The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Viva la Ripoff!

(On a Song that Wanted Also to Rule the World)
by aLfie vera mella

While my kids were watching A.N.T. Farm on TV, an intermission music video played, in which the intro of the song was a solo violin melody. It caught my discerning ears because it obviously sounded to me like the carrier string melody of Coldplay's "Viva la Vida." Naturally, I thought it was a cover—a decent Pop version, I thought.

I was surprised to realize that it was not a cover but a totally different song, "Break My Heart" by a certain Victoria Duffield.

I will definitely consider "Break My Heart" by Victoria Duffield a ripoff.

Doing my homework, I checked the song/artist out on Wikipedia at once, especially to see if the article would mention that the song was inspired by "Viva la Vida." Unfortunately, no mention.

I love "Viva la Vida" especially for its orchestration and use of unconventional musical instruments.

Acknowledging a direct derivation of or, at the least, having been inspired by another artist is maintaining artistic integrity and an expression of homage to one's influences; denying such is tantamount to disrespect; worse, plagiarism; or, at the least, riding on the coattails of the popularity of others. In an interview of Duffield shown in a segment of the same show, she said that she wrote the song (I was surmising, only the lyric) but again no specific mention of who wrote the music, more so if it was inspired by "Viva la Vida." 

Victoria Duffield is a Canadian singer, a contestant of YTV's The Next Star (Season 3) who got to the Top 6. She released her debut album, Shut Up and Dance, last August, 2012, which included the single in question. A copy of the album is already on my files, ready for my listening in its entirety and for my reviewing purposes.

New Wave Is as Strong, Relevant, and Influential as Ever
Coldplay is an English New Wave / Alternative Rock band formed in 1996 in London, England. Its members are Chris Martin (vocals, piano, guitar), Guy Berryman (bass), Jonny Buckland (guitar), and Will Champion (drums). So far, the band has released five albums: Parachutes (2000), A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), X&Y (2005), Viva la Vida or Death and and All His Friends (2008), and Mylo Xyloto (2011). Recommended songs include "Yellow," "Don't Panic," "Clocks," "The Scientist," "Speed of Sound," "Lovers in Japan," "Hurts like Heaven," and "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall."

Coldplay is one of the flag bearers of New Wave music in this generation. 

Classifying Coldplay's music New Wave is not hard for me because all the elements of typical New Wave are there—poetic lyricism, jangly and flanger-droned guitars, melodious and danceable bass lines, tribal (toms-based) drum sounds, presence of piano and synth sounds, incorporation of strings orchestration, and the charismatic charm of its vocalist. Besides, Martin acknowledges that Coldplay's influences include U2, R.E.M., and a-ha, all of which are pioneers of the genre.

All the elements and ethos of New Wave are all over Coldplay's music and aesthetics.

Final Note
Many music critics say that the Internet has made music-making a novelty and no longer a serious art. I disagree. The Internet, I think, is a neutral thing—like many other technological developments. It's how an individual takes advantage of its positive uses and how she allows herself to fall slave to its trappings. There will always be original and passionate artists in every decade and generation; there will always be mediocre ones—those who value commerciality over originality and creativity.

Music-wise, I think that the Internet has, for the better, revolutionized the music world; it continues to empower artists especially those who have no chance of using the machineries of record companies. And for diligent music critics who really spend the time to assess and analyze music on a deeper level, the Internet makes researching and validating information easy.


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