Well, the Summer of 2011 has drawn to a close- the students are schooling, you’ve got one last chance to get your best white apparel in…and the People have chosen a champion. First of all, thank you so much to voters that went the extra mile to rope in extra voters: big shout outs to ASF throwing a pre-game vote party in Montreal, to Maureen (and Chris B, who has become an under the radar semi-regular) for repping it up in Chicago, to Anna Z for galvanizing our first voting contingent from lovely Madison, WI, and of course to Janos for hosting his party at Dukes. And now for the numbers…
Somebody To Love (Live In Montreal): 441.6
Dog Days Are Over: 415.5
This final score isn’t a blow out by any means, and people came out on all sorts of sides for this contest.
- There were twelve perfect scores for Queen and five for Flo.
- Averages were pretty low, indicating some additional scrutiny from voters as well as the aggregate effect of many new voters. Queen takes this with a 7.61, while Flo ends up at a 7.18.
- Much congratulations to Queen for finally grabbing the gold medal that eluded them in the previous tournament. Florence + The Machine get an extremely respectable silver medal. The bronze goes to Mumford and Sons’ “Little Lion Man”- while we don’t do a third place match, we give the bronze to the Final Four loser with the highest average.
So how to close the journey…as I’ve often said, I believe the point of this isn’t necessarily to figure out who nominated the best song (although additional congratulations to Janos for calling his champion early on) but to all discover new music we’d never gotten into before. So, if you’d like, please comment on these results and share your five favorite new songs to which you’d never given a chance but have now slipped into your playlists. I’ll start, and also include the nominator.
Guillermo’s Five Favorite “New To Me” Nominations
5) Alors On Danse, Stromae (Carrie): So a lot of you hated on this first round loser, particularly the use of the kazoo, but this song is pretty awesome. Here’s an English translation of an excerpt of what exactly this Belgian guy is saying. Oh, “alors on danse” means “so let’s dance”:
He who talks about a crisis, talks about a lot of people, talks about third world hunger
He who talks about being tired, talks about awakening, tired from yesterday.
So we party, to forget the problems
So let’s dance
So let’s dance
So let’s dance
It’s hard to work hard and play hard on both sides of the pond. The video is pretty incredible, and a good number of people in the music industry are closely watching Stromae’s rise. As a debut, this song rocks it
4) Alex Chilton, The Replacements (Adam Sz): Um, what? This song is incredible. Turn it up all the way, put on your best pseudo-grunge gear and get ready to rock out. There was the cool coincidence of a potential Big Star-Replacements match-up (i.e., “Alex Chilton” vs. Alex Chilton) but the reshuffle docked that. Anyways, this is a song that would have been right up there with my favorite early 90s rock, had I known about it earlier. Now I do, and now it is.
3) ’39, Queen (Aiko): God damn, I need to get my hands on a vinyl copy of “Night At The Opera.” And who knew Brian May could sing like that? This song is maybe one of the nicest, most calming songs I’ve heard all year. If my Saturday 10 am coffee and morning cigarette on my back porch could have a soundtrack, I’d want it to be this. Lovely chorals, lovely guitar rhythm in a way you’d never expect from these guys, lovely lyrics. I think we discovered that this is a song about space explorers, but I’d like to think the message is universally soothing beyond extraterrestrial escapades. Loved this one.
2) Papa Was A Rodeo, Magnetic Fields (Jacob): So sometimes a song can catalyze new musical directions in your playlisting, and thus its stand alone effect on you is that much more pronounced. “Papa Was A Rodeo” alone is an example of fantastic subtlety, but I knew in my heart it couldn’t go far. This is a genre that has always faltered in the tournament arena. But goddamn if I don’t love a song about a guy hitting on a girl in a dive bar, and being completely oblivious the her attempts at explaining, “I never stuck around long enough for a one night stand. Before you kiss me, you should know: Papa was a rodeo.” The notes of the song sound like the thousand swirling eyes coming off the disco ball they mention in the second verse (A DISCO BALL! Ugh, so good.) Anyways, what I mean by catalyst is that this song finally convinced me to take the leap and buy 69 Love Songs. And growing love for additional tracks off that work including “All My Little Words,” “You’re My Only Home,” “Kiss Me Like You Mean It,” others, others. PWAR finally put me firmly in the Magnetic Fields camp, and I’m happy to now be here.
1) Fisherman’s Blues, The Waterboys (Quinnelly): You regulars probably saw this coming from a mile away- I spent my Friday afternoon listening to the rest of this album. I’m a believer. For this song though, I just felt great affinity for it from the moment it started. It’s the perfect combination of a song about solitude and a song about love. And there is a well-utilized fiddle. Ah, again, another song that maybe could never be the People’s Choice, but lyrically, this is beautiful. Melodically, it is consistent. It is folksy enough to be nostalgic but not over the top. Just perfect. Anyone that has ever traveled by themselves and looked long at the road, the tracks, the sea can find something in this one. Wonderful.
Any shoutouts anyone else wants to give? Let’s hear them!