Looks like things aren’t “Cool for the Summer” for Demi Lovato anymore. Sleigh Bells, an indie pop/rock group, filed a lawsuit on Monday alleging that Lovato stole their riffs and illegally sampled their songs without permission. The group noted that Demi Lovato’s song “Stars” from her 2015 album Confident resembled their tracks “Infinity Guitars” and “Riot Rhythm.”
In the court documents, Sleigh Bells noted that Lovato’s song and “Infinity Guitars” are “virtually identical content” that “transcend the realm of coincidence.” As of press time, Lovato has not issued a statement regarding the lawsuit.
Demi Lovato did not respond via Twitter, and declined to comment. However, two of her producers reached out to Entertainment Weekly to try to clear up the issue. “We did not use any samples in Demi Lovato’s song ‘Stars.’ Demi was also not involved with the production. She only wrote top line.”
A simple listen to Lovato’s and Sleigh Bells’ songs reveals that they certainly have their similarities. Here is the audio of “Stars” by Demi Lovato:
And for comparison, here’s “Infinity Guitars” by Sleigh Bells. The track was released five years before Lovato’s song.
The similarities are audible within the first verse of Lovato’s “Stars”; the song features an intense, rhythmic drum sequence that has been looped. The drum sequence in “Infinity Guitars” has the same pace and rhythm, and similarly underscores the verses. There are also a few differences: the drums in Lovato’s song have been distorted and warped with added vocals, while the “Infinity Guitars” drums are only accompanied by handclaps. Additionally, the vocals on the songs are similarly delivered: Lovato and Sleigh Bells vocalist Alexis Krauss both chant their verses, snarling their way through tough-girl lyrics.
“Riot Rhythm,” on the other hand, hardly bears any resemblance to Lovato’s track. The two songs both feature a ricocheting guitar riff, but the riff in Lovato’s song is only a few notes long and is much more muted.
So, is it possible that Demi is in serious trouble? According to Jeff Peretz, a music professor at New York University, probably not. “Basically, when people who know the Sleigh Bells song hear the Demi Lovato song, will they be confused in thinking that they’re hearing the Sleigh Bells song? I don’t think that’s the case… [It’s] not close enough to the line to be against the law.” According to Peretz, Demi Lovato’s track “goes to a pop-style chord progression and [‘Infinity Guitars’] doesn’t, so they’re not the same, mathematically speaking.”
Demi Lovato is currently in the middle of her summer-long “Future Now” arena tour with Nick Jonas. Sleigh Bells just did a set at the Billboard Hot 100 Festival this past weekend and will embark on a tour starting in September.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]