The way the tournament is set-up this time revolves around four brackets representing different geographic areas, same as the NCAA. The North Bracket, West Seneca. The East Bracket, Perry Point. The South Bracket, Charleston. The West Bracket, Sacramento. The Final Four will be played in Biloxi.
(1) Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival vs. (8) Man vs. Machine by Razel and Kenny Muhammed the Human Orchestra
(4) Mississippi Queen by Mountain vs. (5) Poison by Bel Biv Divoe
(3) Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley vs. (6) I Just Called To Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder
(2) Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes by Taj Mahal vs. (7) Storm Coming by Gnarls Barkley
Alright, start it off in the North. This bracket is my least favorite- while there are some good ones in here, I just can't get excited about some of these matchups.
- Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes has already defeated Storm Coming, which in my opinion is sort of just a frantic electronica that makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Experimental music is one thing, and it has a catchy bridge, but the first 45 seconds just kinda ruin it. Taj, on the other hand, succeeds well here with a soft bluesy feel. Kuklinski is getting us the version she intended of the song, which includes some banjo or some thing, so that'll be interesting to see in the Sweet 16.
- CCR will take down the beatboxing of Rahzel & Kenny Muhammed. Good, creative entry and I give Rahzel a lot of credit for being featured here on his own, with no instruments. However, this isn't even really a song, just some noise with beat, and will falter as such. Bad Moon Rising is a contender.
- It's a good thing Superstition was Stevie's representative song in the first tourney, because that victory afforded him the respect that he will lose a bit marching into the second tourney with I Just Called To Say I Love You. However, these things are demographics games at best. Is the audience going to buy into this song enough to push it over the soul in voice life whispers of Jeff Buckley and Hallelujah? I say no. Hallelujah sends Stevie packing in the first round.
- Mississippi Queen. There's always a Mississippi type song in here. This is a good one though, short and strong and sweet. However, there's something to be said about Bel Biv Divoe, especially considering the Funky Cold Medina upset (which I'll get to in a second). I'm giving the Oakland boys the nod. Poison will advance.
(1) You Can't Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones vs. (8) Symphony No. 1 by Prokofiev
(4) Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole vs. (5) I'm Ready To Love by India.Arie
(3) Freebird by Lynard Skynard vs. (6) Funky Cold Medina by Tone Loc
(2) More Than A Feeling by Boston vs. (7) Breakdown by Jack Johnson
- In the same fashion that Stevie falters with his new entry, the Stones surge into the Hands On Music Tourney riding a much stronger song than Dead Flowers. However, in as strong a bracket as Sacramento, who knows what will happen. I will say this though: Marco's forcing of classical music upon us is sort of the Ralph Nader of this whole thing. It's very nice to hear, and those sorts of very basic aspects of the whole point of the system are always going to be there, but it's still not going to really be anything but there. The Stones advance after we endure 22 minutes of background.
- There's this scene in Finding Forrester. And another scene in ER. Whichever you see keys you in instantly to how goddamn beautiful the ukelele version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow is that accompanies that scene. You can't not think happy sad thoughts about some happy sad thing in one's past when you listen to this song. I'm Ready To Love is a nice song, and India.Arie's voice is incredible but I think Israel smoothly glides into the Sweet 16.
- Freebird. FREEBIRD! What would Freebird be if it weren't made a mockery of in pop culture constantly. "Dude, play Freebird. FREEEBIRRRRDDDD!!!" Regardless, Freebird is a good little ballad. It lost to Funky Cold Medina in the first round, 26 to 25. Such things happen. Tone Loc, musical genius. Seriously though, I think the old school rap might do well for itself here. It already has.
- More Than A Feeling has resonating power. It's the first song I ever downloaded off of something called The Internet, when as a junior in high school my friends convinced me to look into a little thing called Napster. Combined with ITunes' amazing ability to order your songs in the order that they were created on a hard drive, I can prove that this fact is true (as well as that the second and third songs I ever downloaded are Soul To Squeeze by RHCP and Rosa Parks by Outkast.) But MTAF...this song is a power ballad, and a windows down one at that. Jack Johnson rolls over on this one, and by roll over I mean like rolls over, and then starts rolling down some sort of large hill that one might glide down with strips of wood attached to one's feet, if there were snow and a way to access the top of the mountain.
(1) Tiny Dancer by Elton John vs. (8) With My Own Two Hands by Ben Harper
(4) Uncle John's Band by Grateful Dead vs. (5) Da Ya Think I'm Sexy by Rod Stewart
(3) Happiness Is A Warm Gun by The Beatles vs. (6) Concrete Schoolyard by Jurassic 5
(2) Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding vs. (7) Blessed by Brett Dennen
- Alright, time to start up my college basketball team comparisons again. I see Tiny Dancer as the Florida of the tournament. Strong seed, strong song, good swingman, gets stronger throughout, a song one can't necessarily play at the Pub unless one is significantly intoxicated. Or, you put on the jukebox at 8:56 at some yuppie bar outside Washington DC that would shut off the song halfway thru so they could play whatever squalorous crunk flavor of the week is deemed most sketch fostering. And I would hate this bar, this bar would make me so disappointed in my peers, and I'd watch the tide of gelled hair and tank tops and say to myself "I really wish I'd heard the last 2 minutes of Tiny Dancer. That would be much better than this awkward awful awful." Hands On is not that bar. Tiny Dancer advances. Ben Harper, no comment, as the person that nominated you not only failed to realize that you sang this song and not Jack Johnson, but also wanted to make sure I knew that this person meant the version on the "Curious George" soundtrack. No no, no comment at all.
- Last night, Da Ya Think I'm Sexy beat Uncle John's Band, and I was sad. I do have a thing for that Rod Stewart synthesizer though.
- Happiness Is A Warm Gun rounds up against the strongest song of the rap genre in the tournament, Jurassic 5. Concrete Playground is a wonderful song, good rhymes, a beat that doesn’t miss hit from the second the Bill Cosby vocal clip begins the song. However, HIAWG has staying power, and there are going to be a lot of people with allegiance to Mother Superior and that whole warm guns thing. This’ll be a close one, and hard to call, but I’m gonna go with the underdog and call Jurassic 5 on pulling through this upset
- This folky Brett Dennen “Blessed” song is not a song that’s going to upset Otis Redding. I did some research on Dennen, as I was unfamiliar with his music; “his 6'5" stature and thick shock of red hair gives him a larger-than-life appearance, and his baby face lends him an innocence and vulnerability that also comes across in his music.” That’s great, and this song sounds really promising at the start, but I lose interest very quickly- the lyrics don’t really catch me the way that a man who left his home in Georgia and headed to the Frisco Bay does. Otis, my man, you’re on your way to the Sweet 16
(1) Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie vs. (8) Ms. New Booty by Bubba Sparxx
(4) Rock & Roll by The Velvet Underground vs. (5) Hey Ya! By Outkast
(3) Breakdown by Tom Petty vs. (6) Where Is My Mind by The Pixies
(2) Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye vs. (7) Mr. Roboto by STYX
- Under Pressure defeated Bubba Sparxx soundly. Ms. New Booty would have done well in that bar I mentioned earlier- perfect replacement for Under Pressure mid-song. Just not here. Under Pressure advances
- The Velvet Underground-Outkast matchup is a really close call as well, and will depend on who shows ready to go on fight night. Will it be the swaying energy of 50’s decked out Andre 3000 inviting screaming fans to shake it like a Polaroid picture? Will it be Lou Reed sweating into a microphone the lust of rock and roll as salvation? Both? Neither? Too close to call, I’m going to go with the overt energy of Hey Ya on this one though.
- The second Breakdown, much better than the first, has stiff competition in the name of the Pixies, who would be formidable with most any Doolittle selection. Where Is My Mind additionally succeeds in inciting that memory of Project Mayhem’s demolition fruition at the conclusion of Fight Club helping that one along. However, Tom Petty has something to say in his song, with his rhythm twang and the rise and fall of the lead. I’ll probably vote Pixies here, but I think the audience is going to go with the Heartbreakers.
- DOMO ARIGATO, MR. ROBOTO! For those of you that don’t know Japanese, that means Thank You, Mr. Roboto! This song is awful. Like seriously awful. The only time I might like this song would be if I was stoned or something and someone made a video of like a half alligator half panda bear all robot that played chess against the sun or something. Anyways, it loses to Let’s Get It On.
More Than A Feeling: 8 to 1
You Can’t Always Get What You Want: 10 to 1
Under Pressure: 4 to 1
Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay: 20 to 1
I Just Called To Say I Love You: 100,000 to 1
Dark Horse: Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Overrated: Happiness Is A Warm Gun
That's all for now. I'll check in with Sweet 16 predictions in a couple weeks when we get there. For now, vote with your heart and good luck to all the songs.