Anyone who knows me in real life knows I don't much care for Top 40 dance/hip-hop club bangers. The exception to this is Party Rock Anthem, which is just ridiculously infectious.
That said, I, like most other people who live on the Internet all day long, am frequently subjected to what is "popular" with the "kids" - well, the kids that don't shop at Hot Topic.
As such, I heard Jennifer Lopez's On the Floor enough to get very sick of it , quickly, over the course of the past year or so. Pitbull's involvement with the track didn't help matters. When I heard it, it sounded oddly familiar, even though I knew I hadn't heard it before.
Or had I?
Again, I DON'T go out of my way to listen to Top 40 jams, but I do occasionally go to malls or department stores (or fashionable joints, when coerced by my gf), where they play the kind of music that makes me long to be deaf...or back it up like a Tonka Truck. It really depends on my mood.
Somewhere along the way I would hear this vaguely European/Latin version of what sounded A LOT like On the Floor's main melody, but with an accordion or some other such instrument. This was amplified when my day job moved into our current office, connected to a warehouse that would play KISS FM, L.A.'s leading assault-on-the-ears Top 40 Jams station. I heard BOTH J. Lo and the mysterious accordion melody version all day long, and it was slowly driving me batshit insane.
Well, after some Internet sleuthing, I stumbled upon this article at Salon that was written roughly a year ago. It blew me away.
To summarize: not only was I correct in thinking On the Floor was familiar, it RIPS OFF A SONG THAT ALREADY RIPS OFF ANOTHER SONG.
Pop music is a vortex of repetition and overused melodies, and this seals it.
My girlfriend was lamenting how KISS frequently played a song that sounded exactly the same as the J. Lo jam, but I couldn't figure out what it was...until now.
^^ That is the second song that uses the same melody, but since most Top 40 songs today don't offer much in terms of creativity, they often sample forgotten 1980s songs...or just flat-out rip off other melodies, licensed or not.
This was a case of the latter...you see, the song above, Edward Maya's Stereo Love, already lifted its melody from an Azerbaijani musician. As the Salon piece so nicely summarizes:
Soon after "Stereo Love" was released in the fall of 2009, Azerbaijani composer Eldar Mansurov came forward and contacted the Romanian Copyright Office (Romania is Maya's country of origin) to file a copyright infringement claim. According to Mansurov, the refrain of "Stereo Love" was a copy of a song he composed in 1989 titled "Bayatilar." At the time, Maya claimed that he tried locating the original composer of the song, which he heard over the internet. He (probably a little too quickly, in retrospect) gave up the search when he couldn't find the rightful owner, and went ahead and used the music (crediting the author as Anonymous). In the end, he had no choice but give a full co-writer's credit to Mansurov. .
So, in case this ranting has enveloped you, J. Lo's On the Floor sounds like Edward Maya's Stereo Love, which sounds like (and stole from) Eldar Mansurov's Bayatilar. In theory, Mansurov is the mastermind behind both international club hits. Nicely done, sir!
As for me, this reinforces my opinion that pop music eats itself and is content to repeatedly churn out the same detritus over and over, regardless of silly things like, oh, copyrights, legality, and the old-fashioned and outdated concept of WRITING YOUR OWN DAMN MUSIC.
Que sera, sera, right?