Kungs vs Cookin' on 3 Burners song This Girl (released February 19, 2016, which is a remix of the latter's original version) resembles several earlier soul/pop tracks including The Style Council's My Ever Changing Moods (released 1984), Classics IV's songs Spooky (released October 1967, and covered by related group Atlanta Rhythm Section in 1979) and Stormy (released 1968), and even Electric Light Orchestra's Evil Woman (released October 1975).
The verse to Green Day's Grammy-nominated song 21 Guns (released May 25, 2009) bears a strong resemblance to the verse to Heart's power ballad What About Love (released June 1, 1985). Similarities include: same key (Dminor/F), same chord progression (Dminor-Bb-F-C or vi-IV-I-V), close melodies (compare lines 21 Guns: "what's worth fighting for?" with WAL: "ain't makin' it through to your heart." The chorus to 21 Guns also bears some resemblance to the chorus to Mott the Hoople's classic All the Young Dudes (released July 1972 and written by David Bowie).
The chorus to Lorde's Team (released September 13 2013) has the same chord progression (IV-vi-V or four-minor6-five), drum beat, and key (F#) as the verse to Young Blood (released June 7, 2010) by fellow New Zealanders The Naked and Famous. Lorde has also garnered comparisons to Lana Del Rey for this song, mostly due to the production values--reverb-drenched vocals against a stark electronic beat and synth pad.
Team (1:10) VS Young Blood (:19)
The intro melody to One Direction's track They Don't Know About Us (released November 9, 2012) is very similar to the intro for Passenger's breakthrough hit Let Her Go (released July 24, 2012). Both melodies are pentatonic, and share the same first four notes (relative to the key) and rhythmic values (eighth notes): TDKAU (key: C major) follows a 2-3-2-1-6-5-6 pattern, while LHG (key: G major) follows a 2-3-2-1-5-6-1 pattern. Other similarities include: tempo (TDKAU 148bpm vs LHG 142bpm), and underlying chord progression (TDKAU: IV-I-V-vi or 4-1-5-minor6 vs LHG: IV-V-vi or 4-5-minor6). Check out the intros. [Thanks to Debby Cohen for suggesting this one!]
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' hit Don't Come Around Here No More (released February 28, 1985, and co-written with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics), appears to be the likely inspiration for English folk band Noah and the Whale's L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. (released January, 21, 2011). Similarities include: tempo (both at 80 bpm), chord changes/progression (both share a major I-IV-V-I or 1-4-5-1 progression a half-step apart--DCAHNM: F major vs LGO: E major), drum beat (especially the sixteenth note fill), sitar-like guitar riffs (which emphasize the fifth, sixth, and root degrees of the scale). Check it out--DCAHNM (:24) vs LGO (:00). [Thanks to Justin Schack for suggesting this one!]
Bruno Mars' single Treasure (released May 10, 2013) bears some resemblance to Breakbot's Baby I'm Yours (released February 25, 2010). Similarities include: chord changes/progression (though the song keys are a whole step apart), BPM (116 vs 118), and production/arrangement. Also, check out George Duke's Reach Out, or Kool and the Gang's Steppin' Out and Take it to the Top for very similar vibes/production. [Thanks to Andrew Zucker for this comparison.]
Baby I'm Yours (:18) vs Treasure (:08).
The choruses to Imagine Dragons' song Demons (released October 22, 2013) and Madonna's hit Like a Prayer (March 3, 1989) have similar melodies (and lyrics). The opening line of LaP's chorus: "When you call my name" follows a 3-3-1-1-b7 melodic pattern, while the opening line of Demon's chorus: "When you feel my heart" follows a 3-3-5-1-b7 melodic pattern (only a single different interval, and two different words). Likewise, both melodies are sung over a I-V (or major 1-5) chord progression. LaP (key: F# major) follows a I-V-IV-I-V (or 1-5-4-1-5) progression and Demons (key: Eb major) follows a I-V-vi-IV (or 1-5-minor6-4) progression.
Honorable mention goes to the chorus to Crowded House's 1991 single Fall at Your Feet (:42), as Demons shares the same key (Eb) and exact (common) chord progression (I-V-vi-IV or 1-5-minor6-4), though melodies and tempos are distinct.
Check out the opening line of each chorus:
Like a Prayer (:42) vs Demons (:56)
The chorus for The Killers' Shot at the Night (released September 16, 2013) is very similar to the chorus for Steve Winwood's Grammy Award-winning, chart-topper Higher Love (released June 20, 1986), which features Nile Rodgers on rhythm guitar and Chaka Kahn on backing vocals. While the melodies and tempos (99bpm vs 93bpm) differ, similarities include: lyrics (SATN: "Give me a shot at the night" vs HL: "Give me a higher love"), key (both in F major), drum and bass parts (and snare sounds), and chord progressions (SATN: IV-I-vi-V or 4-1-minor6-5 vs HL: IV-I-V-vi or 4-1-5-minor6). Check out: Higher Love (:56) vs Shot at the Night (:50). [Thanks to Alphabet Omnimedia Group for suggesting this one.]
Train's country/folk-pop duet Bruises featuring Ashley Monroe (released November 9, 2012) bears resemblance to both Madonna's Crazy for You (released March 1985) and John Denver's 1966 composition Leaving On A Jet Plane. Verses for both Bruises (key: D major) and Crazy for You (key: E major) share a I-IV-V (or major 1-4-5) chord progression (though a whole step apart), and verse melodies for both songs hew to a similar major pentatonic scale (compare CFY's line "Two-by-two their bodies become one" with B's line "Haven't seen you since high school"). Likewise, the chorus melody for Bruises and verse melody for Denver's Leaving On A Jet Place (key: G major) follow a similar fifth to major third movement in the root scale (LOAJP's line "So kiss me and smile for me [...] and B's "These bruises make for better conversation [...]"). Check out Crazy for You (:27) and Bruises (:10).
The chorus to Lady Gaga's (Mother Monster's) dance/electronic chart-topper Applause (released August 12, 2013) bears some structural and lyrical resemblance to Vicki Sue Robinson's signature disco hit Turn The Beat Around (released 1976). Both songs have an identical descending minor chord progressions (I - Flat VII - VI or 1-b7-6) followed by ascension through the same chords. Turn The Beat Around starts in the key of F# minor, but modulates to G minor, the same key as Applause, and both songs cycle through the following progression: Gmin-Fmaj-Ebmaj-Ebmaj-Fmaj-Gmin. Turn the Beat Around is slightly slower than Applause (133 bpm versus 139 bpm). Compare TTBA (around 4:26, with the lines "Turn the beat around. Love to hear percussion.") and Applause (around :55, "Give me the thing that I love. I'll turn the lights out").