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Monday, May 6, 2013

Introduction to Summer Psychosis 2: A Bracket for Our Song of the 1960's

Words were rainbows, yet people were still in black and white...

Hello everyone,

Summer's around the corner and there's nothing to stop it. The days are getting longer, the temperature is going up and Robert Downey Jr. is once again flying around in a metal suit. But to commemorate nearly-gone Spring and its ubiquitous NCAA basketball brackets known as March Madness, we've yet again decided to make our own bracket of music called Summer Psychosis!

The Frog Blog and its writers went through this thing last year, a gigantic and ambitious bracket to decide our greatest artist of all-time from a pool of 150 (The Beatles won). This year, it'll be a little bit different. Instead of a lengthy and dense bracket, we're keeping it to your standard 64-team bracket. The subject matter--competing 1960's songs--is also a little easier to digest than the entire career of an artist.

The seeding of this bracket works basically the same way as it did last year. The top 64 songs that made the bracket were determined through the amazing Acclaimedmusic.net, which takes critics lists from around the world and puts them in an algorithm to determine the 3000 most recommended songs and albums of all time. The site also ranks the most recommended songs and albums by decade, which is where this bracket comes in.

The thing about making a bracket about the best 60's song is that the field is incredibly crowded. Seven of the ten most recommended songs are from the 60's (The 50's, 70's and 90's each have one). The 64th and final song to make the bracket is the 162nd recommended song, a placement which is at least twice as high as any other decade. So there are a lot of amazing songs that made the bracket and a lot of amazing songs that didn't. That could make life really tough on the voters, of which we had only five last year. Sticking to just the writers won't do this time due to the task at hand. Which is why we're going all the way to eleven with another writer and five guest contributors!!

I'm very excited to have all of these people vote not only because they can contribute informed and thoughtful opinions, but because they come from all walks of life. I'll introduce them to you, starting with me:

The Writers:

John: I'm a Biology major with a concentration in genetics and a Bioinformatics minor as a Pre-Junior at Drexel University. I have been playing piano for 14 years: taking private lessons, playing in a few bands with all but three of my fellow voters and playing in Jazz Orchestra for a performing arts scholarship these days. I also sing and went to Australia and Spain thanks to touring choirs in high school, but now it's mostly when I'm writing songs. I have a very eclectic taste in music. To me, music is broadly defined with many valuable forms. Bands I could listen to on any day: The Beatles, The Doors, The Police, Marvin Gaye, LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, Parliament/Funkadelic, Flying Lotus...among others.

Steve: Psychology major, English minor, music listener and blog writer/founder. I am Steve, I attend Drexel University and I like long walks on the beach, getting caught in the rain, Deerhunter, Destroyer, Broadcast and Grouper. I have eclectic ADHD type taste, from rap to metal but never both together, and from folk to electronic which sometimes do go together. I have also played guitar for seven years, and have been playing keyboard for two weeks.

Daniel: I am a general music studies major at Temple University. I grew up listening mainly to classic rock and alternative rock. Since then I've expanded to a lot of folk, classical and experimental music. Some of my favorite bands are The National, Radiohead and Arcade Fire. I'm currently trying to get into more electronic.

Eric: Well, I’m Eric, and I’m a business major at Drexel University. Although, by the time this whole thing is over, I’ll be in law school at Drexel. For those who don’t read my reviews on this website (which, I imagine are all of you), I’m kind of a wild card. While I can appreciate a lot of the bands that win Pitchfork Awards, I tend to lean towards a different route. I’m huge into hip-hop and rap, along with alternative rock, emo, dubstep, and screamo. I also listen to a lot of random things, like He is We, Soap&Skin, and Wallpaper., just to name a few other bands I like. And of course, I’m a big classic rock/classic pop fan, so this will be interesting.

Mark: I'm an Ecologist studying at Drexel University. I've been playing the guitar for a while now despite my better judgment, and writing for the blog without Steve knowing. When I'm not listening to music, I'm talking about music or listening to people talk about music. Some of my favorite are The Clash, Merchandise, Belle and Sebastian, and Sublime. I'm most partial to punk, lo-fi, and pop, especially when they are combined, but there's plenty of other fantastic stuff out there as well.

Elliott: I'm an electrical engineering and computer science major at MIT in Cambridge. I am the type of person who could program a robot to avoid colliding with objects better then I can personally avoid crashing into things. I play piano poorly and sing even worse, though that doesn't stop me. I am absolutely obsessed with all music and am always on the lookout for new interesting sounds. I especially love all things eccentric and weird. However, my favorite genres are all forms of Rock, Electronica, and Indy Pop. And in case you have never read any of my posts, I am absolutely obsessed with Man Man. I am also working at MOTU this summer.

The Guest Contributors:

Jim: I'm a Jazz Performance Major at New York University. I've been playing drums for about eleven years now, originally self taught, and I'm regular gigging at least twice a week. I was raised on classic rock, motown and classic soul, and jazz, but I also listen to a lot of Alternative/Indie rock, hip-hop, and whatever else I enjoy. Recently, it's been a mix of A Tribe Called Quest, Wayne Shorter, Donny Hathaway, and Joe Cocker. And if you don't know Cat Empire, check them out. Now.

Alexis: I am a Junior year Nursing Major and with a minor in Psychology at Drexel. I enjoy long walks on the beach, candle lit dinners ... nah, just joking. I have been more described as “Elle Woods meets Ghost World” kind of a girl. I dabbled in music in high school with several years of piano lessons and involvement with various choirs. I am obsessed with music! If I had the opportunity, I would listen to music every second (or have a soundtrack accompany my life). I, like many of my fellow writers, enjoy a large selection of music. And, yes, I am one of those who like everything but Country. I am currently into Ava Luna, Sia, Fran├žoise Hardy, Franz Ferdinand, and Leonard Cohen. For all time favorites, that I can listen to at a moment’s moment, include Fiona Apple, the Beatles, the Bird and the Bee, and (drum roll please) … the Smiths!

Dania: I'm Dania. I'm a biology/pre-med major at Drexel University. Honestly, I don't really have any musical talent :P. Just enjoy listening to music and watching movies :D.

Casey: I'm a mechanical engineering major at Lehigh University in Bethlehem. I've been a bassist for 8 years, guitarist for 6, and drummer for 6. I'm currently in the Lehigh University Funk Band and am a self taught musician. I wasn't raised on any particular type of music but I've learned to like just about anything that's catchy, funky, or just interesting. I don't place a huge importance on lyrics and my main focus in these rankings will be coming more from a composition perspective, less than a lyrical perspective. If I named my influences I would just end up getting upset for having forgotten one or two of them, so suffice it to say, I like music that sounds good.

Carson (a.k.a. Swagzilla): I am a psychology and sociology major at the University of Pittsburgh. I have been playing guitar for almost ten years now, and my favorite band is Radiohead. However, I have been listening to Phoenix's new album non-stop since it leaked. As of late I have also been listening to a lot of Odd Future, especially Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean.

Well, there you have it. It's a motley crew if I've ever seen one, and it should be awesome. I'll let you mull over our voters for now, pondering their respective bios (not to mention wondering who the hell Cat Empire is). But here's the schedule for our 60's bracket, with the preview of each round posted on the Monday of the week and the results posted on the Friday of the Week. The full bracket of songs will also be available by mid-week. If you want to follow what we're doing for whatever reason, like the blog on Facebook!

Schedule:

Week of May 6th: Introduction with Voter Bios, Songs That Just Missed

Week of May 13th: First Round, Part 1

Week of May 20th: First Round, Part 2

Week of May 27th: Second Round

Week of June 3rd: Sweet 16

Week of June 10th: Elite Eight

Week of June 17th: Final Four

Week of June 24th: Championship

Thanks,

John

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