'Cowboy Bebop's Musical 'Homage' Problem
When Netflix announced that Cowboy Bebop's legendary composer Yoko Kanno would be returning to provide the score for the Netflix adaptation, our levels of hype soared because that meant that a lot of musicians would be returning as well. That doesn't mean she's bringing an entire team of musicians with her -- at least not out of their own volition -- that means she's bringing along the work of a lot of people she seemingly ripped off.
Listen to this:
That's one of the easiest to spot, as both her singing and opening riff mimic a relatively famous song, the peak '90s edgy "Leave you far behind" by Lunatic Calm. You probably remember it from The Matrix as well or that glorious banned trailer for the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie, where the web swinger coerced the inhabitants of New York City into not bothering him by showing he could easily have caused an early 9/11. (the song starts at 1:26)
Most of her "inspiration" comes from lesser-known songs, like "The Real Folk Blues," Cowboy Bebop's second-biggest hit (the first being its intro theme) …
… whose sweet sax hook appears to be lifted from a little-known song by Swedish Jazz band Bo Kaspers Orkester:
While there's no mainstream calling out her tendency not to acknowledge the original artists -- presumably out of fear she'll send space bounty hunters after the whistleblowers, most anime forums have various pages dedicated to discussing it. Hell, if you want to dig deeper into it, there's a huge YouTube playlist titled Yoko Kanno Plagiarism, and the best part is how you don't really need to be any music genius to get it. She's "paid homage" to so many songs that she didn't have the time to not make them look like carbon copies. And Kanno's meddling goes far beyond just Cowboy Bebop.
For the anime Wolf's Rain …
… it looks like she went as far as France to "take notes" on Laurent Voulzy's "Une Héroïne":
While Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex's soundtrack …
… sounds like a copy-paste of Hooverphonic's "Battersea":
At some point, she apparently probably felt so untouchable …
… that she went after Bjork's "Hyperballad":
And well, she was right. No one cared. Look, Cowboy Bebop's OST is a masterpiece composed of over 50 tracks, something not easy to pull off on your own. While the size of Kanno's body of work is so large that there's probably a lot of great and original stuff in it, we just can't ignore that while she's crediting a lot of people and giving work to many others, she's still not crediting many artists. She's gonna carry that weight.
Top Image: Netflix