The history of recorded sound is just short of 150 years old. One would think that nearly every combination of musical note, chord and key would have been written, recorded and copywritten by now. There are still countless numbers of songs being recorded and released. We’re not mathematicians, but there’s no escaping the fact that notes and chords will be reused in the same combinations forever. Welcome to the APTV rundown of songs that sound similar.
Imitation and inspiration are truly gestures and forms of flattery. We didn’t call up every artist on this list and ask, “Dude, did you really mean to lift that song?” There’s no reason to think that an artist may have heard every massive hit on every specialized Billboard chart. Inevitably, there are going to be songs that borrow from other songs.
Our rundown of songs that borrow from other songs are truly as plain as day. There’s that English troubadour who appropriated a chorus of a massively popular rap/R&B tune. We could jack our word count on the grunge agents whose landmark LP borrowed from various punk sources. (We just limited it to one instance to maintain variety.) Is a boyband exuding cred when they lift a riff from a long-running pop-punk band? Or are they just a pain in the ass? When a group from New York City is deemed the new hotness, do the flames extinguish when they lift from a classic-rock dude? Or does that senior citizen get more cool points for not calling his attorneys?
How many of these songs that sound similar gave you a WTF moment when you first heard them? Better yet, how many “homages” do you know that should’ve made the list? We know a couple more, but we’re not snitches…