Bracketology: 70s versus 10s — Second Round Results!

There were 32 left. And oh my did they cause some issues.


Pop Region

(1) Rolling in the Deep versus (9) Superstar: In 2011, I worked alone at the university for the entire summer and spent a whole lot of time trying to entertain myself. Adele’s “21” album  had come out in January. It was the #1 album for 2011 AND 2012 and some critics say it single-handedly saved the music industry in terms of sales. I will never forget RUSHING home and making Carrie sit in the car with the better sound system to listen to “Rolling in the Deep” and announcing, “Get ready. This is going to blow the whole thing up.” Then it did. And “Superstar” is a beautiful song. Karen Carpenter’s story is tragic and beautiful. My dad played Carpenters albums during dinner more frequently than most other albums because they are so listenable. I would argue it has the best ending chord ever. I rediscovered this song in 2017 during the peak of upheaval. It always seemed to allow me to feel sad and lost without feeling hopeless. That’s why it’s on the list and I’ll always be appreciative. But it’s not taking down Adele. WINNER: Rolling in the Deep

(5) Me and Bobby McGee versus (4) Hello: I’d like to think Janis and Adele would have fucking loved each other. “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” is genius. And one of the things I’ve realized doing this is that the 70s always sneaked in keyboards at the coolest little moments that add SO MUCH to the song. We went to a musical once based on Janis’s life and they had to have TWO different actresses play her and alternate performances because singing like her was bad for their voices. And this was, like, just her voice. This is what she did. You have to appreciate that. With all that being said… WHY THE MOTHER HELL DID I MAKE “HELLO” A FOUR SEED?!?!? (When it started, Carrie looked at me with a face that could only be saying, “WHY THE  MOTHER HELL DID YOU MAKE “HELLO” A FOUR SEED?!?!?!?”) When she goes into “Hello from the other side” and that low drum beat hits, she just owns every god damned break-up you’ve ever had and every person you’ve ever loved. (I didn’t put “Someone Like You” on here because it’s not the “Adele Region” and because it probably would have killed me.) My favorite Adele stat is that “25” (the album this came from) was released on November 20, 2015. November 20. And it was the world’s best-selling album of 2015. You don’t have 2010s without Adele. But Jesus Christ does this set up a problem in the next round. WINNER: Hello

(11) Joy to the World versus (14) Bohemian Rhapsody: Well, “Joy to the World” blew my mind in the first round. I think we sang this in third grade choir and I ridiculously loved the word “bullfrog” for no apparent reason. Also I am super sensitive to key changes and the ones in this song don’t drive me crazy. It’s a great, straightforward pop song. So OF COURSE it matches up against the least straightforward pop song ever written. When I was growing up, 106.9 out of Rochester ran their “Top 9 at 9” countdown so I always “went to bed” at 9 and listened to the whole thing. It was #1 in 1976 for nine weeks; then it was #1 in 1991 for five weeks after Freddie Mercury died; and then it was #1 for three weeks in 1992 after the release of “Wayne’s World.” It was on the Top 9 at 9 for approximately 82 years. And I lived in a time where I had to listen for the song and quick record it on a tape so I could listen to it over and over again. I literally recorded it as many times as I could on one side of a tape so I didn’t have to rewind. That’s how much I loved this damn song. Sorry, Three Dog Night. You were great. But Queen survives. WINNER: Bohemian Rhapsody

(10 Chandelier versus (15) Despacito: Fun fact: I loathed “Chandelier” the first 40 times I heard it. I literally couldn’t figure out why it was popular. And then, one day, I just listened to it from beginning to end. And I was completely lost to Sia from that point forward. The bite in her voice and the way she can make it “crack” in all the right places… she is amazing to me. I could probably have a Sia Region and perhaps I should have had a Sia/Adele Region to save myself from pretending like I don’t love both of them more than anything. And then. Well. “Despacito” is just an amazing pop song. I know exactly where I was the first time I heard it. That’s a marker for me — when you love something enough to know exactly where you were. That it speaks to you at that level. And considering I don’t know what 80% of the lyrics are actually “speaking” to me? But the two beats at 1:55 make me move. Every time. Shit. WINNER: Despacito

Acoustic-ish Region

(1) River versus (8) We’ve Got Tonight: I’m not a huge Joni Mitchell fan overall, but I always read articles about her. I have read a book about her. And I think every iteration of “River” is just completely amazing and the ONLY way that happens is if it is a perfectly written song accessible to everyone. So go ahead and have a break-up (that’s not insane) and apply it. It works. Then there’s Bob. Bob and his “Wonder Years” soundtrack song that made you want Kevin and Winnie to last forever. I cannot believe how much I like this stupid song (that I probably hadn’t listened to in a decade prior to this bracket). Seriously. This is the Region of Death. My god. WINNER: We’ve Got Tonight

(5) Sweet Baby James versus (13) Take Me to Church: I have another nephew named James (whom we call Jimmy) so this song is now his. And no, it’s probably not the best James Taylor song from the 70s and I knew that picking it, but I think it’s brilliant. You can basically get me to do anything if you give me something in 3/4 time. It is an amazing song. (As it played, Carrie looked at me and said, “Is this up against “Time in a Bottle?” and I said, “Worse” as in a much tougher match-up than that.) But. And I mean this “but” with all the love possible… Hozier destroyed my world with this song. I never shut it off. I seek it out. It fits a variety of moods that I can’t even begin to describe to you. And yes, I said this in Round One, but those fucking “Amen” riffs are incomparable. Sorry, James. WINNER: Take Me to Church

(11) Imagine versus (3) Time in a Bottle: “Imagine” is not inventive musically. It is seriously the most simple song in the key of C that I actually think people really loved because the Beatles broke up and they needed their Lennon fix. Then he got killed (God Bless Guns) and the lyrics added a level of meaning that cannot be undermined. Jim Croce also died fairly early and “Time in a Bottle” is, to me, also an iconic 70s song. Piano versus guitar. We should mash them together and throw in a “Dust in the Wind” underpinning and then we’d have everything about 70s music in one song for me. But I am the direct offspring of a Beatles fanatic who fielded phone calls from friends who just needed to express their sadness to each other on the night John Lennon died. Therefore… WINNER: Imagine

(7) Home versus (2) The Cave: I could not be more nervous to have these two up against each other. The driving drumbeat and melody and the remakes and the chorus of “Home” made it, literally, my favorite song of 2012 and 2013. The little piano noodling in the background of the chorus is underrated. People I know who HATE acoustic/indie music appreciate this song. And they have horns. And I have an OBSESSION with the philosophy of what “home” means. And everyone knows I love whistling. I LOVE WHISTLING DAMMIT. …breathes… Then there is “The Cave” which really sent this whole 10s sound into what it became. Without Mumford & Sons, “Home” doesn’t happen (at least in a way that gets recognized by mainstream media). I played “The Cave” for every person I knew for awhile and anybody who didn’t love the horn section at the 3:19 mark got cut from my life. [Editor’s note: This is not true.] I would say that seeing “The Cave” live at Red Rocks was the greatest live music moment of my entire life. “I will hold on hope / and I won’t let you choke / on the noose around your neck / and I’ll find strength in pain / and I will change my ways” is… well… yeah. That’s it. WINNER: The Cave

Rock/R&B Region

(1) Single Ladies versus (9) Superstition: If I’m being perfectly honest, I think I like “Single Ladies” because one time my wife and I sang, “All the single turtles,” and changed it, “If you like it then you shoulda put a shell on it.” And we were delighted with our funny. So now every time I hear it, it reminds me of that and happy memories stick in our brains differently. “Superstition” on the other hand holds absolutely no memories, happy or otherwise, for me. But that hook? And the way it builds with the horns? And the way the drums just lay down the perfect amount of funk? WINNER: Superstition

(12) Lonely Boy versus (4) First Time Ever I Saw Your Face: If somebody else wants to find me a time when The Black Keys were compared to Roberta Flack, that would be great. To me, The Black Keys are the 10s best option for “Rock” with a hat tip to Foo Fighters. And the truth of the matter is that “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” is a good song and basically summarizes a lot of the 70s for me: Super slow, melodic, goes on forever. She has a beautiful voice and was super important to music. But “Lonely Boy” rocks with its own great melody and a bass line that rules. WINNER: Lonely Boy

(6) S&M versus (14) Hotel California: As I laid awake last night, I considered that there is a pretty perfect route for “S&M” to win this whole thing. It was 3 a.m. and I thought, ‘Can it really?’ and then I thought about everything I love about this song. That pulsating drum. The line “Cuz I may be bad but I’m perfectly good at it” which is probably my life motto. The fact that Rihanna just owns ’10s R&B (if she would just keep Drake the hell away from her). And, well, this is how I feel about “Hotel California” to be honest:


So yeah. Give me Rihanna every day of the week. WINNER: S&M

(7) Old Time Rock N Roll versus (15) Dream On: I feel like this is the most evenly matched of this round (for sure in this region) (which didn’t take much). “Old Time Rock N Roll” was one of those songs that NE Iowa freaking LOVED and played all the damn time. I am legitimately surprised my brother and I did not have a synchronized dance choreographed to it because if you know anything about Iowa, our wedding dances are, essentially, the number one pastime. The thing about “Dream On” is that it makes me want to take over the world. There are a number of songs that do this for me, but when he goes to the upper register for that last build? Sorry, Bob. And sorry to all 408 wedding dances I attended growing up. WINNER: Dream On

WTF/Earworm Region

(1) Stayin’ Alive versus (9) Piano Man: Carrie looks up, “Isn’t this the ultimate earworm?” Yes. That is why I ranked it #1. It may be the only ranking that I was completely sure of. Growing up, my father HATED disco. I mean, it was basically a swear word in our house. I was led to believe there was no redeeming quality to it at all. And then, I watched over and over as no one ever shut this song off. (Please also see: Iowa wedding dances.) And “Piano Man” was also a favorite to drunkenly sing at karaoke and I have this very strange but clear memory of all of my high school class standing around singing this at the end of prom. And, to me, if the song comes on somewhere and 80% of the people there either sing along or bop to it, it’s an earworm. But it just can’t possibly take down the Bee Gees. WINNER: Stayin’ Alive

(5) Happy versus (13) Pumped Up Kicks: “Happy” was the #1 song when my nephew, Jude, was born which I felt was a sort of good omen. (The #1 song when I was born was “Escape (Pina Colada Song)” which is also an omen and a really strangely accurate portrayal of a real life experience and let’s just move on…) “Pumped Up Kicks” is essentially diametrically opposed to “Happy” from a lyrical perspective so this one has to come down almost entirely to earworminess. And even THEN, I’m sitting here going, “Too close.” So I’m flying blind on this one and going with the one I like better. WINNER: Pumped Up Kicks

(6) My Sharona versus (3) Call Me Maybe: Nothing can break up my marriage (proven fact) but these last two match-ups may cause a bit of yelling. (Thank god we’re not into the silent treatment; we basically just keep yammering until one of us gives up.) My irrational love of “Call Me Maybe” versus the fact that I legitimately believe “My Sharona” is actually a better song. It is an insane amount of irrational love, you guys. Like, I watched all the parody videos and never got tired of the song. How do I kick it out of this bracket? If I did a poll of “Have you ever had “Call Me Maybe” stuck in your head?” I can’t imagine it scores under 100% (except for my friends who don’t listen to pop music but I just roll my eyes at them). GAH!  WINNER: Call Me Maybe

(10 What Makes You Beautiful versus (2) Dancing Queen: “What Makes You Beautiful” started and Carrie just slowly shook her head and closed her eyes. This song will always be me driving on some weird ass set of back roads to get to my grandma’s funeral. I had no cell service; I just had my music. I think I played this seven times in a row at one point. So yeah. I get the OneDirection love. What I want to know is what this song sounded like in the brain of the person who came up with it. Did it keep them up at night? It would have kept me up at night. HOWEVER that being said… ABBA is the immovable object in this match-up. You know it. I know it. It’s just happening. WINNER: Dancing Queen

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