Demi Lovato's Dance-Pop single Really Don't Care (released May 20, 2014) seems closely modeled after Swedish duo Icona Pop's breakthrough hit I Love It (released May 9, 2012). Similarities include: verse vocal melody/rhythm (RDC starts on a G note, ILI starts on an Ab--only a half-step apart), theme (defiance to a former lover), lyrics ("I don't care" VS "I really don't care," "stars and moon collide" VS "down on earth, but I am up in space"), and production elements (drum beat/synth). Both song's verse vocal melodies start on the "and" or second eighth note of the first beat, and stay on the same note--emphasizing the upbeat--for the rest of the measure and most of the following measure. The final four notes of both melodies have the same exact rhythm (RDC: "[...] have it a-all"; ILI: "[..] you were g-one"). Finally, the pre-chorus vocal melody of Really Don't Care (which starts with the line "But even if the stars and moon collide") is tonally/rhythmically similar to the intro/chorus vocal melody to Pat Benatar's 80s smash Shadows of the Night (released September 30, 1982) i.e. "We're running with the shadows of the night [...]."
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.]
Written for the film The Bucket List, John Mayer's song Say (released November 20, 2007) bears mild resemblance to Steve Winwood's number one Adult Contemporary hit Back in the High Life Again (released June 1986). Similarities include: Say's ukulele part played at the opening and throughout, which sets the tone for the song in much the same way as BitHLA's mandolin part, tempo (168 bpm vs 169 bpm) drums (both songs feature a staggered beat with a military/march snare pattern). Likewise, the chords for Say (key: Bb) follow a I-IV-vi-V (or 1 - 4 - minor 6 - 5) progression, while BitHLA's (key: D) chords follow a I-IV-I-V (or 1 - 4 - 1 - 5) progression. Have a listen: Say (1:08) vs BitHLA (1:26).
Unwritten, the title track of English singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield's debut album (released September 2004) bears some resemblance to Kiss Them for Me, Siouxsie and the Banshees' hypnotic ode to actress Jayne Mansfield (Released May 13, 1991). Similarities include: same key (F major), same tempo (100 bpm), close drum beats/rhythms, South Asian influenced percussion (tabla, hand-cymbals) and lead guitar/sitar riffs that emphasize the third note of the root scale.
REM's track Belong from their March 1991 album, Out of Time, bears more than a passing resemblance to Robert Plant's In The Mood, from his 1983 album The Principle of Moments. Similarities include the same key (G major), close tempos (ITM: 100 bpm, B: 103 bpm), melodies that emphasize movement between the major third and fourth degrees of the root scale, progressions that cycle between I-IV or I-Isus4 (two bars each), and fade-in intros that feature comparable bass parts and 16th note patterns on a closed hi-hat (In The Mood's drums were played by Phil Collins). [Thanks to Justin Schack for suggesting this comparison.]
Other examples of the I-IV or I-Isus4 progression over a root pedal-tone can be found in the following songs:
Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith (key: A)
40 by U2 (key: A)
One Thing by Finger Eleven (key: Ab)
Take A Picture by filter (key A)
Dizz Knee Lane by Dada (key: D)
Danish singer-songwriter Karen Marie Ørsted better known as MØ, officially released her track Pilgrim in March 2013, the same month as Lorde's Royals. However, Pitchfork writer Larry Fitzmaurice reviewed Mo's track the previous October. The two songs share a drumbeat, handclap/fingersnaps on the second and fourth beats and feature raw female vocals. The similarities seem to end there.
The intro to One Direction's hit single Best Song Ever (released July 22, 2013) appears to pay homage to The Who's Baba O'Riley, often mistakenly called Teenage Wasteland (released November 1971--roughly 20-years before 1D's members were born). Both songs begin with a sixteenth-note arpeggiated pattern (BOR on keyboard, BSE on guitar). The similarities continue with piano chords playing on the first and fourth beats of the measure and the first beat of the subsequent measure (BOR in the key of F plays 1-5-4; BSE in the key of C# plays 4-1-5), followed by a Keith Moon-inspired drum fill and pattern, and finally power chords a la Pete Townshend in synch with the piano part. Online entertainment sites PopCrush and Click Music also note similarities between the tunes.
Singer-songwriter and Harvard alum Rivers Cuomo of the alt rock group Weezer has been known to keep notebooks full of popular songs in an attempt to discern the "formula" for a hit. It's unclear whether or not Supertramp's It's Raining Again, which was released in October 1982, was ever contained in those notebooks, but the verse melody for Weezer's Island In The Sun, which was released on October 29, 2001 definitely bears a strong resemblance to the tune (compare both songs around :18). Likewise, Island In The Sun's familiar chord progression (E minor, A minor, D, G OR 6-2-5-1) can be found in the chorus of Talk Talk's It's My Life (though the latter is in the key of C instead of G).