Is Ariana Grande just a renovated Mariah Carey? Are Brendan Urie and Patrick Stump dating—or are they the same person? The truth is out there.
Though all music borrows in some way from other music, sometimes bands or artists just sound and/or look uncannily similar to each other.
These similarities raise pressing questions: how and why do these bands sound so alike? Could there be some dark secret behind their successes, some cloning initiative launched once music industry executives realized they could just repackage the same artist under a different name and double their profits?
Regardless of how much of the truth you're willing to see, this list exposes pairs of bands or artists that not only sound the same but also seem to occupy the same cultural purpose, performing the same symbolic and emotional roles for fans everywhere.
1. Cage the Elephant and the Black Keys
Cage the Elephant and the Black Keys are different bands. It's a proven fact. And yet are they? They both feature singers with mid-range voices and vaguely Southern drawls. They both use grungy guitars that sound like they've been filtered through a litany of overdrive pedals. They both make songs that have lyrics—but are the songs really about anything, or are they both just kind of sad attempts to fill the hole created by rock and roll's death?
Objective facts tell us that these bands are indeed different—Cage the Elephant opened for the Black Keys on several tours, and Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach produced Cage the Elephant's 2015 album and their new 2019 single. But is it so hard to believe that some rip in the fabric of the time-space continuum created a world in which two slightly different iterations of the exact same band can walk around at the same time? Even some of their biggest hits like "Gold on the Ceiling" and "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" are eerily similar, both relying on ominous bass lines and sparse, punchy guitar hits.
The Black Keys - Gold On The Ceiling [Official Music Video] www.youtube.com
Cage The Elephant - Ain't No Rest For The Wicked (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
2. Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande
They both have stratospheric ranges, prima donna pop culture royalty and/or meme status, and impressive whistle tones. Sure, Ariana's music is tailored to the ultramodern era, whereas Mariah's occupied a similar space in the late 90's and early 2000's pop canon, but they both embody the image of the magnetic, radiant, super-talented starlet with an only slightly infuriating trail of number one hits.
Mariah Carey Vs. Ariana Grande SAME AGE Vocal Battle! (UPDATED) www.youtube.com
3. America and Neil Young
If you've heard the band America's number one hit, A Horse With No Name, chances are you might have wondered if you were listening to one of Neil Young's early collaborative efforts. But Young and Dan Peek, the late lead singer of America, share little else than a slightly nasal tenor voice, a penchant for dreamy folk rock, and dozens of harmony-laden albums from the 1970s.
America - A Horse With No Name+Lyrics www.youtube.com
Neil Young - Harvest Moon www.youtube.com
4. Radiohead and Muse
They're both obsessed with technology, paranoia, apocalypses, and thematically complex concept albums. Ultimately Radiohead's breadth and range of sonic textures far outdoes Muse's, but on some of their better-known songs, Thom Yorke and Matt Bellamy's desperate and wailing voices could easily be mistaken for one another, especially when they're both crying on about fear and loneliness in the digital era over dizzying layers of synthesizer. Plus, it would fit well with both of these bands' brands if they were replicants of each other.
How Much Does Muse Sound Like Radiohead: Analysing Composition, Style, and the Radiohead Zeitgeist www.youtube.com
5. Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes both have a propensity for multi-layered trippy, ambient folk. Their lead singers have high, delicate voices that sound like they're emanating from a distant cabin, wafting towards you on waves of campfire smoke. There's a whole battalion of folk bands that sound like these two, but as pillars of the genre, the similarities between indie's leading foxes and bears are difficult to ignore.
I'm Losing Myself (Feat. Ed Droste) by Robin Pecknold www.youtube.com
6. Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco
Patrick Stump and Brendon Urie both have irrationally massive vocal ranges, which they use to create passionate, angsty, climactic jams that have been giving voice to tween girls' pain for decades. They actually have collaborated several times—even on a Coke ad, which you can listen to in its full glory as each of these singers attempts to out-belt the other. Both bands formed within three years of each other (Fall Out Boy in 2001, Panic! in 2004) and occupied similar cultural spaces in their respective golden years. Fans have even shipped the two lead singers together. Plus their specific vocal styles spawned dozens of shaggy-haired copycat frontmen.
Drunk History: Fall Out Boy featuring Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco www.youtube.com
Fall Out Boy Ft Brendon Urie from Panic! at the Disco - Don't Stop Believing cover www.youtube.com
7. Avril Lavigne Pre and Melissa Vandella
Everybody knows that Avril Lavigne died and was replaced by a clone of herself, created by deft industry people who couldn't resist the potential profits of more Sk8r Bois. Still, the clone does sound and look remarkably similar to her predecessor, despite the obvious differences (Melissa prefers dresses and skirts, while Avril favored pants; and Avril would never have married Chad from Nickelback). Very impressive, music industry executives, but we're onto you.
Conspiracies: Did Avril Lavigne Die in 2003? | Pigeons & Planes Update www.youtube.com
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Using a Black dialect isn't a meme—it's cultural appropriation.
As Black Lives Matter protests have rightfully taken the world by storm over the past couple of months, we're long overdue for thorough evaluations of just how often aspects of Black heritage have been co-opted by white audiences.
It should be obvious that much of fashion and music as we know it today was invented by Black people. We (hopefully) all know by now that we can no longer accept Blackface and use of the n-word by non-Black people as the norm—and Internet users have tried "canceling" offenders in the public eye, with varying degrees of success.