July 22, 2019 Musicology No Comments

Hot take: Maybe they did, but not from David Henderson and friends.

Today we learn that 5 Seconds of Summer, the Australians who gave us the hit song “Youngblood” last year, are being sued by David Henderson, David Toth and Peter Ferencz because the opening melody lines of Youngblood are very similar to the melody in the verses of their song “White Shadows.”

White Shadows, it would seem was performed in a Eurovision song contest (which reminds me of another plagiarism case.) So, the plaintiffs figure 5 Seconds heard it and turned it into Youngblood.

But without giving this too much thought, I would say first that the snippet of contention is a short and not especially unique melody. And lyrics aren’t the same; a big problem for the plaintiffs.

Without putting too fine a point on it, what we have here is just “c – c – b – b – e – g – a” or “3 – 3 – 2 – 2 – 5 – 1 – 2” in the key of A minor over the chords Am, Em, and F. The specific melodies serve the respective lyrics, but this is essentially it in both cases. It’s not a lot of music. And I could probably turn up a good amount of prior art examples given time.

Moreover the premise, the notion that they stole THIS melody, and from it sprang Youngblood is a bit weird. This is no better than the third ear-wormiest melody in Youngblood. I’d go so far as to say Youngblood is a hit only because of the other two.

So, I hope they fight this.

Wanna hear what we’re talking about? It’s right in the first few lines of each track.

By all means tell me what you think. I’d love to hear.

Written by Brian McBrearty