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kottke.org posts about Adam Neely

Did Dua Lipa Plagiarize Levitating?

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 07, 2022

One of the biggest hits of the past two years has been Dua Lipa’s Levitating — this catchy disco-inflected tune didn’t hit #1 in the US but has set quite a few records for Billboard chart longevity (e.g. 41 weeks in the top 10). Lipa, her label, and her co-writers were recently hit with a lawsuit 1
by a band called Artikal Sound System alleging that Levitating was ripped off from their song, Live Your Life. At first glance, Artikal Sound System seems to have a point — take a listen to Levitating and then to Live Your Life.

But! As Adam Neely explains in this video, if you listen to it with an expert ear and with the history of music in mind, their case doesn’t seem so ironclad. For starters, Rosa Parks by Outkast (1998) and Blame It on the Boogie from The Jacksons (1978) contain very similar rhythms.

  1. And just today brings news of a second lawsuit: “songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer allege that Lipa ‘duplicate[d]’ the ‘signature’ opening melody for ‘Levitating’ from their 1979 song ‘Wiggle and a Giggle All Night’ and 1980 song ‘Don Diablo’, performed by Cory Daye and Miguel Bosé respectively.”

Musical fractals

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 10, 2017

Adam Neely made a song that is constructed of smaller versions of itself, resulting in a musical fractal that sounds the same at full speed and at 1000 times slower. How does it work? Harmonic polyrhythms.

E=mc^2 tells us that mass and energy are the same thing, just on massively different scales. This is similar to the musician’s theory of relativity which says that rhythm, melody, and harmony are the same thing, just on similarly massively different scales.

So by slowing things way down or speeding things way up, you can convert between harmony and rhythm. (via waxy)