Music Tournament Championship

Welcome to the most exciting 24 hours in music.

The moment we’ve all been waiting for.

King vs. Queen

Classic pre-Beatles Americana vs. coke-fueled, post-disco 80s

Two songs have that have defeated eight songs from a variety of genres over five months.

Under Pressure (Queen w/ David Bowie) vs. Stand By Me (Ben E. King)

Listen here, and as always, vote by commenting below or emailing by 11pm TOMORROW  NIGHT.

I know we had  mentioned that at one point that there would be no live commenting on the finals, but we changed our minds.  Proceed as always, but realize that a huge chunk of votes will come in from the listening parties between 8pm and 10pm tomorrow.   By the end of the last listening party, we will be ready to crown a winner.

During me and Guillermo’s podcast we went over what a tough match we anticipate this to be.  Last round, Under Pressure racked up a record 363 points from 44 voters.  But Stand By Me got 355, a mere difference of .2 per voter.

A huge thank you to all of you, the voters.  Music is awesome.  It is simultaneously personal and universal.  By participating in a music tournament, you have all seen your favorite songs fall, sometimes to seemingly unworthy adversaries.  Such is democracy.  Both of the songs before us tonight, however, have played like champs from the beginning. We’ll all be celebrating regardless of the outcome 24 hours from now.

About Janos Marton

Janos Marton is a lawyer, advocate and writer.
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17 Responses to Music Tournament Championship

  1. mike says:

    Under Pressure (9.4)
    Stand By Me (9.3)

    Why can’t we give love that one more chance?

  2. Danno says:

    King: 7
    Queen: 9

  3. natalie says:

    under pressure – 5
    stand by me – 11

    wasn’t really a competition for me. i think i appreciate under pressure more than i ever did before because of this tournament, but i still don’t really FEEL it. ben-e boy does something right. i’m throwing down the 11 just because i can, and because apparently i think it is the best song ever, which i think makes it worthy of an 11.

    well, it’s been real. have fun at your parties, and may the best song win!

  4. The Catholic says:

    Woah. Check the basslines on those songs. Definitely backs up my statement that it takes a strong bassline to win, not the two songs I’d have picked to make it here (I was thinking Superstition vs. The Weight or Son of a Preacher Man vs. Wagon Wheel). But these are both great songs, from equally great musicians.

    Standing King: 10
    Pressing Queen: 9

    Ben E. King takes it for a song that consistently makes me feel all tingly. All the way through. I ALWAYS like to hear this song. His vocals are flawless, hitting those high notes perfectly, with a grittiness to them that makes them stick to your soul. King’s incredible pipes are anchored by a phenomenal cello bass line, a steadfast Güiro (that ratchet sound that goes through every beat of the song!), a happy little triangle (ting!), and some strings that just grab you, float you up to the clouds, then plop you on a mountain top for the cello and Ben E.’s voice to sex you up some more.

    Under Pressure is a fantastic song that I appreciate way more having heard it a dozen or two times this tournament. I’ve always loved the bassline, since before I heard it on Ice Ice Baby. Mercury’s voice showcases his beautiful tone and his impressive range, while Bowie chimes in from time to time. The instruments blend magically for most of the song, especially when its just a handful of them like the bass and piano.

    Frankly, 90% of it is perfect. Its just that part at 2:55 where Bowie comes in all distorted and then gets really cacophanous at 3:15, only to relieve the pressure a few seconds later. I guess thematically, its exactly what they’re trying to convey with the song, layering vocals and instruments to the point where the tension gets almost unbearable… then the song POPS at 3:25, and Freddie belts out an almost acapella “Under Pressure” and the piano and bass line take you out in style…

    Its probably intentional, but that part stresses me out almost every time I hear it. It does relieve ‘the pressure’ when you hear Freddie that last time, and I could see how the strings in Stand By Me might do that to some people, but they don’t to me. And if I’m not in the right mood, that overblown Bowie bit can really bring me down. But Stand By Me never does…

    So Stand By Me by a hair.

  5. lindsay says:

    I have a guest tonight for the finals. My score will be first, followed by Lacey’s.

    Under Pressure: 9.5/6

    Stand by Me: 10/8.5

    I thought that UP would win for me, but having a listening party changed my vote. Stand by Me is especially awesome when I listen with my bestest pal.

  6. Mark O says:

    Under Pressure: 6

    Stand by Me: 9.2

    I’m sitting alone in my hotel room in Costa Mesa, Orange County, California. No listening party around. Just me and these two songs. More often than not, that’s how music enters my life – just me and a song. Perhaps ideal listening situation for this final…

  7. Marc says:

    Under Pressure 5

    Stand By Me 10

  8. Astrid says:

    Under Pressure: 7.2
    Stand By Me: 10

  9. caroline says:

    Under Pressure – 6
    Stand By Me – 9

  10. brian says:

    Under Pressure: 6.8 (classic beat, strong song, but the pseudo-scat bullshit and the weak lyrics just bring it too far off the pedestal of greatness)
    Stand By Me: 10 (powerful theme, simple instrumental, tight lyrics, not overly ambitious, but stirring and strong – this song could not be improved)

  11. Maureen says:

    I also am bringing in a vote from my boss. We listened to the songs and then really talked about what makes both of these songs so good. It was a tough call.

    Stand by Me – 9
    Under Pressure – 8
    (he loves Bowie, but says Stand by Me has a more universal appeal, making it a stronger song)

    Stand by Me – 10
    Under Pressure – 9

    Both songs are just SO good. But Stand by Me really gets me every single time I hear it – I can see why its been a stealthy powerhouse in this tournament. Who can resist that emotion? And those strings? Its love!

  12. G says:

    Under Pressure: 8.5
    Stand By Me: 9.6

    Wow. Twice through each.

    Ostensibly, it’s the best technical song (just mastery and skill) vs. one that that, after “and the land is dark” just is simply adorable and direct. (even the smaltzy strings make me smile.)

    Really though, Great tournament everybody– Can’t wait for the next one!

  13. aiko says:

    Under Pressure: 9.6
    Stand by Me: 8.3

    I agree with G that this match up comes down to a song that technically stunning vs. one who wins with its straightforward simplicity. And I am a huge fan of simple, straightforward, heartfelt songs. But when Under Pressure crescendos, it grabs me every time.

  14. BH says:

    Stand by Me 9.5
    Under Pressure 8

    I listened these back to back for the first time in life, and you just can’t beat that soulful voice, those lyrics, and the amazing bass line that makes me put my arm around whoever is sitting next to me and sway.

  15. jenny says:

    queen – 9
    king – 8

    both excellent songs, and both eminently sing-alongable. wish i could be there tonight, but school work is eating me alive. have an awesome time!

  16. Adrock says:

    Damn this was a great finals!! Votes for me and for Meghan here.

    Under Pressure 9.5
    Stand By Me 8.6

    Finally Under Pressure broke through! I was totally feeling it for the first time in rounds, and I wanted to shout the lyrics from my balcony. Stand By Me is terrific, it’s just not quite as capable of pumping me up. Awesome end to an awesome tournament.

    Under Pressure 9
    Stand By Me 11

    Stand By Me just felt like more of a winner tonight. Not sure I can explain it, but it’s true. Guess I’m in a more romantic mood than Adam.

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