Original Pop Music: Is That a Thing?

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Remember the “4 Chord Song” by Axis of Awesome? It was a YouTube phenomenon back in 2009 when the band performed at a comedy show in Melbourne, Australia. The song basically shows the lack of diversity and progression in popular music throughout history (it’s a hilarious, and eye opening video if you haven’t seen it).

Recently news broke that country-turned-pop-music-singer/songwriter Taylor Swift is being sued for $42 million dollars for allegedly plagiarizing the lyrics from her hit single “Shake it Off.” An R&B singer named Jessie Braham is arguing that Taylor’s song rifts from a song of his that includes the lyrics “Haters gonna hate/Players gonna play.” Jessie’s song sounds nothing like “Shake it Off” but alas, the singer is insistent that Taylor stole his lyrics. Now, based on my knowledge, all Jessie originally wanted was a seflie with Taylor Swift, and writing credits on the song. When Taylor denied his request, he filed a lawsuit.

My first question is, why is this lawsuit arising now? “Shake it Off” has been out for over a year now, so why is Jessie Braham so inclined to sue Taylor Swift after the song has been out for so long? Why wouldn’t he have argued his case in 2014 when the song began to play on radio stations, and was at the top of the Billboard charts? It seems sketchy to me, and I’m sure I am not the only one who feels that way. To me it looks like Jessie is taking advantage of the success of “Shake it Off” and Taylor Swift, and saw it as an opportunity to make money. Taylor is one of the most wealthy and powerful artists in the industry, and was one of the most well paid artists of the year, OBVIOUSLY this Jessie dude knows that. The fact that he all he tried to do was get a selfie with her, shows that he is obviously a fan, and the fact that she said no pissed him off. Let’s be real for a second, it’s not like the saying “haters gonna hate, players gonna play” was created by Taylor Swift. People have been saying that since the 80s and 90s. So Jessie, stop trying to make fetch happen, it’s not gonna happen. You didn’t create those lyrics, and neither did Taylor Swift.

Demi Lovato is facing a similar problem. Demi recently came out with her new album Confident that includes a new song called “Stars.” Now, a pop band called Sleigh Bells is accusing Demi and her producers of sampling two of their songs without their permission. The band says that Lovato and her team sampled their songs “Infinity Guitars” and “Riot Rhythm.” Demi’s producers say that she had nothing to do with the production, and the production had nothing to do with sampling Sleigh Bells. Please do yourself a favour and go listen to “Stars” (it’s wonderful and catchy btw), and then go listen to “Infinity Guitars.” THEY SOUND THE EXACT SAME. I am not trying to diss Demi, because I am a fan of hers, and I think she is insanely talented, and I don’t want to believe she would think it’s okay to copy other artists, but SERIOUSLY? It’s almost comical how similar the two songs sound. I don’t think her producers are totally innocent in this situation, or maybe they are, I don’t know. But there is no denying the explicit similarities between the songs.

So back to the “4 Chord Song,” Is pop music ever really 100% original anymore? One Direction’s new song “Perfect” sounds like a boy band version of Taylor Swift’s “Style,” especially if you play them side by side (I have a theory that this was done on purpose because “Style” is about Harry, but that’s a whole other story). Almost every popular song uses the same chords, and songs are always going to be influenced and inspired by each other. Do you think Taylor and Demi are innocent? Where do you draw the line when it comes to music and creativity? Sorry to be a downer, but I think originality in popular music is almost impossible nowadays, just listen to Top 40 radio.

 

This article was originally published on claireeball.com on Novemeber 6, 2015. 

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