The 5 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Courtney Barnett and Natalie Prass

Despite the debut of much-discussed collaborations from Rihanna, Paul McCartney, and Kanye, and Big Sean, Drake, and Kanye again, I’ve got to give this week to a batch of damn promising solo singer-songwriters, including Courtney Barnett and Natalie Prass. From Barnett and Prass to Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and Torres (who both released great new songs this week) to Jessica Pratt and Waxahatchee, the new music I’m most excited about right now is coming from young women leading their own bands and channeling their personal experiences into song. … Read More

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Listen to Big Sean’s “Blessings” feat. Drake — And a Remix feat. Kanye West

Big Sean dropped a welcome surprise on the Internet last night: “Blessings,” a skulking track featuring Drake, complete with… Read More

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Listen to Courtney Barnett’s Killer New Song, Off Her Just Announced Album

Courtney Barnett, the rising rock singer-songwriter known for her clever observations of everyday life, has announced the details of… Read More

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How to Get Away With Pop Music Plagiarism

This week, the big topic of conversation among music fans is whether the chorus of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” sounds enough like Tom Petty’s 1989 hit “Won’t Back Down” to warrant the 12.5 percent songwriting credit recently awarded to Petty and his co-writer, Jeff Lynne. Copyright infringement as it applies to songwriting plagiarism goes beyond merely how a song sounds, and if a songwriter even intended to copy the work of another. The field has become more and more litigious in recent decades, and to an outsider, the situation can look a bit creatively limiting. Sometimes people do go to court and win, but many big cases settle out of court on the basis of subconscious plagiarism. What a scary landscape to live in as a musician — being responsible for inadvertently copying someone else’s work you’ve never even heard. … Read More

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