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View Full Version : Why I get a "tick" when I hear riffs that sound the same.


JRA
11-03-2009, 05:56 PM
Foreword: Having aspergers, sometimes I take issue with the most trivial of issues. Often I find by talking it out I realize I don't need to debate it with someone to move past it. So let's talk about the one thing about me that probably annoys everybody here, my issue with similar sounding riffs.

This can be traced back to a single incident. I was also surrounded by floor-mates that loved pop-punk and emo. Being young, optimistic and wanting to convert people, I had an asinine theory that if I played something for people that kinda sounded like something that they liked, without it sounding like the same thing, they'd like it. And thus I could slowly but surely turn them into my followers. Yea, right.

So I had a floor-mate who wrote his own stuff on acoustic guitar. Sophomore year in college I was really into The Who (or at least their hits). I chose to play for him an acoustic song, but one that rocked balls: Magic Bus. Another floormate happened to be present at the time, and as we are listening to Magic Bus, he starts singing "Talkin Bout my generation, hahaha it all sounds the same!" to which he, and the actual person I was playing for at the time, walked out, leaving me, all alone and fucking stupefied in somebody else's room.

I was fucking shocked. I mean I wasn't listening to the Who for very long, but I had never ever noticed that before. I still listen to both Generation and Bus on a semi-regular basis, but I never quite felt the same way about it.

Since then, even though most people either love metal or hate it, my subconcious has been scowering catalogues of songs for similarities, because God fucking forbid I ever be humiliated like that again. It's a blessing and a curse; on the one hand, if I don't notice it somebody else probably would, and eventually their argument would sink in, but on the other, it irrationally hinders my love of music. I mean shit, there's only like what 10 or 11 scales in guitar, and only 8 notes in western music, so there's only so many combinations of notes you can use. and in the 50 plus years of rock, surely all the ideas have to been used up by now. But still, I can only listen to Gamma Ray on shuffle for so long before I start thinking "haven't I heard this riff already?"...

DethMaiden
11-03-2009, 06:33 PM
Here's the thing. A riff might be repeated in multiple songs, but it will probably be played at a slightly different tempo and repeated a different number of times, and the bass and drums will probably be doing something different. Furthermore, there's no way the arrangement is the same. The songs aren't the same because the riff is similar. Personally, I've never heard two songs that I've liked that are too similar to each other to make me like the more recent one any less. That's just me.

I understand it's hard to move past, but maybe now that you've gotten it out you'll realize it doesn't matter if riffs gets recycled through the years, and it doesn't make anything worse than anything else. Maybe you'll even stop hearing the riffs recur.

SomewhereInTime72
11-03-2009, 07:01 PM
I was just listening to Magic Bus earlier today and I was like, HOLY SHIT SAME RIFF.

Crazy. :eyes:

ChildrenofSodom
11-03-2009, 07:04 PM
I don't think the average person pays that much attention to how similar any two riffs are, for the reason that Brad gave: the rest of the song is different.

Maiden33
11-03-2009, 07:12 PM
Random food for thought of similarity. Being that JRA is a big Kai Hansen fan, he should find this interesting:
About 3 years ago when I became very familiar with Gary Moore's song "Out in the Fields", I noticed something. The direct influence this song had on Helloween's "I Want Out", and arguably nearly every formulated power metal "single" in the future (see: Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, other random bands). Now, most of you here are probably very familiar with I Want Out and don't need the link to listen to it, but I will post it any way. Take the time to listen to Out in the Fields first, and think about the melodies, the song structure, the chord structure, the patterns, and all the little bits and pieces. Then listen to I Want Out. You will be stunned with the similarity. You can practically sing the songs over one another, they are so structurally and melodically similar.

Gary Moore's "Out in the Fields":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsKpazeA5L8
Helloween's "I Want Out":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjV8SHjHvHk

JRA
11-03-2009, 07:23 PM
Random food for thought of similarity. Being that JRA is a big Kai Hansen fan, he should find this interesting:
About 3 years ago when I became very familiar with Gary Moore's song "Out in the Fields", I noticed something. The direct influence this song had on Helloween's "I Want Out", and arguably nearly every formulated power metal "single" in the future (see: Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, other random bands). Now, most of you here are probably very familiar with I Want Out and don't need the link to listen to it, but I will post it any way. Take the time to listen to Out in the Fields first, and think about the melodies, the song structure, the chord structure, the patterns, and all the little bits and pieces. Then listen to I Want Out. You will be stunned with the similarity. You can practically sing the songs over one another, they are so structurally and melodically similar.

Gary Moore's "Out in the Fields":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsKpazeA5L8
Helloween's "I Want Out":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjV8SHjHvHk

You have in fact told me this already. The only thing I found similar was that the lyric "Out" appears in the same spot in the two choruses. That wasn't enough to get me all bummed out about "I Want Out."

Edit: There's also a halftime bridge. Big fuckin whoop.

Maiden33
11-03-2009, 07:34 PM
You have in fact told me this already. The only thing I found similar was that the lyric "Out" appears in the same spot in the two choruses. That wasn't enough to get me all bummed out about "I Want Out."

Edit: There's also a halftime bridge. Big fuckin whoop.

You're missing a lot of the similarities. Some of it may come from the fact that I know how to play these songs on guitar, so I know some of the similarities the ear can't hear.

-Both songs have the same technique of the first verse dropping out to just bass, drums, and vocals, with the distorted guitar really kicking in on the prechorus.
-The placement of "Out" really is far from the only similarity between the two choruses. You can sing one over the other pretty much perfectly.
-The songs have the same exact key change in the same exact spot (D minor to E minor, connecting the final chorus to the outro)
-Aforementioned half-time bridge in the same spot, also the same key change (A minor)
-Both have quiet sections between the solo and the final chorus
-Songs follow the exact same structural map, and the chords to each respective section are very similar.
-Both songs have a melodic lead which appears in the same places within the songs and nowhere else.

Considering Kai Hansen is an outspoken Gary Moore/Thin Lizzy fan, coincidence? I doubt it.

mankvill
11-03-2009, 08:09 PM
Don't ever listen to Iced Earth, then.

IrritatedTrout
11-03-2009, 08:42 PM
Speaking of Gamma Ray, there is a part of one of the songs (don't remember which one) off of Land of the Free II that sounds exactly like Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Maiden33
11-03-2009, 08:49 PM
Speaking of Gamma Ray, there is a part of one of the songs (don't remember which one) off of Land of the Free II that sounds exactly like Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

You're thinking of "Opportunity", and I've heard that comparison before, but honestly it's MUCH more similar to the bass bit in The Clairvoyant than Rime. There are about a dozen similarities to both Maiden stuff and previous Kai-works on that album.

Dextrimental
11-03-2009, 11:25 PM
I feel repetitive riffs are only very annoying in two circumstances:

1) The band are around for 20+ years and use the riff twice, but in the same execution in the same place in songs that are years apart from each other.

2) A crappy younger band are blatantly copying an older cand, example: BFMV - Waking the Demon, copies Slayer - Spirit in Black

Im not giving giving an example for the first one cuz, well, I wanted to bash BFMV a lil ;)

With regards the Helloween thing, I think stuff like that is more forgivable as both talents are formidable, and its an influence thing, not a rip off thing.

ravenheart
11-04-2009, 12:22 AM
I get quite annoyed when people use riffs that are someone else's. Motorhead's 'No Class' and ZZ Top's 'Tush', for instance.

Then of course there are bands like U2, who use the same riff on every single one of their songs...

mankvill
11-04-2009, 12:23 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88jlseWPs_o

SomewhereInTime72
11-04-2009, 06:32 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88jlseWPs_o

Lol.

hey guys the wicker man = running wild

makethemsuffer12
11-04-2009, 12:25 PM
One that I noticed a while back was Trivium ripping off Dio's "We Rock" in "Anthem (We Are the Fire)". Another real big one is Machine Head ripping off the "Die" part in "Creeping Death" in "Clenching the Fists of Descent". And of course the countless melodic death metal/metalcore riffs.