Did Belgium’s 2016 Eurovision Entry Rip-Off A Popular Pop Song?

Did Belgium’s 2016 Eurovision Entry Rip-Off A Popular Pop Song?

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Why we’re covering this: As pop fans, we pay attention to musical trends and call out imitators when we hear ’em. Plus, we love a bit of scandal, especially when it involves our favorite international singing competition!

Girl, when I tell you this news, you gon’ be a little shocked but it sounds like one of this year’s Eurovision contestants blatantly ripped-off a great British bop (and I’m not the only listener who thinks so). Belgium’s entry, ”What’s the Pressure” by Laura Tesoro is so similar to “Sax” by U.K. pop-star Fleur East that their similarity is a little uncanny.

First, let’s compare the two. Here’s “Sax” by Fleur East:

And here’s ”What’s the Pressure” by Laura Tesoro:

Here’s five things I noticed after playing the two back-to-back:

1) The intro to “Sax” starts with a strong baseline that gets your head turning and (once it gets going) so does Belgium’s. Their baselines are also similar to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”, but with a funkier flare.

2) The verses of both songs have the same exact beat structure, only Belgium’s has a softer tone to start whereas “Sax” comes at you pulsing!

3) Before the middle, you hear a literal saxophone in Belgium’s song. YES, THE SAX. The song almost made it without explicitly using it, but it’s there. It is there.

4) The only real difference between the two is the chorus. Though Tesoro tries, she can’t match what Fleur does. I know because I regularly sing Fleur’s “Sax” in the car at full volume… like, every day.

5) If you look at the comments on the YouTube video for “What’s the Pressure”, many of them ask “Why does this song sound like ‘Sax’ by Fleur East?” See, I’m not just biased.

Eurovision’s rules say that an entry must be an original song that’s never been commercially heard. The lyrics and most of the music in “What’s the Pressure” are different enough, it’s hard to ignore the enormous saxophone-elephant in the room. Plus, Fleur’s song came out in November 2015 and Tesoro’s song was released in January 2016, so it’s entirely possible that the songwriters used “Sax” as their template.

Granted, many pop-songs end up sounding kind of the same, so maybe it’s just that the two songs simply follow a bubble-gum formula, but they’re similar enough to make me think that Belgium is a shady lady.

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