Why Is That Melody Familiar In Bebe Rexha's 'Maleficent' Song?

Wait, WHAT is an interpolation?!

September 24, 2019
Bebe Rexha

Timothy Hiatt / Stringer


Ever hear a new song and think, "I've HEARD that melody before, but... where?!?" It's likely an interpolation; a thing that's very trendy in music these days. 

Bebe Rexha released an anthem for the new Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil movie and, yup, the melody sounded very familiar! Google didn't really give us any answers but thankfully, our resident music geek, Ryan Jones, dug a bit deeper. He recognized it immediately from '90s song, 'Flagpole Sitta' by Harvey Danger! (Yessss, THAT'S what it was!)

Both Wikipedia and Spotify credit Harvey Danger's members as songwriters, but the band itself isn't considered a featured artist on the song. 

So, what the heck is the freakin' difference between an interpolation and a sample?! Isn't that just a fancier word? No, according to songwriters

A sample is basically a CTRL+C/CTRL+V of a song. Essentially, copying a piece of it and putting it into a new song. 

Example: Ma$e and Puff Daddy's 'Mo Money Mo Problems' SAMPLES 'I'm Coming Out' by Diana Ross:  

An interpolation is an artist's own revision of someone else's song... but not a cover! The lyrics could be slightly different, but the melody is there. 

Example: Machine Gun Kelly & Camila Cabello INTERPOLATED Fastball's 'Outta My Head' on their 2016 track 'Bad Things'! 


Oh, and Taylor Swift did it with Right Said Fred's 'I'm Too Sexy' on her 2017 track, 'Look What You Made Me Do'!

It's totally cool to do... as long as you get permission and give credit where due, which we're sure Bebe Rexha and Disney did for this track. Harvey Danger isn't considered FEATURED because they aren't really featured as vocalists. They were just sort of part of the writing process, hence why their songwriting credit is there.

So yeah, THAT'S why that song sounded familiar! And an impromptu songwriting lesson! Next time you hear a song that sounds familiar, go straight for the writing credits... you might be surprised at what you find! 

We're loving this Bebe Rexha track and can't wait to see the new Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil! 

BTW, here's that Harvey Danger song... 

Do you hear the interpolation?!