Kraftwerk get a songwriting credit for it.

    12 Aug 2006, 19:39

  6. ok, good. I do hate to see rape go unpunished.

    13 Aug 2006, 03:31

  7. That’s the way to do it. If you rip someone off, own up straightaway. Mostly you’ll have ripped off someone who needs money to fund their rock and roll lifestyle and will be delighted so long as they get a cut.

    13 Aug 2006, 10:26

  8. I’m also amused when artists rip off their own songs. The chorus on the new Cerys Matthews song sounds almost exactly the same as one of the songs on Equally Cursed and Blessed. Another classic example is REM’s Strange Currencies off Monster which is Everbody Hurts, but with distortion. I don’t know whether people do it inadvertently or deliberately, but quite often it seems to work. I suppose if the song was good first time round what’s the harm in a reinvention?

    13 Aug 2006, 10:32

  9. Which Equally Cursed And Blessed song? Even as an avid Catatonia fan I have to say there are really only about five good songs on Equally… which was most disappointing to the young Holly when she bought it. Hell, it made her talk in third person.

    As for ripping off your own songs, ladies and gentlemen, I present… Kasabian’s entire existence!

    13 Aug 2006, 12:17

  10. yes.

    13 Aug 2006, 22:01

  11. The Cerys song wasn’t supposed to be an example of good self ripping off. Indeed I think it was one of the rubbish songs on Equally otherwise I would have remembered it. I was hugely let down by that album after I’d spent ages saving up for it back in 1999 or whenever it was. Dead From The Waist Down was ace and Valerian and Nothing Hurts were alright. Can’t say I liked much else, although the guitar solo in Londinium was amazing.

    13 Aug 2006, 22:40

  12. Just thought of another good one: Muse – Invincible = Keane – Everybody’s Changing.

    13 Aug 2006, 22:42

  13. every backstreet boys song = every other backstreet boys song.

    13 Aug 2006, 22:49

  14. I think the piano line in Starlight is more like Keane, And Everybody’s Changing sounds more like a rpoff of No Surprises if you listen to it.

    13 Aug 2006, 22:51

  15. Carter

    The verse of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’ was totally ripped off by Athlete on the egregious ‘El Salvador’, of course…

    ‘I’ll Do Anything’ off Courtney Love’s solo album has the exact same riff as ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Someone ought to sue – oh wait, she owns the rights.

    Holly is correct, Coldplay wrote ‘Talk’ around the riff from the Kraftwerk track and cleared it as a sample. R.E.M. did a similar thing with ‘Hope’ on the ‘Up’ album – although the resemblance between their song and Leonard Cohen’s ‘Suzanne’ was unintentional, they later gave him a co-writer credit to clear up any misunderstanding.

    Also, R.E.M. almost cut ‘Strange Currencies’ from ‘Monster’ as they thought it too similar to ‘Everybody Hurts’. For my money it’s actually a far superior song…

    14 Aug 2006, 13:29

  16. Carter

    - Also, check out the resemblance between The Vandals’ “Too Much Drama” and “Walla Walla” by The Offspring. The appearance of a co-writing credit for one ‘Bryan Holland’ on the Vandals track may explain the, er, ‘similarity’ between the two… mind you, The Offspring have literally been recycling riffs and hooks from their own songs for years and no-one’s seemed to mind.

    Green Day – “Waiting” and Petula Clark’s “Downtown” is another good one of course… Also, check out the resemblance between Blondie’s “Atomic” and the song “No Hero” by upcoming indie popsters Switches (www.myspace.com/weareswitches). Rather cheekily, they’ve literally cribbed the same chord sequence and simply changed the riff around a bit…

    14 Aug 2006, 19:16

  17. Carter

    - Oh yes, and Marilyn Manson blatantly nicked most of the ideas in “The Fight Song” from Blur’s “Song 2”. Okay, I’m done for now!

    14 Aug 2006, 19:18

  18. A tad unfortunate, but signs point to the Decemberists turning into Belle and Sebastian. One of their new songs on upcoming The Crane’s Wife album, called The Perfect Crime, reminds me everytime of the inbetween–B&S–album–EP opener, Your Cover’s Blown. It’s all in the groove. Both song titles are rather apt, I think.

    15 Aug 2006, 07:40


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