Blurred Lines

Robin Thicke & John Beckwith aren’t the only acts sharing song titles

Blurred Lines

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.

Slipknot (2004)/Usher (2012)
This may not be my favorite Usher song, but I’ll take it over any buried Slipknot B-side.

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.

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 phase Isaak was transitioning through.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Robin Thicke
Last Christmas
Last Christmas
How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

Nina Hernandez, Dec. 24, 2013

More by Abby Johnston
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

Best Live Music Performances of 2018
Best Live Music Performances of 2018
The bands and venues that kept our critics on their feet

Dec. 28, 2018


Robin Thicke, John Beckwith, Journey, Ellie Goulding, Elliott Smith, Gotye, Beck, Frank Ocean, Smashing Pumpkins, Hot Chelle Rae, Rihanna, Skatalites, Drake, Chris Isaak, Blurred Lines, Slipknot, Usher

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle