By Morgan Schwartz
If you’ve turned on the radio in the last few months and had a major case of déjà vu, you’re not alone. While it could be that you’re hearing Katy Perry’s “E.T.” for the fourth time in an hour, it could also be due to a rising trend in pop music: the borrowed melody. Many artists are taking a cue from Vanilla Ice (who’s iconic song “Ice Ice Baby” features the bass line of Queen’s “Under Pressure”) and starting to take old melodies, alter them or add new lyrics, and incorporate them into their singles. The end result? A jam that is somehow familiar, new and exciting – and an instant hit.
The newest song to draw from a well-known tunes is Jason Derulo’s “Don’t Wanna Go Home.” Derulo is no stranger to borrowing a refrain and reworking it to create a pop-y hit – just think back to his debut single, “Watcha Say.” The haunting harmonies from Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” provided both the chorus and title for the song and helped Derulo catapult his way into the spotlight.
Now, he’s done it again. In his new single, Derulo combines well-known Jamaican folk song “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” with the catchy 90’s dance hit, “Show Me Love” by Robin S. Although “Show Me Love” has withstood the test of time and can still be heard occasionally on a night out, by adding his own spin on the tune, Derulo has given the tune a more contemporary feel. Although we’re huge fans of the originals, “Don’t Wanna Go Home” sure gets us moving.
It’s also not the first track to get inspiration from a past hit. Let’s take a look at some more.
The Black Eyed Peas, whose free benefit concert for the Robin Hood foundation got cancelled last week because of thunderstorms, is yet another band who capitalized on a song from years past. BEP took the popular Dirty Dancing theme song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My life” and transformed it into radio sensation “The Time (Dirty Bit).” By combining Fergie’s killer vocals with Will.I.Am’s beats, the Black Eyed Peas took a song that was reserved for middle school dances (but secretly loved by all) and made it relevant again.
Lupe Fiasco, who performed tracks from his new album at the MTV Movie Awards, saw sales spike after, particularly for his single “The Show Goes On.” Why? Perhaps because the song’s chorus borrows from indie rock band Modest Mouse’s signature tune,” Float On.” The Modest Mouse version is sung over an electric guitar and goes, “Alright already/we’ll all float on/now don’t you worry/we’ll all float on.” Lupe took the catchy line, sped it up, changed the lyric a bit and made a hit.
If you’re a fan of Derulo and live in the tri-state area, don’t forget to enter our ticket giveaway so you can see the man live!
There are so many great older songs out there just waiting to get featured. Which songs would you most like to see make an appearance in a new hit? Leave your comments below!