Friday, April 8, 2011

Chip off Jenny’s block

Some songs have longevity and live on in our ears for years (excuse the nonsensical rhyming). This is probably the reason why artists decide to do covers or cleverly weave popular melodies into their own compositions. Point of fact, the latest Jennifer Lopez video, ‘On the Floor’ which blatantly borrows theLambada tune in the intro and chorus. Most would know the tune well since Bollywood had paid its own tribute to the popular number with ‘Sochna Hai Kya’ from the movie Ghayal. Now, there are two ways of looking at it. The first and the most obvious one being, this is a distasteful rip-off and Jenny should go back to her block and be blocked from making music. Second and perhaps a very considerate (and imaginative) stand would be to look at it as an emotional tribute to a melody that probably has a pleasant association for Jenny. But the fact that this song (Lambada) sold a lot of records dismisses the latter stream of thought, as ethical and even legal implications come to the table.   
But copying songs to the last note doesn’t even raise an eyebrow in our country. Having endured rehashed tunes over time, we’ve realised that ‘Haseena Gori Gori’ only made us appreciate ‘In the Summertime’ even more. While some argued, ‘It’s a fitting tribute’, others resorted to the popular excuse (also used for ‘inspired’ movies): ‘It’s helping reach out to people who would otherwise not have access to it’. Sure!    
Our indifference over this issue, however transformed into pride when M.I.A came up with her version of the Bappi-da classic ‘Jimmy’. We gloated in misguided pride over our very own desi disco anthem making waves globally, almost crediting ourselves for the composition. Like grooving to the song at one time, somehow contributed to its making?    
But now when rehashing and remixing have become the order of the day, there is only one concern that looms over us. Is the music industry headed for a creative recession? Can we actually create chart-toppers that don’t borrow a single drum roll from an anthem that belongs to another era? Will the new version of Dum Maro Dum become a hot favourite among clubs everywhere? The answer, my friend, is blowing in this Bengali song by Suman Chatterjee... Well, not really, it’s just another tribute to the Dylan classic or not.

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