Blurred Lines: Rip off vs Derivation

So I’d heard a lot of people thought that Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” sounded similar to Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up,” so much so that the Gaye Family had even decided to take legal action. I still hadn’t hear Marvin Gaye’s song so I decided to check it out and I’m a little lost as to how this is being considered plagiarism., and it’s digging at a problem I’m getting a little tired of having to explain to people about art. But before you hear my side just listen yourself:

What you’re all probably familiar with

And now what people believe to be the same song

NOW, while I hear an immediate resemblance, the instrumentation is more or less the same, even tonally for the most part, but all the parts are completely different. The cowbell part is syncopated differently, the bassline flows differently, the (although both falsetto) voicelines have completely different melodies and after the initial voicing similarities the songs feels and flows are quite different.

This is part of a problem I’ve been getting frankly a little tired of explaining to the voices of the “there’s nothing original” crowd. ART IS DERIVATIVE. This is a fact that any artist will tell you, it’s why we went from Little Richard to Chuck Berry to Elvis to The Beatles (whose sound jumped from the previous artists influence to more eastern styles later on). Music and genres in particular evolve on small changes to established ideas so of course they will sound similar.

Robin Thicke has even come out and said he loves Marvin Gaye’s song and considering the amount of music that is likely at his disposal I doubt he would do something like that if he felt it was ripped off. I agree with him that this song is more of a tribute to old disco styles of the 70s and Marvin Gaye’s song. It just isn’t similar enough to really be anything more than a genre-revival song. Get over the similarities, its derivative, Robin Thicke likes the old song and wanted to do a new take on it, you can’t say every adaptation of what could be a bridge is a rip off or we wouldn’t have any new music.

This is some weird middle ground on the other hand though

Justin Timberlake kills it:


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