Yellowcard Sues Juice WRLD Over ‘Lucid Dreams,’ Begging the Question: Who Owns the Sound of Emo?

Photo: Cole Bennett / UMG

In a new lawsuit, now-defunct band Yellowcard accuses rapper Juice WRLD of ripping off their 2006 song “Holly Wood Died” for his 2018 hit “Lucid Dreams.” However, we gotta ask the question up top: who owns the sound of emo? You know, that extremely specific cadence and delivery combined with confessional lyrics that became a full-fledged musical subgenre of pop, punk and eventually rap? The courts will obviously have to decide, but according to their suit, Yellowcard thinks the two tunes are so similar, they’re seeking $15 million in damages, as well as royalties and/or co-ownership of “Lucid Dreams.”

In their suit, the band in part points to Juice WRLD’s professed love of Fall Out Boy’s From Under The Cork Tree. As it turns out, producer Neal Avron produced both the 2005 FOB album and Yellowcard’s 2006 album Lights and Sounds. “Since it is very common for a fan of works produced for an artist by a specific producer to listen to other works by that same producer,” the suit says, according to Stereogum. “It is likely that Defendant Juice WRLD’s appreciation for the album From Under The Cork Tree led to exposure to Yellowcard’s album Lights And Sounds and the Original Work ‘Holly Wood Died.’” The complaint also points out that Juice WRLD would have been in fifth grade when Lights and Sounds was released, and has said in an interview that he studied up on “emo pop rock music” that year to impress a girl he liked.

Adding an interesting financial wrinkle to the situation is the fact that “Lucid Dreams” heavily samples Sting’s “Shape of My Heart.” In May, the singer told SiriusXM how much he enjoyed Juice WRLD’s interpretation of his 1993 song, saying “I love that version,” and confirmed that he had been approached for use of the sample and given it his “blessing.” That being said, Sting reportedly makes the majority of “Lucid Dreams” royalties. Either way, take a listen to both songs below and let us know what you think. They seem equally emo to us, but then again, you never know. (See also: every lawsuit filed against Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.”)

Yellowcard Lawsuit Over Juice WRLD ‘Lucid Dreams’ Is So Emo