One of These Things Sounds a Bit Like the Other…

Sometimes, as I’m listening to music, be it in the cars at work, on my iPod, Edge co-listening or even while driving around, I’ll hear a bit of a coincidental sound. A song that reminds me heavily of another. A voice that sounds just like someone else. An influence that is so easily heard in a new artist.  These little coincidences always make me smile. And they never fail to make me think and research and dig a little deeper.

Does anyone else do this?  Does anyone else wonder if the music is properly, and legally, sampled, or if the fact that two songs have the same instrumental back beat is merely a cosmic coincidence (and is there such a thing in music?)

Sometimes people indulge my little tirades about similarities in music.  Sometimes they actually go check them out and have no idea what I’m talking about. Sometimes they smile and nod. And, yes, even sometimes they invariably shout “I know, right?!” (ha… love that line.. it always makes me giggle) and agree with me outright (which always makes me feel smart, despite the fact I’m quite okay to high-five myself).

Influence is such an objective thing.  From the very small, seemingly innocuous things influence us all on a daily basis. At times, there are larger influences the compel us to be something we aren’t. Would we have had these ideas eventually without the influence, do we rely on the influence or do we just accept it, be grateful for it and try not to judge ourselves too harshly?  When it comes to music should we expect a level of creativity and exclusivity when influence can be shared (and often is)?  And is anyone really going to admit they thieved an idea or a set of notes? It became a heated topic one day when I tried to gauge my own tolerances for music that sounds, for the most part, like other music.  Does it really matter if I enjoy it regardless?

And you know what I came up with?  I think too much. If influence causes you to create something terrific, who gives a fuck where it came from, what you listened to to get it or who provided it? If it’s good, it’s good. Period.  When we note the similarities, it is only for entertainment value.. something quirky and interesting to note with others who note the small coincidences in life. No need to think too hard on these things…

I thought I would share a few that I’ve come across lately, a few that were discussed when I brought up the idea for the blog and a few that were shared with me.  Let’s see if you hear what I hear.

1. Dragonette’s Hello/Grouplove’s Tongue Tied

It’s not a huge coincidence. Just a small piece of instrumental in both songs that is similar (different octaves and tempos.. but it’s essentially the same).

Listen to Dragonette’s Hello 31 seconds in.

Now listen to Grouplove’s Tongue Tied right from the start.

2. The Doors/The Kinks

A classic that I’d completely forgotten about until a Super smart person reminded me. An excellent example.

In ’64 The Kinks had a song called “All of the day and all of the night”. In ’68 The Doors had “Hello, I love you.” Much like how you notice that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the ABC’s are the same song, just different lyrics, this one is child’s play and easy to recognize.  Once someone points it out, it’s even easier.

The Doors:

The Kinks:

Although this is the “official” claim:

In the liner notes to The Doors Box set, Robby Krieger has denied the allegations that the song’s musical structure was stolen from Ray Davies, where a riff similar to it is featured in the Kinks “All Day and All of the Night”. Instead, he said the song’s vibe was taken from Cream’s song “Sunshine of Your Love” (Thank you 

3. Of Monsters and Men/Kate Nash

When I first heard the song, Little Talks, from Of Monsters and Men (an Icelandic import that I’m thoroughly enjoying), I honestly wondered when Kate Nash started a band. Of course, it is not Kate Nash, but rather Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir.  Even Ragnar þórhallsson sounds a bit Mumford-esque. Not a surprise I was taken to them immediately.

Kate Nash:

Of Monsters and Men:

4. The Verve/The Rolling Stones

A controversy wrapped up in a one hit wonder. There are stories upon stories of how the Verve did not make a dime from their hit Bittersweet Symphony, all because of a sampling of a Rolling Stones obscure 60s release.

This is a story I had no idea about.  And I listened to this song.  For ages.  I still do. Much gratitude to the one who shared this – as always, finding interesting information to inspire (and illiterate on). I owe you.

The story:

Take a listen, see if you can hear it (because I still can’t):

The Verve:

The Stones:

Side note – do you think Coldplay could be charged with stealing video ideology? They seem to borrow heavily from the Verve’s penchant for the “walking video”.. you know.. where the lead just walks. And walks.  Hmm. Perhaps watch for an upcoming blog on “Walk” videos. Who did them well?

5. Gotye/Sting/Peter Gabriel

It has been the topic of many a heated debate.  Does Gotye sound more like Sting? More like Peter Gabriel? Either? Neither? When I first started hearing Gotye last fall (well before the inundation of Gotye on Adult Contemporary radio), my very first thought was Sting’s voice with Gabriel’s music.  I still maintain that he sounds Sting-esque.  A lot.

In fact, I’m going with this Mashup to prove my point:

Alexx Foxx & DJ Embassy Mashup:

There are others I’m sure – how Joy Formidable sounds a bit like Pretty Girls Make Graves.  Jenny Owen Youngs new album has a distinct sound that I can’t pinpoint yet. Fun-dot (who I abhor) mashes up a bunch of styles (unsuccessfully, mind you).  Oh, and M83 and the sax solo is a direct rip-off of that sax player in the Lost Boys (I’ve noted who that is somewhere.. I just don’t have the time to jot them all down).  I think that makes this an ongoing series.  Hit us up with your own little coincidences.  The little ones are always my favourite.




About Betty Beat

Musical afficionado extraordinaire. View all posts by Betty Beat

3 responses to “One of These Things Sounds a Bit Like the Other…

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