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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer Psychosis 2: Results for the Sweet 16

Hey everyone,

Hope everyone had a great Father's Day! It's been over a week since the preview for the Sweet 16, but Summer Psychosis 2 is FAR from over. Every song that ended up advancing was tested, and there are so many questions to be answered. Can the Beatles get four songs into the elite eight? Can the Rolling Stones get two? Will the remaining #1 and #2 seeds survive? Does Alanis Morissette really know what ironic means? Find out in this week's results! 

Like a Rolling Stone 5, Sympathy for the Devil 4

"Now here is a matchup. Two ridiculously creative songs going head to head on this one, and to think that one of these songs wont make it into the elite eight. 'Like a Rolling Stone' wins, of course, but still it makes me sad to see one of my favorite Stones songs bite the dust. Preemptive to say that 'Sympathy for the Devil' might lose? Perhaps, but 'Like a Rolling Stone' is by far the better song, so if it does lose its not on me its on you other voters. It's on you." - Steve

"I guess this where I stop liking 'Sympathy.' It was a good run, and I’m glad it’s losing to a behemoth like 'Like a Rolling Stone.' Not only is 'Like a Rolling Stone' THE song of Bob Dylan’s career (at least as a pop artist), but the irony of the Rolling Stones song losing to 'Like a Rolling Stone' is as good as that Alanis Morissette song – Crazy. But I will say that in pretty much any other matchup, 'Sympathy' would probably win." - Eric

This was a matchup, indeed! There was a LOT of back and forth between "Rolling Stone" and "Sympathy," but in the end the #1 seed barely advanced. And is it ironic? Maybe, but not even Alanis Morissette knows for sure.

My Generation 6, Strawberry Fields Forever 3

"Here’s my token best minority opinion (Ed. note - Not). This is a bracket about the 60’s right? What is the most prevalent thing about the 60’s? This is the thing that defined all the event and culture. No I’m not talking about drugs, or I would have sided with the Beatles. It was rebellion. For the first time, kids were their own minority. They could decide to be something totally different then what their parents wanted, something free from society, something original. Sure, there were drugs and peace protests, communes, and beatniks, and anything else you want to name. However, it was all in the name of rebellion. Each act drew a line in the sand: your generation vs 'My Generation'…(see what I did there?)" - Mark

"Don’t get me wrong; I love my Beatles. I even love 'Strawberry Fields Forever.' But John Lennon, who mostly penned the song, is kinda pretentious (and this is coming from someone who likes to listen to Françoise Hardy … so this says something). On the whole, John Lennon tries too hard to be esoteric and metaphorical with his lyrics. Now, this is not the worst, because there are far worse. On the other hand, 'My Generation' is just as it is, no pretenses. It is a fun song that encompasses the 'so what, this is how I am' attitude of the 1960’s counterculture. I am always a fan of the message of 'be who you be,' in addition to bowling and sloppy drums (0:42 and 1:15" - Alexis

"My Generation" has shown to be a strong #2 seed, because of its clear, rebellious message and terrific instrumentation. That was enough to beat one of the Beatles' masterpieces. Will their remaining songs share the same fate? And Alexis already did the link work for me, so here's some Francoise Hardy.

Whole Lotta Love 7, Hey Jude 2

"I was in the middle of saying that a 'Whole Lotta Love' is not my favorite Zeppelin song, and that I didn't think its very good, when I got to that awesome part in the middle, after the crazy, when the bass hits and solo come in. You know the part that's like 'DUM DUM, spueeedledidledidle'? That shut me right up. Led Zeppelin is amazing. I'm so lucky I wasn't a girl in the 60's and 70's. I would have been a groupie. Also, I really hate the fact over half of 'Hey Jude' is 'Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na...'" - Elliott

"I don’t really have much of an explanation other than it’s epic. 'Hey Jude' is a great build up to one of the greatest endings of all time, and it makes you want to sing along and sway back and forth and be one with everyone else listening to it with you. 'Whole Lotta Love' builds up…and then builds again…and again…and again! It’s a constant experience of wide-eyed expressions while exclaiming “where did that come from?!?!” in the best way possible. It’s fricking epic!" - Jim

As the hardest-rocking song in the entire bracket, "Whole Lotta Love" has a lot going for it. It was even ranked as the 3rd greatest hard rock song of all-time by VH1, which is quite a feat considering the riffs that would follow. If our voters will be judging based on sheer ferocity, don't count out Led Zeppelin despite its #9 seeding.

Light My Fire 7, You Really Got Me 2

I’m afraid my love for the Doors has just accidentally trampled over 'You Really Got Me,' ironic given the title. It took me a nanosecond to decide, but it’s for the fact that Jim Morrison is in the band, like a scissors-beats-paper." - Dan

"DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE! I won’t choose. I can’t choose. Well, I guess I have to. I must, the time to hesitate is through. For some reason, I feel compelled to choose based solely on the music itself, completely ignoring the impact the song had or any other external considerations. Therefore, I choose 'Light My Fire.' It’s a masterpiece. I know a masterpiece doesn't necessarily need to be extraordinarily complex or affecting, but The Doors do much more here musically than The Kinks. Lyrically, we’re about even in terms of content, but Jim Morrison is just a little more….up front. Let me just say, the guitar-organ counterpoint towards the end of the instrumental section is wonderful…just wonderful. There’s certainly a classical influence in there, but it grooves so hard. I just love it." - Bryce

In case you haven't heard, a lot of our voters are in love with "Light My Fire." That's how it pulled off a resounding upset of another hard-rocking song. But aside from their greatest song, it's no question that the Doors (especially Jim Morrison) were characters, seen in this chopped-up interview/documentary (Spoiler alert: fantastic facial hair). 

All Along the Watchtower 6, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction 3

"More like (I Can’t Get No) Votes. You know who else is voting for 'All Along the Watchtower'? My mom! And Eric! Obviously I'm going with 'All Along the Watchtower,' and here is one reason among many as to why. Jimi Hendrix could outplay Keith Richards on any day of the week. Jimi Hendrix has been dead for more than forty years, and that means that Keith Richards has had forty more years of practice than Hendrix, and still isn't as good as him. That really says something, and while the Stones could hardly even be called guitar driven I still don’t think 'Satisfaction' deserves the win here." - Steve

"I think Jimi Hendrix is a bit overated. Yeah, I said it. HOWEVER, 'All Along the Watchtower' deserves every dripping of praise that Jimi has ever gotten. Every single time I listen to it, I am reminded that I will never EVER come close to achieving what Jimi achieved. I will never create something as beautiful as this song and I will (likely) live twice as long as Jimi. For that, 'All Along the Watchtower' not only deserves my vote, but my undying respect." - Elliott

Down go the Stones! Down go the Stones! They fought valiantly, but are officially knocked out of the bracket altogether. This elimination means the Cinderella story of 'All Along the Watchtower' continues. The rousing Hendrix version of the Bob Dylan tune clearly resonates with a lot of our voters. And Steve, you know me too well. I can't turn down a good Regular Show reference (though the Stones are definitely guitar driven).

A Day in the Life 9, Oh, Pretty Woman 0

"This makes me really sad, because I love 'Pretty Woman.' The great thing about Orbison is that he never really learned how to write your standard pop song, so it comes out all weird but still works somehow. “Pretty Woman” is a great example of that; the feel and structure of the song goes more with the narrative than any conventions. But 'Day in the Life' is like that too, perhaps even more so. Atonal orchestral crescendos? Check. A vastly different middle section? Check. Avant-garde hidden track at the end? Check, check. And it’s beautiful, it’s all beautiful. Kind of like how everyday life can be beautiful in unexpected ways." - John

"Finally, a Beatles song I can vote for! 'A Day in The Life' as I have said before elevates the ordinary to musical genius. The lyrics, the music, the way it is sung coalesce to convey the monotony of every-day living. While 'Oh, Pretty Woman' holds that same motif of everyday occurrences, it does not reach that transcendent level as 'A Day in The Life.' Plus, it is probably the woman in me, but stop longing and just go ask the girl out!" - Alexis

Wow, I didn't think there would be a sweep this late in the game, but obviously nothing's impossible. The Beatles were shellacked in other matchups, but "A Day in the Life" looks stronger than ever. Still, "Pretty Woman" was going to have a tough time, because "Day in the Life" tends to make even great pop songs sound frivolous by comparison. It also didn't inspire a romantic comedy.

A Change is Gonna Come 6, California Dreamin' 3

"Lyrically, it's definitely much better than 'California Dreamin’'. Also, I prefer the orchestra to a couple of girls singing anyways." - Dan

"If I could express how much I love 'A Change is Gonna Come' in words, I would. But I can’t. 'California Dreamin’' is a solid song, and it certainly deserves its spot in the Sweet 16, but it can’t do for music what 'A Change is Gonna Come' did. Music is all about expressing emotions, and no one does that better than Sam Cooke." - Bryce

"This is a classic that touches many generations. 'California Dreamin'' is a dated song that doesn't have the same impact as 'Change is Gonna Come.' This is a song that still inspires hope, even years later." - Jim

"A Change is Gonna Come" is riding high, mostly from its raw emotional power. Not many songs have such a strong connection to an emotional and historic movement, not to mention one of music's great vocal performances. And yes, it still provides hope to this day, most notably for Barack Obama's 2008 election campaign.

(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay 7, In My Life 2

"I remember “In My Life” being in a place called the Sweet 16, but in MY life I love “Dock of the Bay” more. Redding projects the weary yet serene lyrics beautifully, perhaps because it’s very near and dear to what he was going through. If anything screams Swan Song, it’s this one. As sad as it is, it was a good note to end on." - John

"I’ll admit, I’ve listened to 'In My Life' every time it’s come up in this competition, and I can’t remember it. Pretty much every other song here has a pretty clear, distinct sound in my head. I have an idea of the lyrics. I kinda know how the drums go, and what the solo sounds like. But for the life of me, I have no idea what 'In My Life' sounds like. And after listening to it again, I see why – it’s exactly like 90% of The Beatles’ early catalog (pure pop), just slower and with a baroque piano towards the end. Yes, it’s a step in the evolution of The Beatles, but it’s like comparing Homo habilis to Homo sapiens – a step in the right direction, but it still needs a few million years to get good." - Eric

"If you’re lucky at least once in your life, you get to experience, if not join, a good jam session. Getting to play or listen to music with a good group of musicians who seem to be greater then the sum of their parts. That’s what I hear when I hear this track." - Mark

Another #2 seed makes its presence felt, defeating the other Cinderella story of the bracket (there can only be one, of course). "Dock of the Bay" has a simple premise, but it's more about where the weary, broken-down Redding has been than where he is now. That emotion just so happened to connect more with the voters than a similar song in "In My Life." Also, I was prepared to correct Eric on Homo habilis, but it appears that he has done his research.

Best Minority Opinions:

Bryce, on "Sympathy for the Devil"

"Ah…the battle of the rolling stones! Get it? Well, I have to go with 'Sympathy for the Devil.' I've said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t see Bob Dylan’s genius. I see his talent. I appreciate his talent. But in the end, I can’t quite grasp what other people say makes him so great. And to tell you the truth, The Rolling Stones aren't exactly my cup of tea either. They’re definitely a cup of tea, and a good cup of tea at that, just not my cup of tea. But if you put a gun to my head, I’d say 'Sympathy for the Devil.' I’d also say, 'Why are you putting a gun to my head?'"

Jim, on "Sympathy for the Devil"

"Both 'Like A Rolling Stone' and 'Sympathy for the Devil' are beautifully simple songs, but I think 'Sympathy' wins in this one. 'Like a Rolling Stone' is a classic…and I never truly understood why. 'Sympathy' is the Devil himself opening the door to his charming home while he entertains you for a bit before getting to dinner and dinner turns out to be your parents' heads. It’s the evilest song ever."

Dan, on Strawberry Fields Forever"

"Here we have a wild rock tune versus an artistic approach on what could have been just any other rock song. I really could go either way with this one, but I’m leaning more towards 'Strawberry Fields' for the reason that there seems to be so much more depth to everything in it, whereas 'My Generation' is pure fun to listen to."

Elliott, on "California Dreamin'"

"Am I the only one who thinks this song is super weird? Every time I listen to it, I feel very uneasy. 'Stopped into a church... got on my knees and pretend to pray... the preacher likes the cold because he knows I am going to stay.' What is going on with this story? The man is freezing and dreaming of California, but why? Where is he? Who is she? Why can't he leave without her? Through the odd key and it gives me Goosebumps. I love it." - Elliott

Mark, on "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

"This track is a horse I’m willing to ride to the final round. There’s almost an arrogance to this track. Jagger sings about not being satisfied, but he sings like he doesn't have any of these problems. This song IS the reason they could eventually get satisfaction."

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