Robin Thicke & John Beckwith aren’t the only acts sharing song titles
By Abby Johnston, 4:30PM, Thu. Aug. 29
Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” has become the most subversive pop song of the summer. It embroiled the crooner in legal battles with Marvin Gaye’s estate, spurred debate on its suggestive lyrics, and paraded around topless chicks in a NSFW video. Even as the hype began to fade, a VMA performance with Miley Cyrus twerked it back into the limelight.
Through all of this, Canadian classical composer John Beckwith became an unlikely beneficiary. In 1997, Beckwith composed a 10-minute harpsichord/violin dirge that shares a name with Thicke’s seasonal favorite. When Allegra Young, a recording and licensing manager with the Canadian Music Centre, noticed that Beckwith’s iteration of “Blurred Lines” received over 4,000 streams in a month, she deduced that the quarter-tone duet’s boost was likely a download snafu, and a sure genre-bending experience for surprised purchasers.
Beckwith and Thicke aren’t the only artists who share ill-paired songs with the same titles. We combed through past summer favorites and found unlikely, and at times cross-generational, song mates.
“Scream” Slipknot (2004)/Usher (2012) This may not be my favorite Usher song, but I’ll take it over any buried Slipknot B-side.
“Lights” Journey (1978)/Ellie Goulding (2012) I think we can go ahead and extinguish both of these lights.
“Somebody That I Used to Know” Elliott Smith (2000)/Gotye (2012) Gotye cleaned up, but I give Smith the win on this.
“Novacane” Beck (1996)/Frank Ocean (2011) Ocean bests the master of electronic quirk.
“Tonight Tonight” Smashing Pumpkins (1996)/Hot Chelle Rae (2011) In perhaps the most staggering contrast save for “Blurred Lines,” Smashing Pumpkins comes out on top, even if Hot Chelle Rae lodged itself in my brain for a good year.
“Rude Boy” Rihanna (2010), Skatalites (2011) If anything, there should be a mash-up of these two.
“Best I Ever Had” Drake (2009)/Chris Isaak (2009) In a rare same-year face-off, I have to give Drake’s inane single the crown over this awkward alt.country phase Isaak was transitioning through.