The Dresden Dolls vs. Sebadoh vs. The Magnetic Fields

Adam submitted this gem.

Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls) answers some fan mail in her blog and talks a bit about songwriting. Amanda admits to using the melody from Sebadoh‘s 1994 “Skull”. She has a a great attitude about it. (Speaking of Amanda Palmer, check out her Kickstarter project that has raised over a MILLION DOLLARS for her tour!)

Amanda Palmer on ThatSongSoundsLike

A Marieclaires asked: I would also like to know how right or wrong it is to subconsciously pick up melodies from other song writers, even if it’s from the classical era or maybe something you heard on tv that day. As an artist this has always been something that bothers me.

HA. the truth remains: “talent borrows, genius steals”. honestly, everything IS stolen and appropriated. EVERYTHING. from back to mozart to gaga to madonna, it’s all a continuum. theft is WAY better when you don’t know you’re doing it, though.

it was a year after i wrote “the jeep song” (on the dresden dolls’ first record) that i realized i stole (not borrowed, not slightly cribbed: STOLE) the opening melody straight out of a sebadoh song. i’d had no idea. i was REALLY EMBARRASSED. go listen: you’ll hear the rip-off in about 6 seconds.

but you know who cared? nobody.

not even lou barlow [of Sebadoh], when i told him. he thought it was nice.

so, yeah, no worries.everything is stolen….ish.if you can make a good song with frankensteined pieces from 6 other songs, go for it. i don’t care. as long as your song is its own new entity, with something new to reflect out of the mashed-up ashes.

So after listening to “The Jeep Song” I heard another distinct melody that reminded me of “I Have the Moon” by The Magnetic Fields. Note: All three bands here are from Massachusetts. And just for you Amy I put together my own “frankensteined” clip.


The Dresden Dolls - "The Jeep Song" (2003)
Sebadoh - "Skull" (1994)
The Magnetic Fields - "I Have the Moon" (1994)
Sebadoh + The Magnetic Fields = - "The Jeep Song" (1994)

UPDATE: Thanks for the tweet Amanda!


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4 Replies to “The Dresden Dolls vs. Sebadoh vs. The Magnetic Fields”

    1. Keith Post author

      What!? That Shania Twain song sounds just like “Dancing Queen”! Also that ABBA track reminds me of Madonna “Into the Groove” (1985)

  1. Carlos

    The thing is, if you “frankenstein a song out of 6 different songs” yet the song is it’s own entity, you are essentially “borrowing” not “stealing”. To me, “stealing” is copying something exactly the way it is and straight off the tape, “borrowing” takes it’s influence (sometimes obvious, sometimes not) and makes something of it’s own with it.

    But it’s all semantics anyways.


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