Come As You Are vs Eighties

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Whatizitman, May 23, 2020.

  1. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Thought I would start a new Nirvana thread, as this is its own debate. I mean, if there is one, at this point.

    I’ve always loved Eighties by Killing Joke, since I first heard it, way back after it came out. I still love it, despite the lyrical subject matter and title being... dated.

    I also love Come As You Are. In fact, it’s the only Nirvana song I love. I like a few others. But three decades after the fact, I can take or leave them now.

    Now, I’m not bragging when I say I have an above average ability to recognize familiar song patterns, licks, hooks, etc... In fact, oftentimes it feels more like a curse than a skill. I’ll leave it at that. Despite that, I’ve never felt the two songs were close enough to warrant a rip-off’ label for Nirvana. Note wise, yes the main riffs are very similar. But that’s where it ends.

    Come As You Are has never reminded me of Eighties when I hear it. That’s a key part of it, IMO. I’ve never been able to hear Smooth without thinking of No One Like You, for example. Come As You Are is its own song. YMMV, of course. But that’s how it is for me.

    Important differences are notable. Cobain wrote in very simple yet brilliant pre-chorus and chorus sections. It breaks away enough from the verse to dramatically change the overall feel of the song. Returning to the verse riff is wonderful tension and release.

    It’s documented that Cobain was concerned about releasing it as a single, for this very reason. Clearly the bands harbor no ill will at this point, so it’s ultimately moot. And given my own experience with both songs, I’m good with it.

    Here’s for comparison. Anyone think otherwise?



     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
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  2. elpico

    elpico Tele-Holic

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    Things I've learned this week:

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    2- The amount of time people who "don't really like Nirvana" spend thinking about Nirvana and talking about Nirvana seems to be exponentially higher than what anyone who likes them would ever do.
     
  3. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Well, not really per topic. But it’s my thread. So, I say feel free to expound on this.
     
  4. elpico

    elpico Tele-Holic

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    That's either a really funny comeback or I've failed to communicate. Either way it made me smile :D
     
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  5. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Since this is a ‘Vs’ thread and I’m a Nirvana fan, Nirvana for the win!

    Seriously though, it’s a different song, different ideas are expressed. It’s not a rip-off, it’s a reference that was obvious and intentional and altered enough to satisfy artistic license, IMHO. That said, in current climate Nirvana was probably close enough in sound that getting written permission from KJ’s publisher/label first would of been a smart move, as most DJs have to nowadays to properly use a sample.

    Follow up question: is chorus essential to this riff?

    I say yes. If either one used it and other did not, it might of been less a hassle for the latter song.

    The Damned’s Life Goes On gave me stronger Come As You Are vibes. I think Garden of Delight’s 22 Faces is the rip off of Eighties, though, but what do I know? I do know The Equal’s Baby Come Back is bunk, totally off the mark.


     
  6. Brad Pittiful

    Brad Pittiful Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    blank generation vs stray cat strut
     
  7. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    Can we also talk about "Teen Spirit" and "Hot Child In The City"?

     
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  8. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    This was all pre YouTube. Something to consider. I heard Eighties on the radio, I believe, because I lived in a region in CA with two very prominent stations that helped bring ‘college radio’ to the masses in the early 80s. OTOH, I first heard Smells Like Teen Spirit on a variety rock station in rural Idaho, December ‘91. Yeah, that was almost a decade difference. But given that Nevermind was a major label release, I think it remarkable that Nirvana agreed to release Come as You Are as a radio single, despite Cobain’s reservations. Who outside of the few GenX musicians and fans who even knew who Killing Joke was would even notice, or care?
     
  9. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Let’s go with “failed to communicate”. It’s my thread, so I feel some duty to moderate. How’s that?

    Seriously. If you have a point to make, feel free to explain further. No harm. No foul.
     
  10. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    It's not your thread.

    You have no duty to moderate.
     
  11. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    The video was played on MTV, so a few more people than musicians and Killing Joke fans heard it.
     
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  12. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I don’t think it matters who noticed or not. I take your OP question as a philosophical and legal one, but noticing the connection is part of the fun. For example, when I head Coldplay‘s Talk ‘rip off’ Kraftwerk’s Computer Love, I was pessimistic—“90 percent of their fans have no clue where that comes from!”. Yet, you know YouTube democratized music, stole it from the music elite and redistributed it by giving a minutes access to any Joe Blow the minutiae of music history lol. Younger people were probably introduced to Kraftwerk through Coldplay, so whatever works. Anyways, the ones who got Come As You Are then were rewarded with the extra level reference, whether intentional, coincidence, or whatever. The fact Nirvana and the label went ahead and released it as a single then, well it was the early days of sampling and many HH songs didn’t get permission either (*looks at A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul).
     
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  13. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Oops. Sorry. I’ll shut up now.
     
  14. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    I’m sure it played on MTV. But I never saw it until YouTube existed. In Junior High (middle school) I was a chronic MTV watcher during the time Eighties was released to the radio. When Nirvana happened I didn’t hear about any comparisons. It wasn’t a song that showed up on soundtracks or flashback lunches, or whatever. Almost 20 or so years later When Napster was still free (before Lars Ulrich found out about it, I can only assume), it was one of the first songs I searched for, because I hadn’t heard it in so many years. In other words, it was still a fairly obscure song, compared to other contemporary “alternative” hits.

    In the post-Napster, YouTube world, this means little. But I think my experience is notable given the time frames both songs appeared. And more particularly because I didn’t have any Killing Joke albums. I really only knew that song. I can’t be that unique in that regard. Just sayin’.
     
  15. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Just did some googling. Even Tones On Tail showed up on the Gross Pointe Blank additional soundtrack. You’d think a song called Eighties would show up on something like that.

    I guess I’m just saying it says something about Curt Cobain that he was concerned about the song, when the label certainly wasn’t.
     
  16. tamer_of_banthas

    tamer_of_banthas Tele-Holic

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    i love nirvana but killing joke is definitely the reigning heavyweight champ in this battle of bands. no question.
     
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  17. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not sure how much the two songs are that similar, but the Nirvana song has certainly got the Killing Joke style down, even if it isn't directly copying the Eighties. The Feast of Blaze could be even closer, except the Nirvana song is much slower.


    I think it could have been a cheap shot at a popular band, when there are also bands where all of the songs sound like Killing Joke, for example Helmet.
     
  18. thunderbyrd

    thunderbyrd Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    can't analyze any of this, but I was very happy when Nirvana came along and murdered the hair metal industry.
     
  19. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    Why? Thunderbyrd, why...?

    Could you not fit in the spandex?

    (I agree with you on about 90% of hair metal, but actually like a good listen here and there)
     
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  20. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    Very close, same riff, same feel, same key. They both were successful. What's the point of this thread again?
     
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