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How to write a hit pop song

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Take someone else’s! Preferably somebody from the ’80’s, because no one lives who will remember that time! Throw in a more recent hit–not one that became big enough to be described as ubiquitous! Strangle the song until it’s dead! Skin its face and paste it to your own! Fashion its teeth into a similar but not legally prosecutable necklace! Dance on its bones! BATHE IN ITS BLOOD!

Example 1:

Example 2:

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Example 3:


Example 4:


Example 5:


Example 6:


Example 7:

Example 8:

Example 9:


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33 Comments

  1. Laura
    Laura

    I’ve been living under a rock I guess, cuz I’ve never heard any of these one direction songs. but holy f-ing shit, this is legal??? Also, do you have an encyclopedic knowledge of 80s music?

    This is an awesome post. Please give us more of the random stuff that comes out of your head!

    May 13, 2014
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  2. Maj
    Maj

    No wonder One Direction’s so catchy…

    I KNEW I heard those “Jessie’s Girl” chords in “Does He Know.” Knew it! I’ve karaoked that song way too many times to fail to recognize Rick Springfield when I hear him.

    May 13, 2014
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    • laine
      laine

      omg this entire boy band is just an elaborate rickroll

      May 13, 2014
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      • This might be one of the greatest comments in the history of the Internet

        May 14, 2014
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  3. I knew about the Who one because it apparently inspired roughly two-thirds of One Direction’s fans to send death-tweets to Pete Townshend for ripping their idols off, but to actually check these out would mean I had to listen to the talentless little toads, and as I’ve managed to avoid that so far…

    May 13, 2014
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    • How do you rip off something when you wrote it before the people you supposedly ripped off were even born??? LMAO

      May 13, 2014
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      • Hey, you ask them! I’m not going near the bloodthirsty little maniacs.

        May 14, 2014
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  4. Katie
    Katie

    I see reading After has already had an effect on you. 🙂

    May 13, 2014
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  5. Suzy
    Suzy

    I’ve detected a theme…and it’s not the amount of hair the original artists have (had).
    But can we really blame the kids in 1 D? Not that I particularly want to defend them, but did they write these songs? And do they know who The Who are?
    If they were involved in writing these songs, then fuck the little bastards.

    May 13, 2014
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I would just assume that any criticism of One Direction that doesn’t name individuals is directed at the product One Direction, rather than its members.

      May 14, 2014
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      • This

        If you look them up on ohnotheydidnt, though, they’ve said/done quite a bit of shitty things so I have no issues with critiquing them for that

        May 14, 2014
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  6. Alison
    Alison

    Wow, that’s sad. Sad that they’ve ripped off so many other artists and sad that many of their listeners won’t know the difference.

    I don’t mind covers or sampling when it’s done in a way to acknowledge or pay tribute to the original artist but this is just too much.

    May 13, 2014
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  7. laine
    laine

    I actually think “Diana” sounds more like “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” than “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.” (Maybe that’s even why they called her Diana? ‘Cause it sounds like “don’t stand so”?)

    May 13, 2014
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    • They could have been copying either song though since they both sound so similar, or at least they do to me.

      May 14, 2014
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  8. Lieke
    Lieke

    Jesus, the Midnight Memories/Pour Some Sugar On Me one is especially blatant.

    How’s that ‘I’m only listening to One Direction while recapping the horror that is After’ working out for ya, Jenny? (I’m so sorry)

    May 13, 2014
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  9. LOL directioneers are coming for you, Jenny

    This post just makes me feel like jammin’ to these 80s songs. I’d love you to do an analysis of K-pop sometime (although omonatheydidnt is on it, but they might not have as comprehensive 80s music knowledge). hmmm brb hunting down a terrible yet popular k-pop fic

    May 14, 2014
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  10. Ange
    Ange

    It’s bad enough Spotify is already recommending me Justin Bieber, I shudder to think what they’ll come up with after this latest round of browsing lol.

    May 14, 2014
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  11. BuenaSuerte
    BuenaSuerte

    nononononononononononononononononononono

    Fortunately that wasn’t enough to dislodge Scary Monsters from my head. The little green wheels are still following me.

    May 14, 2014
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  12. the-great-dragon
    the-great-dragon

    I don’t have Spotify, so I had to go to Youtube to search. I’ve only listened to the Def Leppard rip off and it’s just…wow. Most of these 80’s songs are on the classic rock station I listen to, so I’ve heard them, and maybe that’s why I’m having trouble believing that people my age and younger haven’t heard any of these or don’t recognize that 1D’s ripping them off. I thought Supernatural was, like, reigniting the classic rock love in the new generation or something.

    May 14, 2014
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    • I have only ever heard one 1D song (the most recent) so there has never been an opportunity for me to recognize any of the older songs.

      I did recognize Ace of Base’s “Don’t Turn Around” in Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro.” I was disappointed because I thought Gaga was better than that. The original wasn’t even a good song to begin with!

      May 14, 2014
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      • the-great-dragon
        the-great-dragon

        I’d guess that most people who listen to 80’s music/classic rock probably aren’t listening to 1D. If only because of the blatant similarities (i.e. 1D ripping off 80’s music apparently.)

        I didn’t catch the Ace of Base/Gaga thing (because I don’t listen to either). That is disappointing though. I know I recognize a lot of more underground songs being used in popular music and it’s frustrating for me.

        The worst (and most hilarious) example of ripping off though, is when Cheryl Lloyd stole fricken’ Oh My Darling, Clementine for the chorus of Swagger Jagger. I just, Clementine, come on.

        May 14, 2014
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  13. the-great-dragon
    the-great-dragon

    Oh man, the Little Black Dress one…smh

    May 14, 2014
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  14. Tori
    Tori

    I think I’m also going to have to go the youtube route because I’m a weird combination of too lazy to sign up for spotify and yet still motivated enough to do a buttload of individual searches? I don’t know. I do know that I really dislike those children. And this from the grown-ass woman who flew to another state to see the NKOTBSB tour. I have terrible standards for music and I STILL don’t like One Direction, so that should really say something about them (that they’re the worst, or up there anyway).

    I’m going to go ahead and go back to my frostiron fic because I’m clearly better than people who read 1D fic, right? Hmph.

    May 14, 2014
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    • the-great-dragon
      the-great-dragon

      Lol. Your first sentence describes me perfectly. I justify the Spotify laziness by reminding myself that I don’t want to have to manage yet another internet account.
      Tbh, I don’t have anything against 1D, because I was way into boy bands as a kid and I get the appeal. I mean it’s not really my genre, but in the words of Dave Grohl “I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, I believe you should be able to like what you like. If you a like a fucking Ke$ha song, listen to fucking Ke$ha.”

      May 14, 2014
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      • this is among the many reasons i love dave ghrol

        (in celebration of this fic i will not be ussing proper grammer

        (except for this because goddamnit i can’t not do it (its a habit i picked up in highschool when I read a cute little joke essay/story about grammar (if you can name it you gain a cookie

        ))))

        May 15, 2014
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    • Oh good, I’m not alone.

      I loooooved BSB/’NSYNC in my youth, and now I love K-pop and J-pop (Korean and Japanese pop). It’s basically ’90s pop but you know, Asian. Yet I still cannot like 1D. The guys just look like children to me and their music is mediocre. And I cannot like boy bands that don’t dance and can’t deliver a good live performance. My favorite K-pop boy groups can do insanely difficult choreographed dance routines (I know, because I’ve tried to learn them) while singing on key live, and 1D can’t do either, so I’m not here for that.

      I can kind of see the appeal for teenage girls but not women my age, yet so many seem to be losing their shit over these kids. I’ma chalk it up to one of the many mysteries of the world that I will never understand.

      May 14, 2014
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      • Lavender
        Lavender

        Agree, they look like children to me too. I find it sick-making when anyone over the age of twenty expresses how hot they are, because ew, no, they have the faces of twelve year olds. I almost had a fit laughing when they tried to grow beards for the ‘mature look’ in one of their latest videos; you can’t grow a beard when you’re twelve, so all that happened was pitiful patches of stubble that looked frankly embarrassed to be there.

        May 19, 2014
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  15. Last year, they were playing their album Up All Night on the CD player at work, and I secretly enjoyed it. Recently, though, they’ve been playing Midnight Memories, and I kind of want to ask them to bring Up All Night back. It’s clearly superior. “One Thing” is my jam.

    May 14, 2014
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    • Lieke
      Lieke

      I just listened to it and it sounds insanely similar to I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys.

      May 15, 2014
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  16. Lavender
    Lavender

    I don’t like One Direction not because they can’t sing (I heard them live back in their X factor days and yes, their voices aren’t bad) but because everything they say/do/sing is so nauseatingly, blatantly unoriginal and manufactured to make tween girls think they shit rainbows. And somehow it’s working.

    I know I was one once, but I’d forgotten how stupid (and scary) tween girls can be. Never mind how many MARRIED middle-aged women Harry Styles fucks, he’s a beautiful saintly virginal angel and if you dare to say otherwise they will hunt you down and fuck you up. I kind of love how they’re naive enough to think these boys are chaste Prince Charmings and yet are mature enough to send colourful death threats via Twitter. (I don’t at all have a problem with older women dating younger men, btw, but if you’re betraying your life partner with a floppy-haired fetus of all people, RE-EVALUATE YOUR LIFE)

    And now I don’t like ’em because not only do they not write their own material, they’re apparently nicking that material off better artists. Well done boys, your parents must be proud.

    May 19, 2014
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  17. isabella
    isabella

    I’m a fan of One Direction, but wow I’m disappointed now that all of this is pointed out. (No I’m not creepy, I’m under 18 lol.) I want to defend the boys by saying they co-write a lot of the lyrics, not the chords. To be completely honest, I’m not that sure I can.

    December 2, 2014
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  18. Kait
    Kait

    I can only here similarities with example one and nine. Maybe I’m just hard at hearing but everything else I don’t hear similarities between. I’m a fan of them and idk what to say. There newer music is way better though

    March 16, 2016
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    • Kait
      Kait

      I meant eight not nine. And *hear and *their oops

      March 16, 2016
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