It is Tame Impala’s biggest-charting Australian single and an award-winning song that’s been covered by everyone from Arctic Monkeys to Kendrick Lamar‘, but is ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ a copycat?
The Perth psych-rock exports’ signature hit, taken from their critically adored second album Lonerism, has been accused of being a rip-off of an 80s pop hit by an Argentinian teenager.
As FasterLouder reports, Chilean cultural news site Rata.Cl has questioned whether Tame Impala’s tune has plagiarised ‘Océano’ – the lead single and title track of then-14-year-old pop star Pablo Ruiz’s third album of the same name, released in 1989.
Despite the fact that Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker would have been all but 3 years old when the song was racing up the South American charts, there’s some definite melodic and chordal similarities between the two tunes.
Where ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ is a spacey, triumphant ballad to anxiety, Ruiz’s caribbean-tinted ‘Océano’ appears to be a seaside ode to love, with a vague translation of the Spanish lyrics making it seem quite psychedelic in its own right (though admittedly that could be more to do wit the strength of Google translate…): “The wind blows hard on the beach/my house is in the sky near the sun/the water has been painted a light green/and you’ll have stuck in my heart.”
The ‘Océano’ comparison arrives just two months after Parker shared his original demo recording of ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ to the world after “going through some old shit;” the fascinating clip reveals the 28-year-old Tame Impala linchpin audibly sketching the tune.
So, pure coincidence? Unconscious influence? or something more sinister. We’ll let you decide while you take a listen to another mashup of the two, put together by an enterprising YouTube user – it’s pretty damn rough but services to show the uncanny parallels between the songs.