China’s just been awarded the 2022 winter Olympics, but the country’s government can’t start celebrating yet. Despite the many reasons that activists have given for the games not to be held in China—there’s no snow and the country’s an oppressive human rights nightmare—the biggest issue might be that one of China’s official songs for the games might have copied “Let It Go.”
Upon a first listen, “The Snow and Ice Dance” doesn’t immediately sound like the Disney song none of America’s children can stop singing, but give it a second, it gets there. If the song is stolen, at least whoever wrote it was smart enough not to blatantly rip off the actual chorus of the piece. Instead, the main similarities can be heard during the song’s verses (sung by a male/female duo) when it almost sounds like they’re doing the “conceal, don’t feel” part of the Disney ballad.
Here, listen for yourself:
If you, like me, are not a musicologist, here’s an explanation of exactly what’s wrong with the song via The New York Times:
Caijing Online, the website of a prominent Chinese business magazine, also noted the similarities, and offered a technical analysis that went beyond the melodic parallels. Among the main points: Both songs employ a piano as the major instrument, have similar prelude chords and an eight-beat introduction, and they run at almost exactly the same tempo.
The news has stunned internet commenters from all over the world, who have been coming out in droves to refer to China as a “rubbish country” where people just “copy copy copy” or to support the song by pointing out that it’s not identical to the Idina Menzel hit. “China does not lack creative people,” one person wrote, “so why copy the song?”
One of the games’ spokespeople, Xiao Junfeng, told anyone with concerns to go through the proper channel and fax her their questions. The faxes, however, have not been responded to, according to The Times. That’s because it’s all a ruse! We live in 2015! Who uses fax machines anymore? Are those even still legal? I thought they were universally banned, much like ditto machines (:/) and pagers.
If the song is stolen, China has nine other songs to fall back on, including a Jackie Chan-led number that’s all about the miracle of snow and winter and just the crisp cool air or something. But even that song has a problem, The Times reports: even if the games get cold, it rarely snows in Beijing.
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