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All Posts Tagged Pop-Rock

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City of Stars (La La Land Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) | Sounds Like | Moves like Jagger (Maroon 5)

City of Stars by La La Land Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Moves like Jagger by Maroon 5

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Elements of the song City of Stars (released August 31, 2016 and performed by Ryan Gosling in the film La La Land), are reminiscent of Maroon 5's Moves like Jagger (released June 21, 2011), Chris Isaak's Wicked Game (featured in the film Wild at Heart; released November 8, 1990), and Peter and Gordon's A World Without Love (penned by Sir Paul McCartney and released February 28, 1964). While City of Stars is in the key of A/F#min and Moves like Jagger is in D/Bmin, the first line of both verse melodies ("City of stars [...]" vs "[...] shoot for the stars [...]") are played over a B minor chord and feature the same sequence of diatonic notes with three short notes (B-C#-D, or 2-3-4) followed by a fourth sustained one (F#, or 6) on an identical word, and a whistled intro variation over B minor. Likewise, Chris Isaak's Wicked Game, which is in the same exact key as City of Stars, features these three short notes (B-C#-D) followed by a fourth sustained one (F# in the second verse, E in the first), over a B minor chord ("Strange word desire [...]"). Isaak's brooding baritone vocal also has a similar timbre/quality to Gosling's. Lastly, Peter & Gordon's A World Without Love (while in the key of E major), shares the same relative melody (2-3-4-6) as City of Stars, with three short notes followed by a fourth sustained one ("[...] care what they say").

City of Stars (:00) VS Moves like Jagger (1:12)

City of Stars
Key: A major/F# minor
Verse Chord Changes:
Bmin, E, F#min, F#min (ii, V7, vi, vi)
Bmin, E, Amaj7, Amaj7 (ii, V7, IM7, IM7)
Verse Vocal Melody:
B-C#-D-F# (2, 3, 4, 6)
G#-A-F#-G#-E-F#-C# (b7, 1, 6, b7, 5, 6, 3)


Moves like Jagger
Key: D major/B minor
Verse Chord Changes:
Bmin, Bmin, Bmin, Bmin (vi, vi, vi, vi)
Emin, Emin, Emin, Emin (ii, ii, ii, ii)
Verse Vocal Melody:
B-B-C#-D-F# (6, 6, b7, 1, 3)
F#-F#-F#-E-E (3, 3, 3, 2, 2)


Wicked Game
Key: A major/F# minor
Verse Chord Changes:
Bmin, A, E, E (ii, I, V, V)
Second Verse Vocal Melody:
B-C#-D-F# (2, 3, 4, 6)
E-D-C#-C#-B-A-G# (5, 4, 3, 3, 2, 1, b7)


City of Stars (:09) VS Wicked Game (Chris Isaak) (:26)


A World Without Love
Key: E major
Chorus Chord Progression:
F#min, B7, E (ii, V7, I)
Chorus Vocal Melody:
A-G# (4, 3)
F#-G#-A-C# (2, 3, 4, 6)
E-C#-D#-B-B-A-G#-F#-E (1, 6, b7, 5, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1)


City of Stars (:09) VS A World Without Love (Peter & Gordon) (:17)


Honorable mention:
City of Stars (:09) VS Stranger in Paradise (Kismet) (:59) (Stranger in Paradise's melody was openly taken from Alexander Borodin's "Gliding Dance of the Maidens"!)



Confident (Demi Lovato) | Sounds Like | Uprising (Muse)

Confident by Demi Lovato Uprising by Muse

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Additional notes/observations: 

Demi Lovato's Confident (released September 18, 2015) seems to borrow it's groove/style from Muse's Uprising (released August 4, 2009). Both songs owe a debt of gratitude to Gary Glitter's Rock And Roll (Parts 1 & 2) (released 1972), and Blondie's Call Me (released February 1, 1980). Uprising also borrows it's synth/theremin melody from the original theme to the hit BBC television show Doctor Who, and has been compared with Black Sabbath's Children of the Grave (released July 21, 1971).

Complicated (:09) VS Uprising (:02)



The Long Run (Eagles) | Sounds Like | Trying to Live My Life Without You (Otis Clay)

The Long Run by Eagles Trying to Live My Life Without You by Otis Clay

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The Eagles have maintained that their hit The Long Run (released November 27, 1979, and the title track of their 1979 album) is a tribute to the Stax/Memphis R&B sound. However, one listen to Otis Clay's track Trying to Live My Life Without You (released 1972) and one tends to agree with rock critic Dave Marsh's assessment from his book, The Heart of Rock & Soul:

Having done my share of railing against the idea that white rock and roll is just a rip-off of rhythm and blues, it would be foolish not to acknowledge one of the most outrageous examples in which it was. In 1979, the Eagles took "Trying to Live My Life Without You" Top Ten as a song they "wrote," "The Long Run," the title song of their final multiplatinum LP.

Similarities include: chord progression (while in different keys--TLR in C and TtLMLWY in Eb--both songs follow a I-IV-I-IV-vi-V-I pattern), bass line, drum pattern (Henley even copies the Motown snare on all fours over the pre-chorus), lyrics (TLR: "I used to hurry a lot, I used to worry a lot"; TtLMLWY: "I used to smoke five packs of cigarettes a day"), pre-chorus vocal melody, and production/arrangment (Walsh's deft slide guitar substituted for the Memphis horns, same fat snare sound).

The Long Run (:00) VS Trying To Live My Life Without You (:00)



Fight Song (Rachel Platten) | Sounds Like | Molly Malone (The Dubliners)

Fight Song by Rachel Platten Molly Malone by The Dubliners

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The chorus vocal melody to American singer-songwriter Rachel Platten's Fight Song (released February 19, 2015) is similar to the traditional Irish folk ballad Molly Malone, which dates back to the 1700s, and was popularized in 1977 by the Dubliners (U2, Peter Seeger, and Bing Crosby, among others, have also recorded the song). Both songs are in the key of G major, and emphasize the root note of the diatonic scale (G) in the first bar, and the second note of the diatonic scale in the second bar. Fight Song's production/arrangement (marching drums, bass drone, chant vocal reverb) owes a debt to Katy Perry's Roar (1:08).

Fight Song (:38) VS Molly Malone (1:53)

Fight Song
Key: G major
Chord Progression (chorus):
G, D, E minor, C (I-V-vi-IV)
Chorus Vocal Melody:
3-2-1-1-1 ("This is my fight song")
3-2-1-2-2 ("Take back my life song")
4-3-2-3-3-4 ("Prove I'm alright so-ong")

Molly Malone
Key: G major
Chord Progression (chorus):
G, E minor, Aminor, D (I, vi, ii, V)
Chorus Vocal Melody:
5-1-1-1-1-3 ("A-live a-live O!")
1-2-2-2-2-4 ("A-live a-live O!")



FourFiveSeconds (Rihanna) | Sounds Like | Burnin' Up (Jonas Brothers)

FourFiveSeconds by Rihanna Burnin' Up by Jonas Brothers

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Additional notes/observations: 

The chorus vocal melody to FourFiveSeconds (released January 24, 2015) by Rihanna, Kanye West, and Sir Paul McCartney is very similar to the chorus vocal melody to the Jonas Brothers' single Burnin' Up (released June 19, 2008). Both songs are in the key of D major, and both melodies have a rhythm featuring two quarter notes followed by five eighth notes (one-two three-and-four-and *rest* and). Compare the chorus lines: "Four Five Seconds from wildin' | And we got three more days 'til Friday," with "slipping into the lava | And I'm tryin' to keep from going under."

FourFiveSeconds (:28) VS Burnin' Up (:41)

FourFiveSeconds
Key: D major
Chord Changes/Progression (Chorus):
D, G/D, D, D (I, IV/I, I, I)
D, G/D, Bmin, A (I, IV/I, vi, V)
Melody (relative to key root): 6, 1, 3, 5, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3

Burnin' Up
Key: D major
Chord Changes/Progression (Chorus):
Bmin, D, A, G (vi, I, V, IV)
Bmin, D, A, G (vi, I, V, IV)
Melody (relative to key root): 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3

Honorable mention:

The bridge to FourFiveSeconds (1:24) is vaguely reminiscent of the bridge to Bob Marley's Waiting in Vain (released 1977) (1:37).



Style (Taylor Swift) | Sounds Like | Jealous (Nick Jonas)

Style by Taylor Swift Jealous by Nick Jonas

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Taylor Swift’s Style (released February 9, 2015) is reminiscent of several songs including:

Jealous by Nick Jonas (released September 8, 2014, which itself emulates Prince's Little Red Corvette and Miguel’s Adorn; nevermind that Adorn, released August 7, 2012, emulates Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing). Style has the same key (B minor/D), similar chord progression, tempo (95 bpm vs 93 bpm), and production as Jealous.
Style (:19) VS Jealous (:10)
Style
Key: B minor/D major
Chord Progression (Verse): B minor, G (i, VI OR vi, IV)
Jealous
Key: B minor/D major
Chord Progression (Verse): A, B minor, G (VII, i, VI ORV, vi, IV)


Forever in Blue Jeans (:21) by Neil Diamond. Style has a similar verse vocal melody/rhythm.


So Into You (:47) by the Atlanta Rhythm Section. Style has a similar verse chord progression.


Stand Back (:19) by Stevie Nicks (penned by Prince). Similar chorus production and progression. SEE Gold Digger note as well.


Madonna’s Get Into The Groove (:08). Similar chorus chord progression.


Shame (:05) by Evelyn “Champagne” King. Similar verse chord progression.


Stylo (1:16) by Gorillaz


Eminence Front (:48) by the Who


Grease Is The Word by Frankie Valli (:53)


Gold Digger by Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx - Taylor’s “take me home” line (3:11) has a melody similar to Gold Digger’s Ray Charles sample from I Got A Woman: “She gives me money, when I’m in need.” Taylor's line may have also been inspired by Stevie Nick’s own “take me home” tag line in Stand Back (4:03).


Love Me Harder (:31) by Ariana Grande

Honorable Mention:
Miami Vice Theme Song (Jan Hammer)



Night Changes (One Direction) | Sounds Like | Beautiful World (Jim Brickman)

Night Changes by One Direction Beautiful World by Jim Brickman

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The chorus vocal melody and chord progression to One Direction's Night Changes (released November 17, 2014) echoes the melodies/chord progressions found in Jim Brickman's Beautiful World (released 2009), Yazoo's Only You (released March 15, 1982), David Bowie's Rebel Rebel (released February 15, 1974), Bruce Springsteen's You'll Be Comin' Down (released September 25, 2007), The Rolling Stones' As Tears Go By (released December 4, 1965), Peter Gabriel's Red Rain (released 1987), and Supergrass' Pumping On Your Stereo (POYS is compared to Rebel Rebel here).

Night Changes (:40) VS Beautiful World (:30)


Night Changes
Key: Ab major
Relevant Chords (chorus): Db maj, Eb maj, Db maj, Eb maj (IV-V-IV-V)
Melody: Diatonic, 4-4-4-4-3-2-b7-1-2/4-4-4-4-3-2-b7-1-2
Lines: "We're only getting older baby/And I’ve been thinking about you lately"


Beautiful World
Key: A major
Relevant Chords (chorus): Dmaj, E maj, Dmaj, E maj (IV-V-IV-V)
Melody: Diatonic, 4-4-3-2-b7-1-2-4-3-2
Lines: "You fell asleep under the cherry tree"




Rebel Rebel
Key: A major
Relevant Chords (verse): Dmaj, E maj, Dmaj, E maj (IV-V-IV-V)
Melody: Diatonic, 4-4-4-3-3-2-3/3-4-4-3-3-2-3-2-2-3
Lines: "Got your mother in a whirl/She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl"
Rebel Rebel (:31)


As Tears Go By
Key: G major
Relevant Chords (chorus): Cmaj, D maj, G maj, D maj/F#, E min (IV-V-I-V-vi)
Melody: Diatonic, 4-4-4-3-2-b7-1-2/3-3-2-1-6
Lines: "Smiling faces I can see, but not for me"
As Tears Go By (:25)


You'll Be Comin' Down
Key: B major
Relevant Chords (chorus): E maj, F# maj, B maj, E maj (IV-V-I-IV)
Melody: Diatonic, 4-4-4-4-3-2-b7-1-2/3-3-2-1-3-4-4-5
Lines: "You're smiling now but you'll find out
They'll use you up and spit you out now"
You'll Be Comin' Down (:35)


Red Rain
Key: G major/E minor
Relevant Chords (chorus): C maj, D maj, C maj, D maj, E min (IV-V-IV-V-vi)
Melody: Diatonic, 5-6-3-2-1/4-3-2-b7-1-2-1
Lines: "red rain is pouring down/pouring down all over me"
Red Rain (:38)


Incidentally, the verses to Brickman's song sounds like the verses to Body Is A Wonderland by John Mayer.



Ten Feet Tall (Afrojack) | Sounds Like | Chloe (Emblem3)

Ten Feet Tall by Afrojack Chloe (You're the One I Want) by Emblem3

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The chorus vocal hook for Ten Feet Tall by Dutch music producer/DJ Afrojack featuring Wrabel (released February 3, 2014) is identical to the chorus vocal hook to Chloe (You're the One I Want) (released April 15, 2013) by American pop-rock trio Emblem3. Compare the lines: Ten Feet Tall - "Whoa oh oh oh, I'm ten feet tall," and Chloe - "Chloe, I know your sister turns everyone on." Same pitch, key, and contour.

Ten Feet Tall (:38) VS Chloe (You're the One I Want) (:08)



Can We Dance (The Vamps) | Sounds Like | Treasure (Bruno Mars)

Can We Dance by The Vamps Treasure by Bruno Mars

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The chorus to British pop band The Vamps' Can We Dance (released September 29, 2013) is reminiscent of co-writer Bruno Mars' previous hit Treasure (released May 10, 2013). CWD also echoes the choruses to both the Stylistics' You Are Everything (May 13, 1971), Benny Mardones' Into the Night (released 1980), and the pre-chorus to Donna Summer's Last Dance (released July 2, 1978). You Are Everything, Into the Night, and Last Dance have the same chord progression as CWD, but are a half-step lower in the key of Eb major. Likewise, Treasure is in the key of Eb major, and its verse chord progression follows a IVM7-ii7-iii7-vi (or 4 major seventh-2 minor seventh-3 minor seventh-6 minor). Can We Dance is in the key of E major, and its chorus chord progression follows a IVM7-V-iii7-vi (or 4 major seventh-5-3 minor seventh-6 minor). So CWD is only a half-step higher than Treasure, and with the exception of its second chord, shares the same chord progression (relative to its key). Vocal melodies for both CWD's chorus and Treasure's verse emphasize the first, second, and third degrees of their respective scales.

Honorable mention:
Air Supply's All Out of Love (:51) - similar chorus melody
Bruce Springsteen's Prove It All Night (:38) - similar chord progression in chorus (key of A) behind "prove it all night girl and call the bluff"
New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle (:58) - first two chords of chord progression in chorus (key of Bb)
Stacy Lattislaw's version of Love on a Two-Way Street - same key, first chord, and melodic elements as Can We Dance (E major)

Can We Dance (:08) VS Treasure (:07)



All I Want (Kodaline) | Sounds Like | Sailing (Rod Stewart)

All I Want by Kodaline Sailing by Rod Stewart

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The chorus vocal melody to Dublin-based quartet Kodaline's All I Want (released September 7, 2012) is reminiscent of the chorus vocal melody to Rod Stewart's Sailing (written by Gavin Sutherland, and released June 1972). The keys are only a half-step apart (All I Want: C, Sailing: B), and while the chord progressions differ slightly (AIW: vi-IV-I-V, Sailing: I-vi-IV-I), the relative diatonic melodies played over the minor 6 and root chords of each song are very similar (compare AIW: "But if you loved me" and Sailing: "Can you hear me?", and AIW: "Take my body" with "Far away"). Also, the melodies are rhythmically very similar, placing an emphasis on the first two quarter notes of each measure, and each chord change throughout the chorus, except for the last in Sailing, has a whole note value.

All I Want (1:21) VS Sailing (1:45)

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