Pattern Recognition #3 -- Pop Semi-Covers

This summer a big thing on Top 40 radio was what I can only describe as a "semi-cover" song--in which the artist doesn't actually cover the original song, or even sample it, they just lift the original's entire hook and reappropriate it into their own song--as the entire hook.

This is genius. Writing a dull, meandering verse is easy, but writing a catchy, satisfying, radio friendly chorus is hard. And writing a catchy, satisfying, radio friendly chorus that is a decade or two old and has already stood the test of time and embedded itself into the collective consciousness? That's damn near impossible!

This could be booming business, when you consider how many popular hit songs other artists have come up with over the decades! Just scan through the list of past Billboard #1 singles, cut out the chorus, and insert it in between a few verses you've written in the same key, and you've got a road-tested hit, with BONUS NOSTALGIA VALUE!

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here's 3 examples from this summer:

Flo'Rida -- "Sugar" (chorus is the chorus of Eiffel 65's "Blue")

Flo'Rida -- "Right Round" (chorus is the chorus of Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Around")

Khristina Debarge -- "Goodbye" (chorus is the chorus of Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye")

I feel like there were 1 or 2 more than that as well....anyone recall?

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  1. There was that Numa Numa garbage a while back. It was bad enough the first time, I'm not sure why we had to re-do it.

  2. Kanye West lifted the chorus of Tears for Fears' 'Memories Made' for his song 'Coldest Winter.' But he changed 2 or 3 words!

  3. Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks" has a intro that is very very similar to an old Dr Dre song.

  4. Kanye West also lifted pretty much the entirety of "harder, better, faster, stronger" for that one song I can't be bothered to remember the name of.

  5. Rihanna did "Live Your Life" which takes the chorus from Dragonstea Din Tei (Numa Numa)

  6. Rhianna also lifted a hook for her SOS song from Soft Cell's Tainted Love.

    And then butchered the word "umbrella." Seriously, how many syllables does it have?

  7. Let's count. Um-ba-re-lla ell-a ell-a.

  8. Whatcha Say by Jason Derulo puked all over that Imogen Heap song Hide and Seek.