When Taylor Swift released ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ in August, she and her piano-bashing writing partner Jack Antonoff sent flowers to Fred and Richard Fairbrass – better known as the world’s foremost Bernard Cribbins Appreciation Act Right Said Fred. They did it because the Fairbrass brothers’ hit ‘I’m Too Sexy’ is so integral to Swift’s big comeback single that its three writers get a co-write credit each.
When Liam Payne released his first solo single ‘Strip That Down’ in May, one of the fifteen writers listed was Orville Burrell – aka Shaggy – whose seminal work ‘It Wasn’t Me’ forms the basis of the song. In this, year of our Lord 2017, we’re all sitting here listening to Liam Payne sing a shit karaoke rendition of ‘It Wasn’t Me’.
Everything old is new and everything new is boring. Taylor and Liam are not the first artists to rake over the coals of hits gone by as they search for a shortcut to public appreciation – let’s not even talk about pro-rape anthem ‘Blurred Lines’ – but rather than gently homage a genre or era, taking tropes and samples and futzing with them until they’re something interesting and new, we’re now out and out ripping off novelty hits of yesteryear and it’s – well, it’s basically one huge cringe.
Just as Hollywood’s endless remake, reboot and sequel industry is finally suffering from poor cinema attendance, we should demand more from our pop stars and their legions of songwriters by boycotting these songs. I want pop to push forward and stop looking back, and definitely stop with the rehashes of songs that no one has heard since their year 7 disco. We have to do something to stop this trend or before you know it Carly Rae Jepsen will be rebooting ‘Agadoo’ while The 1975 interpolate ‘Crazy Frog’ – and if they do, I want a 30% cut and a co-writing credit.
Kate likes pop hits more than you like pop hits and runs a night called U SUCK at Birthdays, but the rest of the time writes so many words you’ve probably read them without even realising.
Find Kate on twitter: @katiesol