Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Katy Perry’s “Roar” is a kind of a rip-off, but at least it’s a good one

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week: In anticipation of this weekend’s Grammy Awards, the five songs up for the 2014 Song Of The Year award.

When Katy Perry’s “Roar” single debuted earlier this year, much was made about its shocking similarity to yet another lady-positive pop song: Sara Bareilles’ “Brave.” Yet, as we roll into Grammy season, it seems like both women have come away from the scandal cleanly. Perry’s “Roar” is up for Song Of The Year, but Bareilles nabbed an Album Of The Year nod for the album from which “Brave” emerged, The Blessed Unrest. (Both songs are also up for Best Pop Solo Performance, but who cares about that category?)

In fact, it might have been the attention “Roar” threw at “Brave”—which caused Epic Records to push the single to mainstream pop radio—that put the latter into the musical mix, helping the single go through a veritable fourth-quarter comeback.


It’s a neat little move for Bareilles, who was well-respected before the scandal, but who benefitted from Perry’s “Roar” push, which had the former Christian pop diva prancing around in a leopard-print bikini top as she belted out messages of self-empowerment. When Perry sang about going “from zero to my own hero,” she took Bareilles along for the ride, using her buxom, eyelash-batting star power to give both singers a chance to really “roar.”


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