Brutal is a Rodrigo track that features a punky chord sequence which was also used in Costello’s 1978 hit, Pump It Up.
Costello responded to a Twitter user who said Rodrigo’s song “pretty much an immediate lift”.
He wrote, “It’s the way rock & roll works.” You take the pieces from another thrill and create a new toy.
He said, “That’s what you did.”
The hashtags were also a reference to Bob Dylan’s 1965 classic Subterranean Homesick Blues. This inspired Pump It Up. Chuck Berry’s 1956 single Too Much Monkey Business was also influenced by the Dylan song.
Below, you can see the Costello and Rodrigo tracks. The guitar riff appears for the first time at 14 seconds into Brutal and 15 seconds in Pump it Up.
Costello’s calm reaction is despite the recent rise in music copyright cases.
The most famous case involved the song Blurred Lines. In which Marvin Gaye’s family accused Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, of copying Gaye’s song Got To Give It Up.
The controversial verdict of the jury found that Thicke & Williams had copied Gaye’s 1977 hit “vibe”. This was in contrast to Williams and Gaye’s attempt to lift a melody or chord sequence which is a common form of plagiarism.
Stars like Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran and Childish Gambino have been sued for millions because of similarities in their songs.
Others took the precaution to credit writers who may have a claim, even one tangential, in order to avoid legal action.
Because her chorus melody was based on the same rhythmic pattern as their 1990 novelty hit I’m Too Sexy, Taylor Swift granted Right Said Fred a share in her song Look What You Made me Do.
Rodrigo and Daniel Nigro, her co-writer, have not done the exact same for Brutal – but Costello seems to be pleased, rather than annoyed by the hat tip.
Costello granted permission to Pump It Up’s riff in 2005’s Rogue Trader dance hit Voodoo Child.
Rodrigo was also accused of plagiarism by Courtney Love.
Love pointed out similarities between the artwork of Hole’s 1994 album, Live Through This, and the images used for Rodrigo’s Sour Prom’s livestream concert on Tuesday.
Both photos show a prom queen holding flowers and mascara running down their faces.
Love posted on Facebook, “My album cover was my original idea.” You might have to live your life in order to obtain this thing.
“I have informed her that I expect her flowers [and] a note.”
Love also shared the Sour Prom picture on Instagram with the caption “Spot the Difference”, eliciting a response from Rodrigo.
The 18-year old commented, “I love you and I live through this sooooo much,” Love responded: “Olivia, you’re very welcome.” My favorite florist is in Notting Hill. Dm me to receive deets “I look forward to receiving your note.”