Canadian Super Group Plagiarism?

The two greatest active Canadian bands (sorry Arcade Fire) have songs that sound awfully alike. The new Broken Social Scene album, which I love way more than any reviewer I’ve noticed, has a song in it called “Meet me in the Basement”. I like the song a lot, but it sounded awfully familiar to me. I was listening to The New Pornographers’ album “Twin Cinema” today, an album I haven’t really given much thought to even though it’s also very good, and the title track has an almost identical hook to the previously mentioned BSS track. The rhythm is the same, the speed is the same, and the key is the same. The result is the same exact notes being played at the same exact time. It’s almost a little too obvious.

I had a similar sensation a decade ago when the two greatest midwestern bands of the 90s (Wilco and the Jayhawks) opened tracks with very very similar hooks. But listening to them back to back shows that they are only similar and not the same. Incidentally, the songs are “Outta Sight (Outta Mind)” by Wilco and “Ten Little Kids” by the Jayhawks. More interesting than their similarity is the Wilco tracks similarity to the Sesame Street theme song. I’m sure that Wilco had intended to pay tribute to Sesame Street and the Jayhawks just produced a similar hook. But Broken Social Scene has created a song with as much similarity to “Twin Cinema” as “Ice Ice Baby” was to “Under Pressure.”

I don’t expect it to create much problems. If I were the New Pornographers, I would take it as a compliment that such a great band felt the need to produce such a similar hook. What’s even weirder is that the Broken Social Scene track actually sounds more like a tribute to the Arcade Fire than the New Pornographers. So what you have is this confluence of great Canadian bands of the new Millennium all on one track.


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