U + Ur Hand, 4ever (mind the pun)
Okay, it’s a crap pun, but never mind that. Something struck me from the moment I first heard “U + Ur Hand” after its single release a month ago: hey, I’ve heard that chord sequence before! Itching to write a blog on it then, I decided to wait until I could find a (transcribed) version—just to make sure I wasn’t alone, and therefore possibly wrong, in my observation. As it turns out, my ear is as trustworthy as it always has been: I was spot on.
Yes, you musically-orientated genius, you’ve probably guessed it by now. “U + Ur Hand” (Pink) and “4ever” (The Veronicas) have almost identical chord charts for their choruses. For that matter, their melodies are also remarkably similar, but for me, the chord resemblance is more striking. The songs, both in a minor key, use the chord sequence I-VI-III-VII, repeated, for their first eight bars, before progressing to the subdominant. Wow. Such marked similarity.
It gets better—or worse, however you want to look at it. The songs are even in the same key! Yes, according to my sources, both songs are in E minor. This effectively means that their chorus’ harmonic structures are, quite indeed, identical. You could play them on top of each other and it’d sound perfectly harmonious. I haven’t actually tried that, owning copies of neither of the songs, and their tempi could, or probably would, be different, but if you want to give it a try, tell me how it goes.
As if that wasn’t coincidental enough, there’s more. The structures of the two melodies carry similarities, even if not as spectular as their harmonic ones. In “4ever”, bars 1-2, 4-5 and 13-14 (lines one, three and seven) use the same melodic idea. The equivalent bars in “U + Ur Hand” also use the same melodic idea (though not the same melodic idea as “4ever”). You don’t have to take my word for it. Have a think about it. You might even notice that bars 9-10 and 11-12 (lines four and five) of each chorus are similar to each other. Of course, the melodies themselves aren’t similar—that would be too obvious. But their underlying structures, like their harmonies, are.
My first inclination, and you couldn’t blame me for this, is to point a finger at Pink, or whoever composed that song, and point out the stark inoriginality that she demonstrated. Not wanting to jump to conclusion, I thought I’d double check that I had gotten their first releases in the right order. I had. At the risk of stating common knowledge, “4ever” was released before its album The Secret Life Of… was, going back to August 2005. I’m Not Dead wasn’t released till April 2006. Now, granted, I haven’t then taken the next step of checking the composition dates, but for all intents and purposes, I think I’ve done enough. Two songs are too similar to each other for comfort, and one came well after the other. That one was “U + Ur Hand”, and the first-released one was “4ever”.
For comparison, here are the two choruses, side by side (arranged to have line breaks at bar lines rather than lyric breaks. Sorry it looks all broken, I couldn’t figure out how to easily align the chords and lyrics up properly.):
|4ever||U + Ur Hand|
|Come on baby we ain’t gonna||live forever,||I’m not here for your||entertainment,|
|Let me show you all the||things that we could||You don’t really wanna||mess with me to-|
|do. You know you wanna||be together,||night. Just stop and||take a second,|
|And I wanna||spend the night with||I was fine before you||walked into my|
|you. Yeah,||yeah. With||life. ‘Cause you||know it’s over,|
|you. Yeah,||yeah.||before it||began.|
|Come with me tonight, we could||make the night last for-||Keep your drink, just||give me the money,|
|ever.||Oh||It’s just you and your||hand tonight.|
Okay, yea, I analyse everything, as those who know me would know, but you couldn’t blame me for this one. I didn’t have to analyse the songs to notice their similarity—just to double-check my observations. Those chords, by my figuring, are different in exactly two places, where one song changes chord while the other doesn’t. And the one that does just goes to the relative minor, a change that’s barely one at all. And the later-released song is the one that doesn’t. Hmm. Go figure.