Popular Songs That Sound So Alike

Haven't we heard this somewhere before?
PHOTO: (LEFT) YouTube/TaylorSwiftVEVO, (RIGHT) YouTube/Radial by The Orchard

When you're starting to reach an older age in life, it's pretty weird to see how things from the good old days come back and get recycled in a much, much cooler wayusually with less body glitter and more eyebrow.

Your '90s wardrobe and makeup bag are basically all over Topshop right now, but it's music which always seems to make the biggest comeback.

Take Taylor Swift's latest single, "Look What You Made Me Do" for example, which was driving people mad with its familiar-sounding vibes, before some genius made the connection with Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy."

But Swifty's not the only one who's borrowed a bit of inspiration from her favorite tracks. Here are 14 huge songs probably on your playlist, which basically sound exactly the same as another one. And once you hear 'em, you can never un-hear 'em.


1. Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do"

If it feels as though you've been singing Taylor Swift's new song your whole life, it's probably because you heard part played of it at every single party held throughout the '90s.

The brutal lyrics and the cute but psycho vocals might be signature Swift, but it turns out that the main melody in the background sees Taylor borrowing a few beats from...

2. Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy"

Yep, seriously.

Speaking to Cosmopolitan UK, Richard from Right Said Fred explained: "Taylor's team [was] incredibly friendly and helpful and contacted us to talk through the [similarities] in the songs.

"My guess is that they wrote the song, and then realized it sounded a bit like "I'm Too Sexy," or they had a gap in the song and thought, 'What should we fill it with?' and they filled it with our song."

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3. One Direction's "Best Song Ever"

Maybe we were all slightly distracted by the sight of Zayn Malik wearing a pencil skirt and Liam Payne shimmying in a pink headband, but 1D got away with taking a touch of inspiration from a classic track for their 2013 jam, "Best Song Ever."

Sure, they might be a few decades apart and sure, it was only really the dads who noticed the similarities, but have you ever thought that the opening bars sound a lot like...

4. The Who's "Baba O'Riley"

Twitter blew up after One Direction released "Best Song Ever," with oldies vs teens arguing over the two openings being kind of identical.

In fact, the debate caused so much chaos at the time that The Who's Pete Townsend issued a statement about the whole thing and was surprisingly chill towards the similarities.

He stated: "The chords I used and the chords they used are the same three chords we've all been using in basic pop music since Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, and Chuck Berry...

"One Direction are in my business, with a million fans, and I'm happy to think they may have been influenced a little bit by The Who. I'm just relieved they're all not wearing boiler suits and Doc Martens, or Union Jack jackets."

5. Kesha's "Tik Tok"

As soon as it was released, Kesha's signature debut single "Tik Tok" became an anthem for sweaty freshmen across the globe, who were indeed waking up in the morning feeling like P Diddy, if P Diddy did jagerbombs and ate cheesy chips.

But hey, a few months later and students had another Big Night Out tune for the pre-drinks playlistand weirdly enough, it sounded almost identical to the Kesha track.

6. Katy Perry's "California Gurls"

As this freaky mash-up of both tracks proves, Katy Perry's summer smash "California Gurls" wasn't far from being exactly the same song that Kesha had released just a few months before. Fans claim that there's a very similar instrumental, with very similar vocal effects and very similar synth effects added on top.

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There's never been any kind of legal issue over the two tracks and it's mostly just a fandom-based phenomenon that's racked up nearly 3 million views on YouTube.

Dr Luke, who Kesha went on to enter a fierce legal battle against, co-wrote and produced both chart-topping songs.


7. Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" ft. T.I. and Pharrell

Maybe one of the most famous cases of songs sounding like others came courtesy of Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell.

Sure, "Blurred Lines" was the one and only song of the summer in 2013, but things quickly took a fairly dramatic downturn for the tune when everyone with working ears made two important observations.

1. The sex-obsessed, consent-forgetting lyrics were um, questionable to say the least, and 2. That baseline sounded familiar. Very familiar indeed.

8. Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up"

And you know how that one went. In March 2015, a US jury confirmed that "Blurred Lines" had indeed copied Marvin Gaye's 1977 single "Got To Give It Up," and it was a big, costly mistake.

It didn't take a genius to hear that the smooth, '70s-inspired sounds including the hook, the keyboard-bass, and the melody were all very similar.

Thicke and Pharrell were ordered to pay out $7.3 million to Gaye's family following the ruling, after a lawsuit that was brought about by the soul legend's three children.

9. Bruno Mars' "Locked Out Of Heaven"

The guitar riffs in 2012 song "Locked Out Of Heaven" might seem like classic Bruno Mars now, but if you grew up listening to music from 30 years ago then you probably associate the electric sound with another band, who were topping the charts before Bruno was even born.

Unlike a lot of artists who hate the idea of being compared to other musicians and accused of borrowing a sound, Bruno was totally on board when fans suggested that The Police inspired his track...

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10. The Police's "Roxanne"

Quizzed by MTV on the similarities between "Locked Out Of Heaven" and Sting's big '70s tunes like "Roxanne" and "Message In A Bottle," Bruno said: "I grew up listening to the Police. I grew up performing in bars, singing Police songs.

"I remember performing a song like "Roxanne," and you play those first couple of chords, and you hit that first note, and you watch the whole bar ignite. And as an artist, as a songwriter, it's like 'Man, I want to write a song that makes people's eyes explode the first chord!'"

11. Lady Gaga's "Born This Way"

Lady Gaga's 2011 hit "Born This Way" was all about accepting your individuality and embracing everything that makes you unique. So it's kind of ironic that this is the song of hers which most often gets accused of sounding similar and copying another.

While Gaga's little monsters jumped to the star's defense when the criticism was sparked, many music fans (including Madonna herself) compared it to Madge's 1989 track "Express Yourself."

12. Madonna's "Express Yourself"

No official copyright infringement ensued, but it did kickstart a whole load of drama and a rift in the relationship between both iconic artists.

While she did keep things out of court, Madonna certainly made sure the world got the message as to what her thoughts where on the matter.

Madge told Newsweek that her first thought upon hearing "Born This Way" was: "What a wonderful way to redo my song." She later also made a dig to say: "I'm glad that I could help [Gaga] write it." Awks.

13. Little Mix's "Shout Out To My Ex"

Yep, even the soundtrack to your entire romantic history has been accused of copying from a song that came before it.

"Shout Out To My Ex" caused a bitter online rivalry between the Little Mix fandom and the supporters of another girl groupand things got pretty nasty.

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US band G.R.L. wasn't exactly subtle when they decided to speak out on the similarities between Little Mix's girl power bop, and their most successful track, "Ugly Heart."

14. G.R.L.'s "Ugly Heart"

Making their feelings known to a few million followers, G.R.L hijacked Little Mix's #ShoutOutToMyEx hashtag after they released the track in October 2016, by posting #ShoutOutToUglyHeart instead.

The choruses certainly have their similarities, but the Little Mix ladies are insistent that there was no bad blood between the bandseven after the hashtag.

"We're actually friends with Emmalyn from GRL and she loves the song," said Jade to QMusic.

"Every song is going to have a similar chord sequence, slightly similar lyrics and melodiesit happens all the time. It doesn't mean that they're not both incredible songs."

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.


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