Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles know what it takes to make a hit song with their fellow One Direction crew, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan and Liam Payne. A catchy track, peppy pop vocals and sing-along lyrics can do the trick; and the delivery is key, preferably from a boy band with heart-throb looks and a huge fan following. But Tomlinson and Styles also seem to agree that it doesn’t hurt to borrow inspiration from other chart-topping performers, either–and not just when it comes to a Justin Bieber-esque hair flip once rocked by Payne! In fact, they’re definitely not denying the latest plagiarism claims that have been aimed in 1D’s direction.
The lead single from the group’s new album Take Me Home, “Live While We’re Young,” has been likened to that ’80s anthem, “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” by punk rockers The Clash.
“It was kind of on purpose, though. It’s a great riff…” Harry Styles boldly responded, as Entertainmentwise reports, when questioned by BBC News about the two songs’ similarity.
And Louis Tomlinson backed up his bro-mantic partner, agreeing of “LWWY,” “It’s a bit like the first single ["What Makes You Beautiful"], where the opening riff sounds similar to a certain film [Grease's "Summer Nights"]. I assume it must be quite difficult to do a unique riff now because there have been so many songs–surely there’s only so many riffs you can pull out.”
Ah, Tomlinson, ever the practical, level-headed one. Hopefully, the rest of the music-verse will see it his and Styles’s way; that they’ve simply “borrowed” inspiration and influence from others and made it their own, rather than committed an overt act of stealing. There’s one nickname One Direction wouldn’t want, and that’s copycat.
But L.T. is kind of right, in that there are only so many ways to put notes together. Sometimes, some things may start sounding similar. Likewise, in the fashion industry, designers continually borrow from the past, twisting past trends and collections into new dynamic ones of their own. Or, in film… there are only so many story lines to a happy (or sad) ending.
Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but it can be a slippery slope in the entertainment world for the accused imitator. Lady Gaga may know this better than most.
Photo credit: Brett Robson