synchronicity vs. plagiarism

I recently got hold of an early French Kicks CD, 2002’s One Time Bells. And immediately, the electric piano part on its first track “Wrong Side” sounded familiar. (Note: give me credit, with that album title, that I did not just write “rang a bell.” Thank you.)

And sure enough, thinking a bit and pulling out the Spinto Band’s fine 2005 release Nice and Nicely Done and putting on “Brown Boxes“: after the opening bit featuring kazoo (!?), there it is…a very similar electric piano part.

My guess is that this is just a coincidence: it’s not as if the part is all avant-garde and supercreative, plus the songs otherwise are quite dissimilar. But the resemblance is definitely closer than the cases of several far better known supposedly similarities, such as Nirvana’s “Come as You Are” vs. Killing Joke’s “Eighties,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” vs. Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” (Cobain was a talented borrower…but also, like a tailor, he did alterations), or the more recent blowup featuring Spoon’s “Cherry Bomb” and How I Became the Bomb’s “Killing Machine.”

French Kicks “Wrong Side” (One Time Bells, 2002)
The Spinto Band “Brown Boxes” (Nice and Nicely Done, 2005)

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