swissbeauty23 (swissbeauty23) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

ONTD Original: 8+ Times Taylor Swift Has Been Accused of Ripping Off Other Artists

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There’s a saying that goes: “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” Depending on how you interpret that, you could argue that it’s quite flattering when a musician pays homage to another’s lyrics and musical stylings, and that no piece of art is truly original anyway. Then again… copyright law does exist for a reason, and there is a fine line between homage and outright thievery.

Whether or not these were intentional on Taylor’s part or not are left up to debate. It is inarguable, however, that Swift is a huge fan of modern pop music, and very very likely if not FOR SURE is familiar with all of the songs listed below. Devoted Swifties, please don’t fret: this post is not meant to hate on Taylor or her music; it’s just a round-up for entertainment purposes only, partially inspired by the iconic and seemingly lost ONTD Original from way back in the day on how a young Taylor Swift copied much of the early musical stylings and ideas of Avril Lavigne (“You Belong With Me” is her “Sk8r Boi,” for instance.)

If you find it, please link it here. I’ve been looking.

Source, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26

1. “You Belong with Me” (2008)
Taylor was accused of stealing from… “Girl Next Door” by Saving Jane (2005)

The first and probably most recognizable lift from her Fearless era, Taylor most likely copied and re-formatted the concept of "Girl Next Door" itself, giving it a more upbeat, energetic pop sound to counter the grittier, pop-rock vibe of the original. Come to think of it, the concepts of both music videos are also eerily similar, all the way down to the on-going feud between the "evil popular brunette" and the "geeky, down-to-earth girl with glasses."

The most obvious lift though is the lyrical similarities from the chorus of “Girl Next Door” and the pre-chorus of “You Belong With Me:”

“She's the prom queen
I'm in the marching band
She's a cheerleader
I'm sittin' in the stands”
– Girl Next Door

“But she wears short skirts
I wear T-shirts
She's cheer captain
And I'm on the bleachers”
– You Belong with Me

Moving on...

2. “Dear John” (2010)
Taylor was accused of stealing from… “Amelia” by Matthew Perryman Jones (2008)

In 2019, a reddit user at the r/Music sub pointed out the striking sonic similarities between the two songs. In fact, the opening of both records are nearly identical, and the structures and production styles are very similar. In fact, if you play them both at once....well.

"What makes it even sketchier though," wrote the reddit user, "[is that] her producer for ["Dear John"] is Nathan Chapman who is from Tennessee. Matthew Perryman Jones is from Nashville."

3. “All Too Well” (2012)
Taylor was accused of stealing from… “I Saw” by Matt Nathanson (2003)
[I marked the timestamps in both embedded videos.]

Possibly Taylor Swift’s most critically acclaimed song, “All Too Well” has sadly also been accused of lyrical plagiarism, lifting a lyric more or less verbatim.

“And I’ll forget about you long enough to forget why I need to.” – I Saw

“And I forget about you long enough to forget why I needed to.” – All Too Well

According to Spin, in 2012, Nathanson wrote in a since-deleted tweet: "She's definitely a fan...and now she's a thief."

4. “Shake It Off” (2014)
Taylor was accused of stealing from… “Playas Gon’ Play” by 3LW (2001)

The songwriters of the 3LW hit actually filed a lawsuit over copyright infringement, though a federal appeals court judge reversed the ruling in 2018.

"The playas gon' play
Them haters gonna hate …
Playas, they gonna play
And haters, they gonna hate."
– Playas Gon’ Play

"'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”
– Shake It Off

5. “Look What You Made Me Do” (2017)
Taylor was accused of stealing from… (whew) “Operate” by Peaches (2003), “Booty Call” by All Saints (1998), & even the off-handed quote “She's dead” from Amy Winehouse (RIP), among others...

While most fans know that “Look What You Made Me Do” samples the ‘90s hit “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred, many also found sound sonic similarities between one of Taylor’s most off-beat tracks and the beat and instrumentals of the techno-infused “Operate” by Peaches.

A writer at Grazia pointed out that “Look” also copies the “plinky plonky string” from All Saints’ “Booty Call,” and an iconic moment from the career of the late Amy Winehouse.

“If that wasn’t enough,” they write, “the cadence by which Taylor says ’cause she’s dead’ bears an uncanny resemblance to Amy’s comment to Simon Amstell on Never Mind the Buzzcocks...maybe this itself was from something? Maybe it wasn’t, the sad thing is we’ll never know.”

6.“Getaway Car” (2017)
Taylor was accused of stealing from… “Breathe In, Breathe Out” by Hilary Duff (2015)

[I marked the timestamps in both embedded videos.]

A clear lift that becomes even more striking when you realize that Taylor has tweeted“Breathe In, Breathe Out” is her favorite song from Hilary’s aptly titled album. Oops.

"X-marks the spot where we fell apart" - Breathe In, Breathe Out

"X-marks the spots where we fell apart" - Getaway Car

7. “ME! (feat. Brandon Urie)” (2019)
Taylor was accused of stealing from… “Next to Me” by Emeli Sandie (2012)

While the two songs are quite different (Emeli’s is actually good), fans couldn’t help but notice that “ME!” borrows chorus elements from “Next to Me.” Ironically, the two singers performed “Next to Me” together in 2014 during Taylor Swift’s Red tour.

8. Paper Rings (2019)
Taylor was accused of stealing from… once again, “Breathe In, Breathe Out” by Hilary Duff (2015)

Fans have pointed out that the melodies in the verses of both songs sound nearly identical. I don't know, you be the judge here.

Other Honorable Mentions

Speaking of Hilary Duff, I can’t be the only one who noticed the very, very striking visual similarities and thematic elements between Duff’s video for “Wake Up” and Swift’s video for “End Game.”

Taylor was also accused ofcopying the iconic rainbow look and bangs hairstyle from Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion album cover in her video for “End Game" This, of course, could easily be considered a huge reach. Some fans also believe Taylor stole Carly's musical stylings for 1989, BUT Emotion came out the year after in 2015.

One ONTD detective even did a whole expose on how she ripped off Carly Rae's career.

There was also this:


And of course, this:

*BONUS*: This was a VERY long time ago, but I do recall one user at ONTD pointed out that Taylor’s song “Holy Ground” from her Red album had a line that was lifted from another artist. The line in question is:

“I left a note on the door with the joke we’d made” - Holy Ground

(I could be remembering this wrong, so forgive me for rambling about false memories if so).

Source, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26

Tags: music / musician (country), music / musician (pop), ontd original, scandal, taylor swift, you in danger

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