Target Rips Off U2

Posted by AJ Harbison at 5:07 am

I was in a Target this evening doing some shopping, and my shopping happened to cause me to pass by the electronics section, and the electronics section reminded me of a post I wanted to write here.

You know the video that they play in the electronics section at Targets? It’s the one that shows on all the TVs they’re selling, that highlights particular products in movies or music or whatever. But in between the product highlights, there’s a little video interlude with a red background, and the Target logo flying around everywhere (go to www.target.com and look at the “Save 10% today…” banner; after the words on that banner, the picture with all the logos is basically what the video looks like). There’s some simple music to the video that consists essentially of two chords alternating, a major I and a minor v (major tonic and minor dominant). In chordal terms, this could be, for example, a D major chord alternating with an A minor.

What’s particularly interesting about the voicing and instrumentation of these two chords is that they sound an awful lot like a famous U2 song: “In God’s Country” from the album The Joshua Tree. The “hook,” the electric guitar riff at the beginning of the song, is the part that Target apparently ripped off. Unfortunately, neither Amazon nor Last.fm have samples that play the riff. But you can find a YouTube music video of the song here, and that works just as well. Listen to what the electric guitar starts playing, up high, at the 10-second mark. Hey–it sounds just like that Target video!

(I scoured the internet for a sample of the Target video, but predictably found none. Hang out in the electronics section for a few minutes the next time you’re in a Target, after listening to the opening of “In God’s Country,” and I’ll bet even non-musicians will be able to tell that it’s a direct ripoff.)



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