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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Summer Psychosis: Results for Part 1 of the Second Round

Hello everyone,

Our voters have been given extra time to mull over their picks, but it looks like they've decided. Can you believe it? These matchups are getting ridiculous. They are also closer, with half of the sixteen matchups for this week coming down to the final vote. Expect this to become a trend as the field is narrowed down further.

The Beatles 5, The Police 0

"Not really a contest, though I’ll admit I'm more picking the Beatles here because in the first run I picked Nine Inch Nails over them. So in actuality, this vote is really a contest between the Police and Nine Inch Nails and I'm giving it to Nine Inch Nails. Nine Inch Nails were one of the first Industrial acts to get any attention among the mainstream, combining extremely dark themes with rave dance music and industrial filth. The Police on the other hand, while they did write a lot of good music, I never considered them to be as musically talented as most bands of their caliber, not in terms of song writing but in terms of how well they can actually play their instruments." - Steve

It can't be official, sorry Steve. There are a few grudges left over from the first round. Don't be surprised if a phantom vote for Animal Collective pops up. Anyway, this second round matchup went smoothly for the Beatles. They had to get back at the Police for shutting down their rooftop concert:

Queen 3, Pixies 2

"The Pixies are a really beloved band, but I think Queen has seriously been underrated by critics if they are only a 13th seed. Queen is absolutely fabulous." - Elliott

A Cinderella story continues! In a very tough battle, Queen's "hidden" acclaim and popularity trumps Pixies' ubiquitous rock influence. It's a shame both of these artists can't advance. Maybe we can combine the two, with the force of two bands going against the Beatles? On second thought, maybe not:

Elvis Costello 3, Otis Redding 2

"Wrapping your head around Costello’s career is as daunting as it is impossible. He’s worked with so many people on so many projects in so many genres that I have no doubt in my mind he loves music as much if not more then the guys on his blog." - Mark

You are absolutely right, Mark. Elvis Costello loves music so much that in 2000, he put together a list of 500 Albums You Must Own. That list is included on, meaning that Costello has helped determine the ranking of every artist in this bracket. No, he didn't recommend himself:

The Velvet Underground 4, Arcade Fire 1

"I remember when I first found the vinyl copy of 'The Velvet Underground & Nico' down in my parent’s basement. I remember listening to it for the first time, the beat of 'Heroin' making me physically sick, the lyrics of every verse being cryptic beyond understanding, and I remember hiding it away and coming back to it again and again. That’s the kind of album the Velvet Underground could make, the kind that you hide away, the kind you sneak out at night to go listen to, or that you put on once your parents have left the house. I remember getting a copy of 'Funeral' too, that I stole from Mark in a music share. I would change my vote if two conditions were met. First, thirty years from today persons must be thinking and listening to Arcade Fire, naming their bands after things from their albums and continuing to listen to them religiously. Secondly, in that same thirty year period, persons will have to have stopped doing all those things with the music of The Velvet Underground." - Steve

Two things come to mind while reading this compelling story. 1) Did you find the vinyl copy in a cave and become invisible when you touched it? Then started calling it your precious? Because that's kind of what it sounds like. 2) Like hell it's a music share. Now I know what you really are!

The Rolling Stones 5, PJ Harvey 0

"Dammit, give me a band I can vote for instead of the Stones. Unlike Steve, I will not
vote for a CLEARLY inferior act just cause I don't like the better one." - Elliott

So, some of our voters seemed to view PJ Harvey as a bad choice after being swept by the Stones. Maybe Al Green could have done better, I don't know. But it's clear what the real bad choice is, on a hot day in San Diego at least: Anchorman 2, coming in 2013.

James Brown 3, John Lennon 2

"I gave a pretty good argument against Lennon last time he was up to bat, but that wasn’t run. So, long story short, John Lennon was awesome when we was with the Beatles, but his solo career wasn’t all that good, especially with Yoko all up in that. On top of that, James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” single-handedly created the drum beat for hip hop music, so he’s got my vote. Of course, this will probably end up in the “Best Minority Opinions” section (because guessing that didn’t backfire on me last week), but hey, I’m the wildcard." - Eric

Gotcha again Eric! Keep on guessing, you'll get it right eventually. And it's true, 'Funky Drummer' has been sampled countless times by hip-hop artists. He helped define what a good groove should sound like for decades just with this: Did I mention that I'm wearing a John Lennon shirt while writing this? True story.

The Clash 4, Pavement 1

I’m a Pavement fan, but I’m a Clash fan first. When the Clash self-titled dropped, it was clear that Johnny Rotten was no longer the king of punk. Joe Strummer took the crown and the band used the energy of the time and their talents to make some of the greatest music of all time. - Mark

Mark nooo it doesn't work that way!! There is no idolizing in Punk, so there's no king! Here, this documentary will explain everything:

Marvin Gaye 3, Black Sabbath 2

I don’t understand the hate on Marvin Gaye. Steve picked him begrudgingly last time, and John agreed with him. He’s a beautiful man, with a beautiful voice, with ability to make women pregnant through radio transmissions. And while Black Sabbath helped form metal, Marvin Gaye’s talent, influence, and ability to make people ovulate makes him the clear winner here. - Eric

One thing that helps you be a ladies' man besides having an amazing voice? Looking good:

Prince 3, Chuck Berry 2

"This is tough matchup. They’re pretty evenly matched, at least in terms of skill with a guitar and possibly with vocal ability. However, Prince has the fact that he’s written just about every major hit in the 80’s and early 90’s, and that he somehow had Marvin Gaye levels of panty dropping, especially given the fact that he was kind of Gaye." - Eric

Not only did Prince have many hits himself, but wrote numerous hits for other artists. Let me illustrate this point in an online forum, even though Prince himself despises the Internet:

The Doors 3, Johnny Cash 2

Whenever I hear 'L.A. Woman,' it makes me think that the Doors had so many more songs in them. They were a great group of musicians with fantastic song writing abilities and chemistry that you just literally can’t find." - Mark

They did have some more songs in them after Morrison's death. Two albums worth, in fact. But of course, it was never the same. The Doors indeed did have legendary chemistry. The title track of 'L.A. Woman'? One take:

Pink Floyd 5, Leonard Cohen 0

"I am writing this quickly so I can go see Roger Waters play 'the Wall.' 'The Wall' > this
tournament (no offense)." - Elliott

I'll tell you what, this explanation elevates the professionalism of this blog and bracket to new heights. Bravo. Now enjoy Roger Waters, you've earned it. Flying Pig!

The Who 4, The Band 1

"The Band takes you down a dusty country road and shows you around. Amazing stuff. But the Who do something like put you on a bullet train for miles and make your head explode. Legendary band from a legendary era." - John

The funny thing about this matchup is that both of these fantastic bands are Rock, but at different ends of a stylistic spectrum. Southern bar rock vs. English hard rock, basically. Only one of these bands could play in the actual Spectrum throughout the 70's:

Radiohead 5, The Jam 0

"'Paranoid Android' still captures my imagination. It’s been about 7 years now since I first heard it and became an instant Radiohead fan. How can I not pick them?" - John

Radiohead crushed the Jam in one of the few sweeps of this week. The knock on the Jam is that they aren't all that special. Naming a great song after Marvin the Paranoid Android from 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' is just classy:

Beastie Boys 4, Van Morrison 1

"This is another really tough one…'Astral Weeks' I think is the key here. I have to check that out, because from what I’ve heard if you haven’t listened to 'Astral Weeks' you haven’t heard the best of Van Morrison. But then again, I haven’t heard all of 'Paul’s Boutique.' I just can’t deny the impact of Beastie Boys, not this time." - John

These two artists were very evenly matched and one thing they had going for them was one epic masterpiece. 'Astral Weeks' for Van Morrison and 'Paul's Boutique' for Beastie Boys. The latter even has its own version of an 'Abbey Road' suite. Here's part of it:

Creedence Clearwater Revival 3, Bob Marley and The Wailers 2

"This is a shame. As good as Bob Marley is, Creedence is just one of those bands that everyone likes. Even if everyone votes for Marley they still will be sad to see Creedence go, and if Creedence wins everyone will know on the inside they really shouldn’t have." - Steve

Despite Marley's legendary status and acclaim, CCR just managed to advance. We have love for Reggae, but not that much. We're nowhere near this (at least I hope). Poison Idea, the band in this video, apparently does not care for reggae: They also named their second album "Kings of Punk." Nooooo why Poison Idea why!?!?

Kraftwerk 3, Crosby, Stills, Nash (& Young) 2

"One of these groups is one of the most artistic bands ever, the other is Crosby, Stills and Nash." - Steve

Looks like the clock has struck midnight for one of our Cinderellas. You've done well, CSNY. Let's send them off properly:

Best Minority Opinion: Steve

There were several good contenders here, including Elliott's lengthy support of Arcade Fire with mission statement on his voting process and Eric's hilarious vindictiveness toward the Doors, but the BMO goes to Steve.

"Part of me really thinks that Pavement is a better band than the Clash, and the other part foresees a future where Pavement is hailed as the major influence of all the music that we were graced with in the last twelve years. Certainly a titan among the early nineties slacker rock lo-fi movement, what made Pavement special was how well they were able to expand their reach across two decades, and while the Clash certainly have done that as well, I think in time (as I have explained before) Pavement will only see their popularity grow and grow."

I know Steve loved Pavement, but I didn't expect this. It's an interesting speculation on what a band's legacy could become, but also a little tongue in cheek (can you get any more specific than "early 90's slacker rock lo-fi?"). In some ways, a band's legacy is how you think they will impact music in the long run. And with 90s nostalgia bands forming, that's just coming to fruition.

Best Minority Opinion, Runner Up: Mark

"The radio killed 'Buffalo Solider' for me. It amazes me that in the seven years and eight albums The Wailers put together in their prime (I consider that from 'Catch a Fire' to 'Uprising') the radio still manages to only play like four. Listening to 'Catch a Fire' or 'Exodus' or 'Natty Dread' is like hearing reggae for the first time again. And yet everyone really only knows like 'Don’t worry about a thing' (Three Little Birds), I 'Shot the Sheriff', 'Buffalo Solider' and maybe 'One Love/People Get Ready.'"

I must say, I'm a sucker for specific discography references. I read this and thought "Yea, what about 'No Woman, No Cry' or 'Get Up, Stand Up?'" This also reminds me just how stellar Marley was for a lengthy period in the 70's. Sure, he's a legend now, but Marley had to fight his way on the world stage with a new genre. And boy, he was focused on his craft.

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