If you heard Taylor Swift's new single "Look What You Made Me Do" and started singing "I'm Too Sexy," you are on to something.
No sooner had "Ooh look what you made me do" been uttered from Swift's lips than my brain finished the lyric with "too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts." Instantly, I was texting all of my friends with my discovery — a text they get all too often, if I'm honest. Finding songs that fit the chord progression and beat of another song is my one good party trick, but this time it was more than that.
Yesterday, the internet was abuzz with tweets and reactions to Taylor Swift's new single from her forthcoming album, Reputation. Fans and music publications alike were expressing their thoughts on the dark departure from the singer's usual style, but one thought pervaded – have we heard this before? Yes, yes we have. The familiar rhythm from the 1991 hit "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred is nearly impossible to ignore. Before you question whether this is just another viral internet theory, read on. A closer look at the writing credits for Taylor's new song and you will find the names of all three of the members from Right Said Fred.
According to a story run by Vulture, Taylor Swift, songwriter and producer Jack Antonoff (seriously, who isn't collaborating with him these days?), along with their publishers approached Right Said Fred's publishing company, Spirit Music Group, asking for permission to interpolate the song. For those of us who do not work in the music industry, interpolating a song is when an original recording rather than the original master copy is incorporated into a song. So while the hit '90s band got a writing credit, they did not co-write the song with Swift or directly collaborate with her.
In fact, the band didn't even know about the arrangement until two days ago! They heard the song with the rest of the world when it was released yesterday.
If you're reading this next paragraph ready to hear about a new drama involving Taylor Swift, you might be disappointed to hear that there isn't one. Fred Fairbrass, lead singer of Right Said Fred, spoke with Vulture and made it clear that he and the rest of the band were honored to have their song used. “Songwriters are the life blood of the industry. Artists and writers of all varying degrees of success should be treated fairly,” Fairbrass said, expressing his complete trust in their publishing team. “How Taylor and her team have treated us should be commended. Time and again we see artists go ahead with clearly stolen ideas, but we’ve been treated fairly.”
Fairbrass went on to say that while he wasn't sure whose idea it was to make them co-songwriters, but that he expecting a huge increase in their royalty checks adding, “Longevity for all artists is quite difficult, and to have a song last 26 years later and to get this profile is very rare."
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