Today a video that sets out to “prove” that Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” and Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” and Miley Cyrus’ “Permanent December” are “the same song” made the rounds, and as you can imagine, it got a lot of pickup from people who like getting all OMG [INSERT LOATHED ARTIST HERE] IS SUCH A RIPOFF SUCK ARTIST. What I don’t get is why the rhetoric surrounding the video has turned into a matter of artistic intent of the three singers, instead of a look at the similarities behind the scenes. To wit:
"Tik Tok" is credited to Kesha “Ke$ha” Sebert, Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, and Benjamin “Benny Blanco” Levin.
"Calfornia Gurls" is credited to Katy "Ugh" Perry, Bonnie "Hey Guys I Was In ‘The Long Tail’" McKee, Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus, Max Martin, and Dr. Luke.
"Permanent December" is credited to Miley Cyrus, John Shanks, and Claude Kelly. Kelly co-wrote Kelly Clarkson’s "My Life Would Suck Without You" with Max and Luke, Britney Spears’ "Circus" with Luke and Benny, Miley Cyrus’ "Party in the U.S.A." with Luke and Jessica Cornish, and Adam Lambert’s "For Your Entertainment" with Dr. Luke. Obviously I’m not privy to how exactly those credits break down, but you do see a pattern here. Shanks has writing credits on, among other songs, Hilary Duff’s "Come Clean" (with Kara DioGuardi!!), a bunch of songs from Ashlee Simpson’s Autobiography, and some of the non-singles from Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway.*
So, to sum up: People who worked together have aesthetics that have rubbed off on one another. I mean, ugh, I know it’s the Internet, and OMG CONTROVERSY is the name of the pageview-goosing game. And it’s not like there are Dr. Luke fangirls clogging up ONTD and big-upping their hero and his protégés and collaborators 24/7. But Jesus, people. If you want to bitch about songs on the radio sounding the same, maybe scratch the surface as far as Wikipedia and figure out why?
* Shanks also produced and co-wrote Swirl 360’s Ask Anybody, which was an amazing attempt to answer the question, “what if Adam Schlesinger and the guy from the Posies tried to write a real-life pop album?” It didn’t really work commercially, but it is a really fun record. You can probably find it for cheap on Amazon.