February 06, 2005

Music that sounds like other music

Does anyone else notice things like this? The way certain riffs or chord progressions sound very similar to each other…I'll give you some examples:

Mr. Brightside by The Killers sounds like Lyric by Zwan
Hindu Times by Oasis sounds like Same Size Feet by Stereophonics
Belong by Remy Zero sounds like She's a Star by James
Gone to the Movies by Semisonic sounds like High and Dry by Radiohead

Go on, listen to them. I think you'll find I'm not wrong.

This has all been leading up to a question I was hoping someone could help me with. Three tracks in particular have been bugging me for a while, because they sound like something else but I can't put my finger on what it is. They are:
Jenny Was a Friend of Mine by The Killers,
Come with me (the harmonica intro only) by Zwan and
The Bends by Radiohead (the intro sounds like something the Stereophonics did but I can't work out what)

Any suggestions?

[Edit: OMGOMG How is it that the intro to Don't Look back in Anger can sound just like Imagine and I never noticed before just now?]

[New Edit: Oasis again - Cigarettes and Alcohol sounds suspiciously like Bad Medicine by Bon Jovi]

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  1. Guitar Lessons:
    Week 1: Learn 1st Chord
    Week 2: Learn 2nd Chord
    Week 3: Get a Lawyer.

    Music is full of identical progressions. The only way you're going to hit real originality progression-wise is when people use a wider variety of progression types and keys (most pop can be played with just 3 or 4 chords, most metal uses about double that).

    06 Feb 2005, 20:20

  2. All true, but not an answer to my question ;-)

    06 Feb 2005, 20:29

  3. Well that would require having actually heard the songs :(

    06 Feb 2005, 20:30

  4. I don't know Belong, but Float On by Modest Mouse also sounds like She's A Star.

    06 Feb 2005, 20:58

  5. Killers – Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine – a little bit Mull Historical Society? Or just me?

    06 Feb 2005, 22:05

  6. Also the outro to Torn by Natalie Imbruliagawhatever is identical to the intro to James' She's a Star.

    Oh and the guitar solo at the end of Band Aid 20 is the theme tune to Noel's House Party.

    06 Feb 2005, 22:38

  7. The only one of those for which I've heard both of the pair is Hindu Times and Same Size Feet. The latter was my long-term favourite song when the former came out – couldn't believe it when I heard such a blatant rip-off for the first time! The Gallaghers did have the decency to admit they'd nicked it, to which Kelly Jones's reply was "fair enough, we've stolen a few things from them".

    For the intro of Just, I'm sure you can only be thinking of Vegas Two Times (first track of J.E.E.P.), although they're not that similar.

    06 Feb 2005, 23:11

  8. Not seeing the Just / Vegas Two Times connection I'm afraid (or rather hearing it). Anyway I was talking about the track The Bends

    06 Feb 2005, 23:26

  9. Clever Dick - hit me

    Song 2 by Blur sounds like one of the recurring themes in the 3rd movement of Hindemith's Sonata For Flute

    07 Feb 2005, 02:24

  10. Another non-answer to your request, being a germane thought – suggesting there are thousands of examples in pop/rock, classical, and all genres and cross-overs.

    Apart from technical limitations (qua Andrew above) there's a lot of conscious and sub-conscious imitation, deliberate referral etc. Also, the range of sounds, harmonies, rhythms etc that express and evoke particular emotions, states of mind, etc is very well established, and though there is room for much originality in using them, many songs will use them in ways that sound similar.

    What is perhaps as interesting is whether and how a band, songwriter, composer establishes a personal, unmistakeable sound. If you take three songs that you have never heard before sung by bands you are familiar with, will you be able to identify who is performing (same question with a piece by a familar composer).

    07 Feb 2005, 02:45

  11. Quite often, yes. The example of Santana springs to mind – I haven't heard that much of his stuff, but every time I hear something of his that I haven't come across before, I instantly know it is him.

    07 Feb 2005, 08:39

  12. No idea why I wrote Just last night. It was The Bends I was thinking of. And having re-listened to it, I was completely wrong anyway!

    07 Feb 2005, 10:40

  13. …and in reply to your edited addition, the Imagine/Dont Look Back... link isn't something I'd consciously noticed either! Reputedly the piano riff in Stereophonics' I Stopped To Fill My Car Up is the riff from Imagine backwards.

    07 Feb 2005, 10:44

  14. Hmm theres almost something there for The Bends / Vegas Two Times but not quite I think. I've also just remembered that every track on Enema of the State by Blink 182 sounds like every other track (there were times when I'd be humming one, then suddenly be humming another without knowing where I changed over), but that's probably just because they suck.

    07 Feb 2005, 11:52

  15. The verse of Athlete's 'El Savador' is virtually identical to that in Avril Lavigne's 'Complicated'. But rather more shite, naturally, as Athlete are prone to be.

    07 Feb 2005, 12:03

  16. Wait, thought of a couple more:

    The hook from Franz Ferdinand's 'Darts of Pleasure' is remarkably similar to the verse melody in The Cooper Temple Clause's 'Film Maker'. And on the same album, the bridge to 'Come On Home' rips off the corresponding hook Abba's in 'Take a Chance On Me'.

    Also, try playing the riff on Razorlight's 'To the Sea' next to 'Marquee Moon' by Television. Lawsuits beckon.

    07 Feb 2005, 12:06

  17. Something is worse than Avril Lavigne?? No, actually, lots of stuff is worse, we just try not to talk about it…

    Hmm, it seems that, having started this debate, I might have to listen to what people are suggesting in order to confirm what they are saying. (Not that I'm claiming to be the authority on this or anything..)

    07 Feb 2005, 13:00

  18. James Curtis

    Another example: Starman by David Bowie and Somewhere over the Rainbow (the famous one)

    07 Feb 2005, 23:26

  19. Intro to Craig David's- I think it's Rewind- and Monica's "First Night-"very similar- though no-one's ever heard the latter.
    The intro to "Stand By my" sounds just like another famous song, but I forget which (helpful, huh?)

    08 Feb 2005, 22:23

  20. mrak

    FANTASTIC! I've stumbled onto a blog belonging to someone who's convinced that the Killers have nabbed that riff from somewhere… Has anyone else noticed a similarity to Badly Drawn Boy's "The Shining" and Led Zepp's "Ramble On"?


    16 Mar 2005, 07:49

  21. Hmm good call :-)

    16 Mar 2005, 10:39

  22. Radiohead, 'The Bends' = Embrace, 'All You Good Good People" (intro.)

    05 Jun 2005, 00:41

  23. Hmmm it's similar but I don't think that was what I was thinking of.

    How the hell did you comment without a name? :-/

    05 Jun 2005, 01:30

  24. Edwyns

    With a space bar :)

    08 Jun 2005, 00:32

  25. Pookie

    Yeah, um…'day old blues' by the Kings of Leon sounds like 'High and Dry' as well, its has the same chords exactly, jus different pattern :D

    Pookie x

    25 Jun 2005, 16:37

  26. dean

    gun in hand by stutterfly sounds just like bury your head by saosin in the chorus

    19 Aug 2005, 19:02

  27. mog the forgetful cat

    Can I be the first one to be really sad and say that Waterfall by the Stone Roses sounds like Dont Stop(backwards) by the same band. Infact, Dont stop is the very next song on the album. A slight lack of originality mr Brown??

    I love you all


    23 Sep 2005, 01:43

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