Well, not if you’re Joe Satriani. Joe’s claiming that Coldplay ripped off chunks his song If I Could Fly in Viva La Vida, and he’s suing the band for everything they’ve got – so essentially a U2 songbook, some tatty faux-Napoleonic jackets and a scrawny wife who always looks miserable.
Why wasn’t the comparison between the songs pointed out sooner? Because everyone knows that if you own a Coldplay album and a Joe Satriani album, you must be drowned like a witch, that’s why.
The problem with music is that there are only so many notes available to an artist, and only so many combination of notes they can use before songs start sounding familiar. That’s why sometimes you get a situation where Avril Lavigne writes a song that sounds a bit like Hey Mickey, a bit like The Rolling Stones, a bit like Peaches and a bit like some band we’ve never heard of and yet somehow worse than all of them.
It’s not plagiarism, it’s just an unfortunate coincidence. But what’s really unfortunate is when a band makes a song that sounds like another artist’s song and both performers are crap and the note progression in both songs is so woeful that it makes us want to saw through into our belly, feed our arm up through the hole and punch the bad noise out of our brain with our fists from the inside.
Which, hey, seems to be what’s happening with Joe Satriani and Coldplay.
In 2004, Joe Satriani – the guitar bore who makes music for people who don’t like music – released an album with the punchworthy title Is There Love in Space? The album contained a song called If I Could Fly, which nobody paid any attention to at first because it was boring and almost certainly the sort of thing that Noel Edmonds would enjoy using as his on-hold music.
Flash forward four years, though, and Coldplay have released song called Viva La Vida on an album of the same name which was boring and almost certainly the sort of thing that Noel Edmonds would enjoy using as his… hey, wait a minute!
Long story short, Joe Satriani’s now suing Coldplay for ripping him off. BBC reports:
In court papers filed in Los Angeles on Thursday, he said the song used “substantial original portions” of his 2004 instrumental If I Could Fly. Satriani, 52, wants a jury trial and is seeking damages and “any and all profits” for the alleged plagiarism.
But how similar are If I Could Fly and Viva La Vida? Luckily YouTube is all over this. Look…
OK, they are kind of similar. But it won’t be up to us to decide who’ll win this lawsuit. However, if Joe Satriani does win, it’ll be a terrible blow to Coldplay – not just a financial blow but, because one of Coldplay will actually have to admit to owning a Joe Satriani album, a blow to any notion that the band understands what good music sounds like.
But regardless of who wins the lawsuit, there can only be one loser here. And that’s us – the knowledge that two artists have chosen to use a melody so obviously stupid has pretty much obliterated what little remaining faith in humanity we had. If you need us we’ll be weeping in the corner.