Thursday, November 17, 2005

“Pinoy Ako” is actually “Penoy Akow”?

I am finally speaking after the “Pinoy Ako” controversy has pretty much watered down, although I am quite sure that the issue would still linger, primarily due to those rabid Orange and Lemons fans who would probably shoot anyone defaming their beloved band, and to those who wanted bands like Orange and Lemons to speak the truth behind the rip-off. Now that the radio stations and music channels are airing the band’s next single, let me state a few things before I finally move on.

A rip-off, period

To begin, I would like to reiterate what I posted earlier: “Pinoy Ako”, the song that catapulted Orange and Lemons to stardom, is a brazen rip-off from “Chandeliers”, a song of the defunct 80’s band The Care based in the United Kingdom. For those who staunchly defend Orange and Lemons, I dare them to actually listen to both songs. Why, even youngsters could tell that the chords and melody of both songs are practically the same!

But all you have to do is listen to both songs. You don’t have to be a music expert to know that “Pinoy Ako” was a “Chandeliers” rip-off. I am an avid listener of music, including new wave and rock music. Our band has performed mostly rock songs, particularly on the emo-punk and emo-core genres. But my limited knowledge of music says that “Pinoy Ako” was a second-rate, trying hard copycat of “Chandeliers”.

I already posted earlier on this issue, complete with audio files of “Pinoy Ako” and Chandeliers”. But here are the audio files of the two songs again, for those dismissing the issue outright as a black propaganda on the popular band and the skeptics out there who are too lazy or do not have the time to browse through my pages:

“Pinoy Ako” by Orange and Lemons
“Chandeliers” by The Care

I was able to have a link comparing the files at the same time. On the right speaker, you will hear the Care song, and on the left, the Pinoy version. Got this information from a new acquaintance, Pulp music magazine writer Giselle Roque:

“Chandeliers” and “Pinoy Ako” combined version 1

Another link combining the two songs:

“Chandeliers” and “Pinoy Ako” combined version 2

Several bloggers have tackled this rule as well, with some interesting findings. One such blogger is Alfie Vera Malla, who, according to his blog, is into New Wave (the Orange and Lemons said in their interviews that most of their influences came from 80’s or New Wave bands) and an Ian Broudie fan (Broudie was one half of The Care duo; Paul Simpson was the other). Malla said in his post that in his discussion with fellow new wave enthusiasts, “Pinoy Ako” was indeed a rip-off.

Alfie said: “As a fan of Care and as an enthusiast of Alternative Rock music for more than two decades now, I knew right away, upon first listen to the song in question, that it is not simply an accidental sound-alike of The Care’s ‘Chandeliers’, but that it is in fact a direct rip-off of this – something which the Orange and Lemons most likely thought would pass unnoticed because of The Care’s obscurity.”

He added: “In fact, even some friends who are not that much into music, more so Alternative Rock, after listening to both songs, did not find difficulty in passing judgment: ‘Both (songs) did sound uncannily alike’.” By the way, Alfie and Giselle are members of an e-group of New Wave musicians and enthusiasts. Alfie discussed the rip-off issue with the said e-group, with most of them concluding that indeed, “Pinoy Ako” was rip-off.

Another blogger wondered: “I wonder if the band Orange and Lemons realize that copyright infringement isn’t something to be proud of. She asked: “Anong sinasabi ng kantang ito? Na ipakita natin sa mundo na ang kaya lang ng Pinoy ay manggaya?”

“A part of me wants (Orange and Lemons) to get sued to teach them a lesson. A part of me feels sad that they had to resort to this to gain a foothold in the music industry. What had become of the local music industry?” another said.

Now, what are the arguments raised by Orange and Lemons in their defense?

The “seven-chord progression rule” defense

The foremost mantra taken by the band and fans was: The song did not violate the seven-chord progression rule, and therefore it did not plagiarize the Care song.

Alfie was able to find an article written by songwriter A-J Charron, who has written more than 60 articles for the Guitar Noise music website, who explained how to determine if a song plagiarized another. Taking Charron’s article in mind, I would say that, basing from the chord and melodic patterns of “Pinoy Ako”, the Orange and Lemons hit was a rip-off of the “Chandeliers” by The Care. Alfie also shares a similar view.

True, there are only a limited amount of notes and chords, and chances are, a song may sound similar to another. But “Pinoy Ako” was way too similar in The Care song in melody, chord pattern, and structure for comfort.

Giselle offers another rebuttal of the seven-chord progression defense of Orange and Lemons. She said in her email to me: “I hate to burst the bubble but the seven-chord progression rule, in landmark cases decided by foreign courts under the Intellectual Property Rights which have been in actual existence post- or pre-world war I (has proven to be) a flimsy defense since the pattern could be changed anytime by a fret or a half-note on the seventh note.

“Presently, under the eight-chord progression based on the drum and baseline, if the song or composition in question fails to change at the eighth base and drum progression then it is a vital requisite to be considered as a plagiarized material not discounting the facts of testimonies of credible witnesses and ‘scholars’ to that effect.

“This is what admittedly happened during the course of (the Orange and Lemons) song,” Giselle, who has been a music writer for Pulp since 2003 and a supporter of Filipino indie bands and OPM, explained.

Retorts, denials, explanation

I checked the interviews given by Orange and Lemons on the issue, and frankly, I could not understand their explanations. Talk about inconsistencies.

First, the band cried foul when they were accused of ripping off “Chandeliers”. In an article in the Manila Bulletin, the band said: “It saddens us because it’s unfair.” But they admitted that “perhaps” the “guitar intro part” was the reason why people think that “Pinoy Ako” was a rip-off. If you listen to most New Wave songs, almost all start with a guitar melody, the group said.

Well, maybe most New Wave songs probably started with a guitar melody, but definitely not all of them have guitar intro parts like “Chandeliers”! And besides, the similarities of both “Pinoy Ako” and “Chandeliers” did not stop at the intro part; it extended throughout the former, except for the chorus part which had some different chord and melodic patterns. I’m no New Wave guru, but I have yet to hear another New Wave song that sounded like “Chandeliers”, or any song for that matter. Well, save for “Pinoy Ako”.

In another Bulletin article written by Kate Villagomez also published on October 16, the band admitted to Giselle that they made the song “Carish”. In short, they know that The Care and “Chandeliers” exist, right? Why would they make the song “Carish” if they do not know that there is such a band called The Care?

Three days later, a Philippine Daily Inquirer article quoted vocalist and guitarist Clem Castro as saying: “We have no malicious intent. In fact, we’re not even aware that such songs (‘Chandeliers’) exist.”

Huh? Were Clem and the rest of his band taking crazy pills in their Bulletin and Inquirer interviews? Did they know that The Care and the song “Chandeliers” exist or not?

Ano ba talaga, mga kuya?

To further add insult to the injury, Clem was supposed to have said in the band’s e-group: “Eh ba’t kami magpapaalam? Magpasalamat pa nga ang The Care at pinasikat namin ang kanta nila.”

According to Giselle, the band admitted that they were pressured by ABS-CBN to compose a song for the then upcoming Pinoy Big Brother show, giving them only a few days to submit the song to the network’s bigwigs. Be that as it may, this does not mean that you could copy a song made by someone else. How would Orange and Lemons feel if one of their songs got plagiarized and they were not credited for it? The best thing that they could have done was asking for The Care’s permission to use the song. Or at least, they should have been decent enough to acknowledge the UK band early on, like other Filipino musicians did when they used songs of other musicians.

Some Orange and Lemons fans accuse me of crab mentality; that I am just riding on the band’s popularity. For you guys, I have three reasons: If only Orange and Lemons have been forthright about the rip-off and should have at least credited The Care for the song, then the issue would have died down easily. But, no, they have to wait for someone else to react, apparently thinking that nobody would notice the plagiarism anyway. I would not have known the issue too, had it not for the growing buzz on the rip-off and the band’s inconsistent stands on the controversy.

Second, why only “Pinoy Ako” when there were songs also ripped off by other Filipino musicians? “Pinoy Ako” was different from Session Road’s “Leaving You” and Cueshe’s “Stay” (songs also accused of ripping off songs from foreign bands) primarily because it talks about our pride as Filipinos. That, hey! We should be proud as Pinoys. As Giselle said in her email to me, “Cueshe, Session Road, etc. may not be getting much attention because their songs dealt with corporeal, if not, things which do not appeal to a Filipino’s sense of patriotism. However, Orange and Lemons’s song just hit “X” on the spot because it appeals to Filipino pride in general.”

And lastly, why would I engage in a black propaganda against Orange and Lemons? I love Filipino music, and I know the hard efforts of local indie bands to make more people listen to their songs. I do not personally know the guys from Orange and Lemons, aside from the fact that they are my fellow Bulakenyos. I was even a fan of the band. And then “Pinoy Ako” came along. When rumors about the rip-off started, I initially said that it was also a malicious attack against the band. When I heard the “Chandeliers”, my initial stand crumbled.

I promised myself and to my friends that this would be my last post on the controversy. If I would ever break my promise to write on this again, hopefully my post would be on the resolution of the issue. I pray that the issue would end with The Care properly credited for their song Orange and Lemons blatantly plagiarized, and the Pinoy copycat apologizing for misleading the public over the brouhaha.


Anonymous said...

so its the never ending battle between good and evil hehehe.

seriously, i like how u thoroughly (tamaba ishpelling?)discussed this rip-off issue.

i was really surprised when i first heard that song by the Care. my officem8 is an avid fan of ONL...and me too of course.

well after hearing it, yep i decided that... yeah it was a rip-off. but then again as a fan, i never lost my respect to ONL. they had me at hello, kaya cguro gs2 ko tlaga cla, rip-off or not. hehehe

they still give me "that indie-feeling" every once and a while.

kesa naman sa the hunks este cueshe pala.

keep on writing dude :)

Anonymous said...

Pinoy = gaya gaya

The song just proved it. And we should care. Sad sad sad.

As for Orange and Lemons, the band by itself is already a ripoff. Sorry for the fans, but your fav band is more of a lemon actually.

Oh god, give us back ely-buendia-like songwriters, sans the attitude. I still believe.

Anonymous said...

This is another pleasant surprise for me since I never expected that somehow, my interview with MB would create ripples and waves.

For those still in doubt regarding my claim re: 8 chord drum and baseline rule and where I got it, here's the link:

Hundreds of cases were compiled there from past to present regarding that issue, one is the famously infamous disney song "Someday my prince will come" would have been a winning case and Disney's loss however....please just read on.

Don't worry, you are not alone with the crab mentality issue.

skyray is love,

bryant said...

thanks. i liked ONL too before. Personally, I think they would restore the respect I and others once had for them if they just apologized over this issue and give credit to where it is due.

bryant said...

haha. definitely, ONL is way ahead of Cueshe. And I think they should remove the taller vocalist one. The one who doesn't do anything there except singing some lines which the other, the one with the lead, could do as well. parang masyado silang pa-cute. I think they got it from Hale. haha.

junie said...

mali ka. dapat ay penoy ako. ang hirap talaga. next song nila eh dapat fallen idol eheste, fallen brother pala.

Anonymous said...

ayan. since tapos na tong mabahang usapan tungkol sa OnL, try to see another ripoff, Session Road's Leaving You and Superdrag's Garmonbozia. kung sa tingin ng maraming tao na grabe na yung sa OnL, mas malala to. to the nth degree.

bryant said...

may accent kasi galing UK. so akow, instead of ako. :)

ace of hearts said...

almi here.
wala lang.
nilink kita.Ü

bryant said...

@ almi

hehe. sure no prob.

Anonymous said...

it only show's how f*cked up the music scene here is in the philippines.. please, can someone with a bit more knowledge come up and take over the mic.. how come they only show the untalented bands? what a waste and how embarrasing it is..

mic said...

it only shows how f*cked up the music scene here is in the philippines. please, can someone with a bit more knowledge come up and take over the mic. why do they have to commercialize all the untalented bands? its such a waste and such an embarassment...

mic said...

it only shows how f*cked up the music scene here is in the philippines. please, can someone with a bit more knowledge come up and take over the mic. why do they have to commercialize all the untalented bands? its such a waste and such an embarassment...

bryant said...

yes. isn't that depressing?

Anonymous said...

ang kanta pong ito ay aming nacompose para sa mga patay na patay sa kantang "PINOY AKO" ng ONL. marami ang di nakakaalam o ayaw pansinin na ang tunog ng PINOY AKO ay hango sa tunog ng THE CARE band na CHANDELIERS. kakatawa tau, pinag mamalaki natin na pinoy tau tapos lalabas na mang-gagaya lang pala tau, tsk tsk tsk.

sa mga gustong marinig to ng buong buo, you can contact us:

Bernie : 0921-6855486
Mapoo : 0927-7696142

medyo di namin na include kasi sa 1st album namin na may 10 original songs na hindi rip-off ha (na wala pa ding nag rerelease, hehehehehehe)

Hoy, Pinoy Nga Ba???


hoy, pinoy nga ba kayong talaga
at sabi nyo, lahat tayo'y may pagkakaiba
pero bakit, at ano itong aming napuna


mukang dito kayo'y sumabit na
at kami ay idadamay nyo pa


hoy, bilib pa naman kami sa inyo
at pati kami nakikantang taas noo
sa buong mundo, pilit pinaparinig ito


mukang dito tayo'y sasabit na
pati kami ay madadamay pa

hoy, walang pinoy na mang-gagaya
hoy, pinoy ay sadyang may kaya
hoy, wag nyo kaming gawing tanga
hoy, pati kami ay lolokohin nyo pa

hoy, bilib kami sa inyong pagsipra
plakadong-plakado ang bawat piyesa
pero bakit, nagmamaang-maangan pa


mukang dito kayo'y sumabit na
at kami ay idadamay nyo pa

sHuGa,,, said...

nakakainis na man o! hanga pa naman ako sa galing ng orange and lemons tapos ganun lang pala? manggagaya...
hanga nga ako nung nanood ako sa sea games. parating kinakanta ang song at sinasayaw pa. di natin alam, kinopya lang pala. tama nga yung kanta ng PUSTAC,,,taas noo natin itong kinakanta ngunit di pala dapat..muntikan na nga itong maging national anthem,,,,,*sigh* nakakaHIYA!! di ko na nga makayanang makinig sa kanta...mga politics nga ay nakikisayaw at nakikikanta sa song...*sigh* Sana man lang, nung kinopya nila ang kanta ng THE CARE, ay naisip nila, na kung sisikat yung kanta ay malalaman din ng buong mundo na kopya lang yun. *sigh* parang di na ko makakatulog nito....tulad din ng "ewan ko" ng SOUPDISH (tama ba ang banda?),,parang may katulad,,,,may mp3 nga ako sa kanta eh,,,
on the other hand, di nga maiiwasan ng mga musicians na makopya ang tono ng ibang kanta..dahil may iba kasing composers na kinukuha muna nila ang chords ng kanta, bago lagyan ng tono. ang resulta, parang nakopya. ang intro ng ONL at ng THE CARE ay magkatulad talaga. may parang violin lang ang sa THE CARE...mas sosyal...(oO,)

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