Tournament of Fools, Round One

RSS
Compartir

16 Jul 2008, 14:06

This is borrowed directly from a recent series of journals by JoeIsListening, wherein one takes 64 songs selected at random from one's playlist and puts them in an elimination tournament which I gather is based somewhat on basketball playoffs or something. I don't know from basketball, so I won't comment on that. To quote from Joe, "These will be divided into 32 musical face offs. Losers go away and the winners advance until 'there can only be one.'" I eliminated any under-1-minute tracks from the list, but didn't bother with a ten-minute-plus track or a number of 8-9 minute ones.

I am also borrowing Joe's Difficulty-O-Meter, which "gauges the degree of difficulty in deciding which song advances. The scale runs from * (no contest, no thought required) to ***** (pass the razor blades)".

Now, I've got close to 30,000 tracks in my system, many of which I could not hum even a snatch of upon seeing the title, so this could be interesting, or not as much. Let's see.

1. Lebanese Blonde (French mix) by Thievery Corporation
vs.
2. Relax (Come Fighting) by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Frankie
Comments: Both of them good grooving tracks, but I think "Relax" got the edge because of my greater familiarity with it, and perhaps it's a bit less laid-back and a little more forceful.

3. Broken Birds by Jane Siberry
vs.
4. 7 8 9 by Barenaked Ladies
Difficulty: *
Winner: The Ladies
Comments: Little contest here--a pretty much acoustic track from a past-her-prime Siberry doing a misguided album of songs she wrote as a teenager, versus a catchy children's song from Canada's top popsters.

5. Heat of the Moment by Willy DeVille
vs.
6. Dreamin' by Lou Reed
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Willy
Comments: Willy DeVille mostly wins by default, because the Lou Reed track, from his subdued "Magic & Loss", is just not very strong. We'll see how Willy does in the next round...

7. Hell in a Handbasket by Drywall
vs.
8. Framed by Saga
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Drywall
Comments: This is far from my favourite track from Stan Ridgway's "Drywall" project, but it's still at least distinctive enough to edge out a less-familiar prog-rock track from Saga.

9. Afterglow by Genesis
vs.
10. The Message by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
Difficulty: *
Winner: Flash
Comments: A weak track from a weak Genesis album against one of the classic songs of rap music? Okay, I'm not rap's biggest fan, but Grandmaster Flash nailed this one.

11. Slip Inside This House by The 13th Floor Elevators
vs.
12. Close But No Cigar by Weird Al Yankovic
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Al
Comments: A catchy, appealing tune from Weird Al's latest album, even if not one that stuck out on first listen, holds its own against Roky Erickson's eerie tune.

13. We're Just Temporary Ma'am by White Whale
vs.
14. The Warrior by Scandal
Difficulty: *****
Winner: The Whale
Comments: Okay, "The Warrior" is a classic of 80's pop-rock, where White Whale are just some obscure upstart indie-rock band, but "We're Just Temporary Ma'am" is catchy and has a great title, which won out over nostalgia by a hair.

15. Prayer Meeting by Chet Atkins
vs.
16. Ultraviolence by New Order
Difficulty: ***
Winner: The Order
Comments: While "Ultraviolence" is one of those tracks that I couldn't hum you a bar of right now, it still outdoes a Chet Atkins instrumental cover version from "Solid Gold '68". Or, at least, this particular one.

17. My Hippy Angel by Bob Geldof
vs.
18. The Luxury by The Tragically Hip
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Sir Bob
Comments: While the Tragically Hip have some great songs, I have trouble getting into a lot of their album tracks, while Geldof's song is a fun listen.

19. Rocket by Primitive Radio Gods
vs.
20. Take Me Away by Fefe Dobson
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Fefe
Comments: Though Dobson's Avrilesque charms are overly obvious, they nonetheless outweigh those of that PRG guy.

21. Stay Awake by Suzanne Vega
vs.
22. Streets of Banaras by Ann Mortifee
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Ann
Comments: This was an interesting pairing. I love Suzanne Vega's a cappella take on the Mary Poppins song, but somehow her quiet, deadpan song paled next to Ann Mortifee's intense, histrionic soprano workout.

23. Furry Old Lobster by Jonathan Coulton
vs.
24. The Last Word by Mary Chapin Carpenter
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Mary
Comments: Mary Chapin Carpenter wins out over Jonathan Coulton for having more clever lyrics, but this is admittedly one of Coulton's weaker numbers.

25. As Good as New by ABBA
vs.
26. The Nightfly by Donald Fagen
Difficulty: ***
Winner: BAAB
Comments: The throbbing disco beat and harmonies have it over Fagen's soft jazz and wry weary-radio-DJ lyrics.

27. Questions in a World of Blue by Julee Cruise
vs.
28. The Rhythm of the Heat by Peter Gabriel
Difficulty: **
Winner: Pete
Comments: Julee Cruise is just a little too wispy to take on the primal power of even the live version of one of Gabriel's best tracks.

29. Tomber by Laurence Jalbert
vs.
30. Tapestry by Carole King
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Laurence
Comments: Laurence Jalbert, who on this song strikes me as a sort of Francophone Melissa Etheridge, edges out Carole King on this one.

31. You Took My Heart by Chris Isaak
vs.
32. Junior by John Mellencamp
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Cougar
Comments: John Mellencamp's story was a little more compelling than Isaak's bouncy lament.

33. Chance (single version) by Big Country
vs.
34. Messages by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Difficulty: ***
Winner: BC
Comments: The OMD track just wasn't striking me, which left Big Country on top by default.

35. Animation by Jon Anderson
vs.
36. Foxglove by Bruce Cockburn
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Bruce
Comments: The Jon Anderson track just went on and on, leaving the field open for Cockburn's little guitar instrumental.

37. What If We Don't Get What We Want? by 13 ENGINES
vs.
38. Rooms On Fire by Stevie Nicks
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Lucky 13
Comments: An uncharacteristically low-key track from alt-rockers 13 Engines, which takes out past-her-prime Stevie.

39. Mermaid Smiled by XTC
vs.
40. Perfect World by Talking Heads
Difficulty: ****
Winner: XTC
Comments: I'm not that familiar with the XTC track, actually, but it manages to beat out one of my less-than-favourite Heads tracks.

41. Manto's Arrow and the Sphinx by Andreas Vollenweider
vs.
42. Eric's Theme by Vangelis
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Vangelis
Comments: Despite (or, perhaps, because of) what sounds like Lisa Gerrard wailing in the background, Andreas Vollenweider is unable to beat the majestic track of "Chariots of Fire".

43. Kissing Gate by Sam Brown
vs.
44. Fading Lights by Genesis
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Ms. Brown
Comments: Not my favourite Sam Brown track, but it's better than the dull and overlong Genesis song, at least.

45. What a Day That Was by David Byrne
vs.
46. There Won't Be Trumpets by Stephen Sondheim
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Mr. Sondheim
Comments: Perhaps if the Byrne song had been the "Stop Making Sense" version, it might have beaten out this minor Sondheim song from the "Side By Side By Sondheim" revue.

47. The Killing Moon by Echo & the Bunnymen
vs.
48. Pull Me Down by Skydiggers
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Echo
Comments: For a song I was unfamiliar with, the Skydiggers track was unexpectedly strong, but not enough to beat out the classic E&TB song.

49. So Serious by Electric Light Orchestra
vs.
50. Bus Stop by The Hollies
Difficulty: **
Winner: Holly
Comments: It'll take more than that silly ELO song to defeat one of the best pop songs of the 60's! I can see "Bus Stop" getting quite far in this competition, in fact...

51. Double Take by Blondie
vs.
52. Islands of the Future by Gentlemen Without Weapons
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Blondie
Comments: Oh, my. The Blondie song is pretty silly, and from their latter days, but what is it up against? While Gentlemen Without Weapons sounded more pop than new-age with their synthesizers filled with animal and natural sounds, this song contains a gagworthy voiceover from a young Fairuza Balk that eliminates it from this round.

53. Grimsby by Elton John
vs.
54. Nightswimming by R.E.M.
Difficulty: ***
Winner: REM
Comments: The Elton John song is okay, but not great, and the REM song has been growing on me lately.

55. Careful With That Axe, Eugene by Pink Floyd
vs.
56. The Horns of Rohan & The Battle of the Pelennor Fields by Bo Hansson
Difficulty: **
Winner: Floyd
Comments: Oh, please. There's no way that Hansson and his synthy Lord of The Rings soundtrack can compete with such an epic of prog. I mean, with screaming and everything!

57. Look Down by Claude-Michel Schönberg
vs.
58. Saskatchewan Sea by The SplendourBog
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Les Miz
Comments: The SplendourBog song is an interesting ode to Canada's flattest province, but it can't decide whether to be serious or jokey, so the Les Misérables track, not one of my favourites but decent enough, narrowly pulls ahead of it.

59. The Story of One Chord by Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper
vs.
60. Lovers Anonymous by 10cc
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Mojo
Comments: The Mojo & Skid track is silly stuff, and so is the 10cc I suppose, but the 10cc track has the disadvantage of being pretty dull musically, so it drops out.

61. I Wanted Your Heart by Magazine
vs.
62. Love Don't Need No Tyranny by Tanita Tikaram
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Tanita
Comments: Neither of these are songs I'm that familiar with, but the Magazine track was grating on me a bit on this listen, so Tanita takes it through greater tunefulness.

63. Amelia by Joni Mitchell
vs.
64. Future Call by Jill Cunniff
Difficulty: **
Winner: Jill
Comments: While I like a number of Joni Mitchell songs, this isn't one of them. I mean, my favourite album of hers is "Chalk Mark In A Rain Storm", for heaven's sake. Jill Cunniff's isn't quite Luscious Jackson, but it's still a more fun listen.

Next week, or so, Round Two, where the 32 winners in this round duke it out with each other...

Comentarios

  • JoeIsListening

    If this one were mine, I'd predict Gabriel v. Hollies in the final round. But then, you know how my predictions turned out. Have fun... I'm enjoying watching someone else do the work!

    16 Jul 2008, 15:59
  • alfvaen

    You know, you could very well be right. There were only three songs in the competition which are actually in my "Loved Tracks" list, and "Stay Awake" has already been eliminated. The other two are "Bus Stop" and "Rhythm of The Heat", all right. But there could still be surprises.

    16 Jul 2008, 19:22
  • JoeIsListening

    Ah, but as you will soon learn, your perception of a song changes in the context of putting it up against another song. I never would have picked "Cold" to be the ultimate winner. That's what makes the process so much fun - but it is a lot of work to get there!

    18 Jul 2008, 12:41
  • EnokWalker

    Whoa... I totally wanted to do this with my own library when it gets bigger

    2 Nov 2008, 21:25
Ver todos (4)
Dejar un comentario. Entra en Last.fm o regístrate (es gratis).