Adam Levine defends Olivia Rodrigo against plagiarism charge: More of a gray area

As soon as Olivia Rodrigo’s album Sour came out, people have been talking about whether Olivia was homage-ing too hard with certain songs. Meaning, accusations of songwriting plagiarism have been widely circulated on social media. Rodrigo is credited as a co-writer of every song on the album, but because of a YouTube fan video, she ended up adding Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Joshua Farro to the songwriting credits for “good 4 u” because it apparently sounds so much like Paramore’s “Misery Business.” This kind of thing has become more and more common as average people with any kind of musical background can create side-by-side audios and videos pointing out how artists borrowed this hook or that bridge or what have you. Adam Levine stepped up and defended Olivia recently:

Maroon 5’s Adam Levine believes Olivia Rodrigo deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to accusations she copied other artists while making her chart-topping debut album, “Sour.” Levine, a seasoned songwriter with three Grammys under his belt, explained that writing music is “tricky” and artists sometimes “rip something off inadvertently.”

“It’s a natural thing for it to happen, and sometimes it gets ugly and sometimes it’s warranted that people take legal action,” the 42-year-old Maroon 5 frontman explained on his Instagram Story on Friday. “Sometimes it’s not warranted that people take legal action. And I think there’s definitely become more of a gray area that’s reared its ugly head these days.”

“The Voice” alum’s defense of Rodrigo, 18, came one day after it was revealed that Paramore’s Hayley Williams and Joshua Farro were retroactively added to the writing credits of her hit single “Good 4 U.” The decision came after fan-made mashups of Paramore’s “Misery Business” and Rodrigo’s “Good 4 U” went viral on social media because of how eerily similar the songs are. Levine went on to refer to Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s “Blurred Lines” lawsuit from 2015, in which Marvin Gaye’s family won a $7.3 million settlement when a jury agreed that the hit song plagiarized Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.”

“Without giving an opinion on what I think as far as how that one turned out, I do think that we should probably meet this with a little more compassion and understanding and try to find a way,” Levine said, adding, “All this calling out, it’s like, music is a creative thing and I just hate to see it crushed.”

In June, Courtney Love slammed Rodrigo for the similarities between the “Sour” album cover and Hole’s 1994 album cover for “Live Through This.”

“Spot the difference! #twinning!” the Hole singer wrote on social media alongside a side-by-side of the prom-themed album covers. The 57-year-old went on to call Rodrigo “rude.”

Meanwhile, Elvis Costello dismissed accusations on Twitter that Rodrigo’s “Brutal” ripped off his 1978 song “Pump It Up” — while also admitting he’s done the same thing in the past. “It’s how rock and roll works,” Costello, 67, responded to a fan’s tweet about the similarities between the two songs. “You take the broken pieces of another thrill and make a brand new toy. That’s what I did #subterreaneanhomesickblues #toomuchmonkeybusiness.”

[From Page Six]

Just going from memory, not all of these situations end with lawsuits like the “Blurred Lines” issue. Sam Smith ended up paying Tom Petty rather quietly when Petty brought a similar issue to Sam (Petty even defended Sam). Kelly Clarkson was accused (by some fans) of copying Jimmy Eat World, only Jimmy Eat World shrugged it off and didn’t make it into any kind of thing. Personally, I don’t think Olivia has been consciously plagiarizing other artists, but it is something that her producers should have picked up on.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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