Attack of the Clones
One of my favourite songs of the moment is "Southern Girls" by Cheap Trick. It's fantastically catchy slice of '70s power pop and your life is incomplete if you haven't heard it. I only have one problem with the song. Its chorus is remarkably similar to a part in "The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism" by the New Pornographers. Of course, "Southern Girls" was written about 20 earlier but I heard "Slow Descent" first.
With its fantastic title I dearly wanted to love "Slow Descent" (indeed, with a name like that it could've been my own personal anthem) but the reality was the song just isn't that good. Sure it has a great title but it also has that tinny production and plinky rhythm that all New Pornographer songs have. It grates on my nerves and I can never listen to the entire four minute song.
So in a strange kind of way I feel validated that the best melody in "Slow Descent" was actually Cheap Trick's all along. Of course, it could be possible that the New Pornographers have never even heard "Southern Girls" and it's all a case of melodic coincidence. But that seems unlikely since the NPs are supposed to be the new breed of power pop.
But what bugs me about the whole situation is that the melodic similarities to "Slow Descent Into Alcoholism" interrupts my enjoyment of "Southern Girls". Every time the chorus rolls around in "Southern Girls" I instinctively start singing "my, my, my, my slow descent…"
I find this "Attack of the Clones" experience strange because it doesn't happen for me with other sound-alike songs. For instance, the striking similarity between Oasis's catalogue and other people's songs is much documented but it's never bothered me. Similarly, I can listen to George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" and the Chiffons' "He's So Fine" as completely separate songs without one impeding on the other. But "Slow Descent" always creeps into "Southern Girls". Why does my brain continue holding on to the inferior product now that I have the original?
I only have one other example of this syndrome, and it also involves an indiepop act. I bought a used copy of the Mull Historical Society's Loss on the strength of that super-catchy "Watching Xanadu" single. The rest of the album was utterly dire. Months later, I heard "Darlin'" by the Beach Boys for the first time. The melody to "Xanadu"'s chorus was almost identical to the opening verse for "Darlin'" and now I can't stop singing lyrics to "Xanadu" to "Darlin'".
So my advice: listen to "Darlin'" and "Southern Girls" now before the clones infect your brain.