The Briefing > July 17, 2012

It’s important that we treat Gwen Stefani like we would treat any other popstar even though she is better than most of them

The new No Doubt single ‘Settle Down’ is unequivocally brilliant.

Bits of it also sound like Paris Hilton’s ‘Stars Are Blind’.

We suppose by extension it also sounds like ‘Kingston Town’ but it’s mainly the “baby I’m perfect for you” bit from the Paris single that we are chatting about today.

‘Stars Are Blind’:

‘Settle Down’:

So it’s only one bit, but it’s not a subtle similarity. It jumps out like a twat in a mask on Halloween.

It felt a bit weird not mentioning it yesterday, but we didn’t think it seemed appropriate. It didn’t seem in keeping with The Public Mood. People were happy, they were excited, they were relieved. Who needs someone turning up and shitting on the birthday cake with a Paris Hilton comparison?

Also, it’s Gwen. It’s No Doubt. These people wouldn’t knowingly rip off a Paris Hilton song, would they? Still less expect to get away with it, or for it to go unnoticed by the online Song Similarity Police.

It’s a confusing comparison, too. ‘Stars Are Blind’ is not a bonafide classic by one of pop’s greatest legends. It’s a fairly minor hit by a laughing stock. But we also love it.  In fact, while the instrumentation would have been different, it’s easy to listen to ‘Stars Are Blind’ now and imagine that if No Doubt had dropped it yesterday instead of ‘Settle Down’ we’d all be going mental over it. So while we wouldn’t consider it a diss to say that a song sounds like a Paris Hilton single, it might have looked like it was.

So that’s why we didn’t mention anything yesterday. Too complicated. We’re mentioning it today for two reasons.

Firstly because it seems silly not to have mentioned something so obvious, and it’s silly to think that Gwen and pals are exempt from this sort of thing just because they are Gwen and pals. Nobody said they were, of course, we just momentarily thought they were yesterday morning.

Secondly, Lady Gaga was crucified last year because a bit of ‘Born This Way’ sounded like a bit of ‘Express Yourself’. Blonde popstar copies blonde popstar, blah blah blah. To a lot of people she is still a laughing stock as a result. She could have handled the fallout differently, of course, but we were a bit surprised and alarmed by the glee with which the comparison was made by the pointing-and-LOLing brigade. And what we want to say today, really, is: sometimes songs sound like other songs. Even people like Gwen and No Doubt make songs that sound like other songs. ‘Settle Down’ isn’t a bad song because a bit of it sounds like a bit of a great (but widely derided) Paris Hilton song. It’s still great.

This has tailed off a bit hasn’t it. Basically:

1. One song sounds like another.

2. Sometimes it happens.

3. We’ve decided in a rather self important way that everyone should get over it, but not before we’ve posted a thing about it on the front page of our website.

4. Leave Gaga alone.

5. Leave Gwen alone in case you’re thinking of having a go.

6. We’re not having a go at Gwen in case you think we are.

7. Yes, ATRL forums, we did make this about Lady Gaga.