How do artists get away with biting hooks from pop hits from the recent past? Consider: the song “Cookie Jar” by Gym Class Heroes featuring The-Dream (aside: what purpose could that hyphen possibly serve?). Perhaps it sounds somewhat familiar. Perhaps it seems to resemble the breakout hit for a certain top-hatted, robot-voiced gentleman. Still not sure? Observe here.
This is only the most recent in a growing trend. The most blatant ripoff, to my ears, was perpetrated by Akon with his “Don’t Matter,” the bridge (I think; it could well be the pre-chorus, or whatever you want to call it) of which cribs shamelessly from R. Kelly’s wonderful “Ignition (Remix),” which has to be one of the best songs of the past few years.
Whether the original song is good or not bears little on my feelings on the imitation. If it was weak the first time, the new track is likely to be mediocre as well; contrarily, if I actually like the original, the plagiarism will likely draw my ire, such that I will not be able to enjoy the song even if I otherwise would have done. See then, woeful, slothful counterfeiters, that your efforts shall never win my heart, which heart is undoubtedly the object of your ambition. Do not dissemble, scoundrel. This wounds you deeply. May you learn, then, to respect your fellow-artists and leave their work well enough alone.