Friday, October 16, 2009

Song Showdown: Girlfriend vs. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

Is superstar Avril Lavigne really a big time plagiarizer?

In case you do not know what I am talking about, I will give you a brief synopsis on the scandal with Avril Lavigne's song that was apparently stolen from another band. In 2007, Avril released her single “Girlfriend” and it became an instant hit. However, a band called The Rubinoos weren’t too pleased as they sued Avril for a copyright violation. They claimed that Girlfriend was stolen from their song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”. However, Avril’s response was that she had “never heard that song in her life” and that “all songs share similar lyrics and emotions”.

I analyzed these two songs, and I will explain the differences and similarities between them. With each song’s lyrics, the general theme of the song is very similar, as it is about the artists wanting someone of their own, and making sure that they get them as their boyfriend/ girlfriend. As for the actual verses, there aren’t many similarities. However, the choruses stand out as close to identical.

The Rubinoos:

Hey, hey, you, you, I wanna be your boyfriend
Trying to say I wanna be your number one
Hey, hey, you, you, I wanna be your boyfriend
Gonna make you love me before I’m done

Avril Lavigne:

Hey, hey, you, you, I don't like your girlfriend
No way, no way, I think you need a new one
Hey, hey, you, you, I could be your girlfriend

As for the rhythm and melody of each song, they are completely different. Avril Lavigne has her punk, hard hitting voice with the strong pop/rocker beat. The Rubinoos’ song sounds much different as it is happy go lucky, feel good and acoustic, more like an 80’s song. The only part of Avril’s song that sounds the same is when she says “hey, hey, you, you”, as you can distinctly catch the likeness from the other song. One could argue that some of the drum beats in the two songs sound the same, but that would be as far as anyone could nitpick.

There is also a difference with the speed/tempo of the two songs. Girlfriend is faster than I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend. The beat sounds like it could be the same, but just sped up. With the vocals, Avril’s singing is quick while the Rubinoos take their time with the words and sound much slower.

Hear for yourself:


The Rubinoos:

It is hard to say if Avril Lavigne plagiarized or not. There isn’t much evidence to prove this, as the two songs aren’t identical. However, Avril has been accused of stealing songs before, and I would not be surprised if that was the case with Girlfriend. She clearly tried everything to get out of this mess and she could have easily lied about never hearing of the Rubinoos.

Personally, the songs are not identical enough to convince me of plagiarism, but I agree that it still breaks copyright violations. Even if Avril did steal the song, this would not affect her career in the least. People listen to her songs because they sound good and are catchy, not because of who wrote them. She may lose a little disrespect from her fans, but not enough for them to stop supporting her by listening and buying her music.