I Don't Know How to Ride A Bike... <BR>(and other ramblings): I Wanna Be Your Songwriter

I Don't Know How to Ride A Bike...
(and other ramblings)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Wanna Be Your Songwriter

There have been a lot of celebrity dramas popping up lately, but the ones that I've been chuckling about the most are the ones directed towards Avril Lavigne, she of the crappy The Best Damn Thing album. First came the lawsuit from the Rubinoos, who claim that she ripped off their 1979 song, "I Want to Be Your Boyfriend." Granted, the similarities in the chorus are uncanny ("Girlfriend": "Hey, hey, you, you, I want to be your girlfriend" vs. "I Want to Be Your Boyfriend": "Hey, hey, you, you, I want to be your boyfriend"), but does a merely repetitive, annoying phrase count as blatant plagiarism? I mean, Lavigne may be a lot of things, like petulant, annoying, juvenile, belligerent, and middling...but is she a phony too? (You be the judge: See the side-by-side comparisons on YouTube.)

Then came the allegations from Canadian ex-BFF, Chantal Kreviazuk, who made some pretty damning comments to Performing Songwriter magazine, who featured Lavigne, 23, in a previous issue.

In her interview, Kreviazuk, 34, says, "I find it funny that [the interview] is in Performing Songwriter. I mean, Avril, songwriter? Avril doesn't really sit and write songs by herself or anything. Avril will also cross the ethical line, and no one says anything. That's why I'll never work with her again. I sent her a song two years ago called "Contagious," and I just saw the track listing to [The Best Damn Thing] and there's a song called "Contagious" on it — and my name's not on it. What do you do with that?" When asked if Kreviazuk would seek a lawsuit, the singer/songwriter responds, "See, I won't do that. I'll just tell you. Art should not be subjected to that kind of controversy. Art should be pure. In my head it is, anyway."

But then Lavigne struck back on her website (how shocking that she couldn't keep her mouth shut): "I was going to be the bigger person and not reply when I read Chantal Kreviazuk's article in Performing Songwriter magazine. Chantal's comments are damaging to my reputation and a clear defamation of my character and I am considering taking legal action. Chantal has also made false accusations about my writing skills. I am so over this topic...I don't have to prove anything to anyone."

Things seems to have changed since the two last worked together on Lavigne's 2004 Under My Skin. Speaking to Maxim later that year, Lavigne only had nice things to say about writing with Kreviazuk. "We were working from midnight until 5 in the morning. We were just getting together. We would buy a whole bunch of chocolate bars, and we would go to Starbucks and sit, and get really hyper and just write songs and talk about personal things. She's 10 years older than me, so she has a few years on me and can give me advice and also, she learned things from me."

But alas, the good tidings were never meant to last. Lavigne went on to comment that she decided to drop Kreviazuk like a hot potato because "we had no hits together. That is why her name is not on this record, despite her numerous attempts to be included, which were always denied. From my perspective this is a clear case of bitterness. Chantal is upset that she didn't get to be a part of my record." For those keeping score, Kreviazuk is credited for "Together," "He Wasn't," "How Does It Feel," "Forgotten," "Who Knows," and "Slipped Away" on Under My Skin. And yes, all those tracks did kind of suck.

Faced with a possible lawsuit, Kreviazuk, perhaps fretting over lawyer costs that her music career could never cover, retracted her earlier jabs. "When I saw the track listing to Avril's new record, it caught my attention that she had the same title as a song I had sent her a while back. When I heard it, I immediately realized it was a coincidence. The songs have nothing in common.
I would like to apologize for any misconceptions concerning Avril Lavigne, which may have resulted from statements I made in my interview with Performing Songwriter magazine. It was not my intention to call Avril's songwriting ability or ethics into question. My statements and any inference from my statements, which call into question Avril's ethics or ability as a respected and acclaimed songwriter, should be disregarded and are retracted. Avril is an accomplished songwriter and it has been my privilege to work with her."

Besides the obvious (why would Kreviazuk get into a huff over a song that she had never heard
what, did she make up the word "contagious"? And even so, why would Kreviazuk want to be associated with a song that seriously sucks?), it seems like a case of the foot-in-the-mouth disappearing act that celebrities are so known for. You know, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all, but if you're going to do it, don't take it back five minutes later. Whatever happened to having a little conviction? But Kreviazuk's quick retraction and unwarranted slathering of kissing-up may have something to do with office politics both artists are currently housed under the Nettwerk label.


In other news:
There are a lot of things inherently wrong with NBC's new contribution to the reality show smorgasboard, "Age of Love," that would probably take a dissertation to cover, but the one thing that's been irking me (besides the whole premise of the show), are the women's bios on the NBC website.

Of Megan, the 21-year-old Jessica Biel look-alike, NBC says, "Megan is jealous that her friends from high school are getting married, and she's feeling ready to take the plunge herself, though she recently ended a 10-month relationship, but she knows exactly what she wants: someone between the ages of 26 and 32 who can make her stomach flip when she sees him and who isn't scared to fly on planes like she is!"

And Maria, the 42-year-old photographer, is "a modern, confident woman who has no problem asking men out on dates – just as long as they are in their 30's to 50's. However, she does fall in love easily and can be aggressive when in relationships. At the age of 42, she's now sure of two things: she's glad she's not in her 20's and that really good-looking men don't quite cut it in the boudoir."

Okay, who writes these bios? Is it a six-year-old looking to make some extra cash, or a Harlequin novel ghost-writer who's fallen off the wagon? Sadly, I suspect that it may be the women themselves in which case, we can only wish the best of luck to them in life.


Nicole Richie may be pregnant...which begs the question, will she be able to squeeze a small baby out with those hips?


The "Sex & The City" film is back on. As long as shrill and self-involved Carrie gets her much-deserved comeuppance, and Miranda does more than carry a baby around, I'm there.


And..."The Apprentice" is coming back for another crazy season. Is this a smart move from NBC, the station that went from being #1 to #4 (behind FOX, no less)? After the previous three seasons (zzzzzzzz), plus the big egotistical blow up between the Donanld and Rosie O'Donnell, it would have probably been wiser to play reruns of "The Golden Girls" in that timeslot.


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