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Yellowcard Is Suing Juice WRLD for $15 Million Over Song Similarities

The band claims that the rapper's 2018 hit "Lucid Dreams" has too much in common with their 2006 song "Holly Wood Died."

by Bettina Makalintal
22 October 2019, 10:06pm

Screenshots via YouTube

With the exception of going to Emo Night and driving past any street called Ocean Avenue, when was the last time anyone really thought about Yellowcard, one of the most mediocre bands of our collective early-aughts emo phase? Well, according to Yellowcard, the emo-rap leader known as Juice WRLD (real name Jarad A. Higgins) has thought about them an awful lot. The band has filed a lawsuit against Juice WRLD and his producers for "knowingly copying" their 2006 song "Holly Wood Died" in the 2018 hit "Lucid Dreams," per Rolling Stone, and they're seeking "damages in excess of $15 million."

"Lucid Dreams," which was officially released in May 2018 and has made it all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, prominently samples Sting's "Shape of My Heart." But according to the lawsuit, Juice WRLD and his producers also "decided to willfully infringe" Yellowcard's song. "As alleged in the complaint, this is not just a generic emo rap song, but is a blatant copy of significant original compositional elements of 'Holly Wood Died' in several respects," Yellowcard's lawyer, Richard Busch, said in a statement to Rolling Stone.

According to the suit, parts of the melodies in the two songs are "virtually identical." Aside from similar notes in the verse "Lucid Dreams" as in "Holly Wood Died," the lawsuit identifies a similar "melisma idiosyncrasy" in the two songs, melisma being the term for singing multiple notes within one syllable of text. That idiosyncrasy appears in the the phrase "I know that you want me dead" in "Lucid Dreams" and the line "like razors they cut through the heart" in "Holly Wood Died." (2006 called... it wants its Converse, swoopy bangs, and MySpace account back.)

Per Yellowcard's suit, the similarities are particularly glaring because of Juice WRLD's own emo phase, which—according to the band—would have made him familiar with Yellowcard's work. The band wasn't able to include any instances of Juice WRLD referencing Yellowcard directly when it comes to his emo and pop punk influences, but the suit claims that because of Juice's outspoken appreciation for Fall Out Boy and the Devil Wears Prada, he'd be familiar with Yellowcard and the 2006 album Lights and Sounds, which includes "Holly Wood Died."

To that point, the suit quotes an interview in which Juice WRLD said he started listening to emo to impress his fifth-grade crush: a "really Emo" girl, who apparently loved Black Veil Brides. Given the singer's age (born in 1998), the suit claims that the timing of Juice's emo phase and Yellowcard's popularity line up. "Thus, upon information and belief, at the time Defendant Juice WRLD began studying the Emo genre of music, 'Holly Wood Died' would have been recently released," the suit says.

Played back to back, the two songs do sound kinda similar—though, doesn't that kinda apply to basically every single radio emo song? But congrats, Yellowcard, you found a way to get us to listen to you again.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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