Columbia Records has spent the past few weeks teasing its upcoming For The Throne compilation—a team of A-list hip hop superstars coming together for music inspired by Game of Thrones, in the vein of similar recent albums for movies like Black Panther, ROMA, and Spider Man: Into The Spider Verse. “Power is Power,” released today as a single, follows two previously released tracks from Maren Morris and The Lumineers, and features SZA, The Weeknd, and Travis Scott.
“Power is Power” starts with The Weeknd parroting Game of Thrones dialogue over a sunken bassline: “I was born of the winter wolves / With the winter wolves, in the dark, alone / The wildest night, I became the one / And you’ll know you’re mine when the silence calls / Heavy is the crown only for the weak.” When he comes to the end of the first chorus, at around the 1:04 mark, a new, distorted bassline explodes into shape. There’s an unmistakable similarity between this moment and The Weeknd’s last entry in the world of big-budget soundtracks, “Pray For Me,” from 2018’s Black Panther album.
Listen to “Power is Power” at 1:04:
And listen to “Pray For Me” at 0:05:
At first I thought it might actually be a sample, but the rhythms are distinct, and the production is significantly more blown-out on “Power is Power.” Still, the beats on these two songs are remarkably similar: tempos in the 90-100 beats per minute range, with Yeezus-ish heavy drum machines placed front and center, distorted to the point of becoming almost melodic, and the Weeknd doing his prototypical turgid balladry thing on top.
Another similarity: neither song is very good. The production on “Power Is Power,” doesn’t really suit SZA, whose presence feels almost like an afterthought, and Travis Scott delivers a phoned-in, nigh-incomprehensible verse with cryptic bars about “danger” and “a monster with a crown.” Listen to the songs above and decide for yourself whether they sound alike, or maybe just don’t.