A minor controversy indicative of a larger story: Cascada’s song sounds a lot like Katy Perry’s song, “California Gurls”:
And it does sound similar. But why does it sound similar? Partly because I was told to look for similarities; partly because, perhaps, my knowledge of pop music only goes back as far as 2010, and not 2009:
and etc, to say nothing of similarities to any other styles of music I’m simply not familiar with (e.g. jazz.)
Does that make it bad, or less? What if it’s done on purpose, does that make it better? This mashup of Tik Tok and California Gurls is arguably better than either of the originals:
My personal favorite is a Black Eyed Peas/Eminem mashup that would be hilarious if it wasn’t absolutely earnest:
It is madness to suggest that any of these “artists” are stealing from any of the others, any more than CNN can be accused of stealing the phrase “right wing agenda” from the Huffington Post. This doesn’t account for the fact that neither Ke$sha, Cascada, Gaga, or Katya are solely responsible for every beat of their song. The pop songs, including lyrics, are constructed from a template in a production studio. Insert rap break for an injection of masculine energy, press submit.
Where it all goes terribly wrong is when pop music tries to be better than itself. Katy Perry is on thin ice when she suggests that Rebecca Black’s song is so inconsequential that it can only be sung as parody, as irony:
It’s the same. To anyone who doesn’t know either person there’s very little way to judge the differential in quality.
There’s a lot to say about this, but first we should get oriented. If you haven’t seen this yet, enjoy:
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