SCORES & UPCOMING GAMES



CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL SCORE: (2) JEFF BUCKLEY 168, (7) Tracy Chapman 159 .......... FINAL FOUR FINAL SCORES: (7) TRACY CHAPMAN 154, (1) Joy Division 90 ..... (2) JEFF BUCKLEY 137, (1) The Cure 89 .......... ELITE EIGHT FINAL SCORES: (1) JOY DIVISION 74, (14) Low 60 ..... (7) TRACY CHAPMAN 85, (1) Elliott Smith 69 ..... THE CURE 65, (2) Radiohead 58 ..... (2) JEFF BUCKLEY 74, (1) Neutral Milk Hotel 44 ..... FINAL SWEET SIXTEEN SCORES: (1) JOY DIVISION 75, (5) PJ Harvey & Nick Cave 24 ..... (14) LOW 73, (2) Concrete Blonde (64) ..... (1) ELLIOTT SMITH 78, (4) Gary Jules 44 ..... (7) TRACY CHAPMAN 74, (6) Kate Bush 53 ..... (1) NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL 54, (13) The Church 49 ..... (2) JEFF BUCKLEY 73, (3) Sinead O’Connor 35 ..... (1) THE CURE 109, (3) Tori Amos 86 ..... (2) RADIOHEAD 76, (6) This Mortal Coil 50 ..... (1) JOY DIVISION 96, (9) Mazzy Star 91 ..... (2) CONCRETE BLONDE 76, (7) Bob Mould 28 ..... (14) LOW 60, (6) Crowded House 51 ..... (5) PJ HARVEY & NICK CAVE 65, (4) Alphaville 38 ..... (1) ELLIOTT SMITH 113, (8) Replacements 88 ..... (6) KATE BUSH 87, (3) Nirvana 64 ..... (7) TRACY CHAPMAN 99, (2) The Eels 62 ..... (3) GARY JULES 103, (12) Morrissey 63 ..... (6) Kate Bush 72, (3) Nirvana 53 ..... (3) SINEAD O'CONNOR 66, (11) Ride 27 ..... (13) THE CHURCH 106, (5) James 44 ..... (2) JEFF BUCKLEY 95, (10) Smashing Pumpkins 40 ..... (1) NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL 80, (9) New Order 56 ..... (2) RADIOHEAD 102, (7) Nine Inch Nails 99 ..... (6) THIS MORTAL COIL 61, (3) Indigo Girls 60 ..... (4) TORI AMOS 89, (5) Swans 40 ..... (1) CURE 82, (8) Tom Waits 68 ............... FINAL 1ST ROUND SCORES: (5) PJ HARVEY & NICK CAVE 93, (12) Midnight Oil 38 ..... (7) BOB MOULD 63, (10) Peter Murphy 47 ..... (1) JOY DIVISION 117, (16) Erasure 19 ..... (6) CROWDED HOUSE 98, (11) Leonard Cohen 54 ..... (7) TRACY CHAPMAN 199, (10) The Smiths 162 ..... (5) MORRISSEY 115, (12) Morphine 83 ..... (3) NIRVANA 137, (14) Slowdive 102 ..... (8) THE REPLACEMENTS 128, (9) Dream Academy 82 ..... (13) THE CHURCH 262, (4) Magnetic Fields 193 ..... (10) SMASHING PUMPKINS 165, (7) Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds 155 ..... (9) NEW ORDER 160, (8) Sarah McLachlan 78 ..... (1) JEFF BUCKLEY 204, (16) Bjork 92 ..... (4) TORI AMOS 78, (13) Echo & the Bunnymen 22 ..... (8) TOM WAITS 72, (9) The Pretenders 22 ..... (6) THIS MORTAL COIL 51, (11) Yaz 31 ..... (3) INDIGO GIRLS 71, (14) Pavement 26 ..... (9) MAZZY STAR 132, (8) REM 46 ..... (2) CONCRETE BLONDE 88, (15) Psychedelic Furs 34 ..... (4) ALPHAVILLE 71, (13) Dead Can Dance 36 ..... (14) LOW 120, (3) U2 65 ..... (1) ELLIOTT SMITH 63, (16) 10,000 Maniacs 24 ..... (2) EELS 50, (15) Counting Crows 46 ..... (4) GARY JULES 62, (13) Depeche Mode 19 ..... (6) KATE BUSH 59, (11) Sisters of Mercy 20 ..... (1) NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL 42, (16) Violent Femmes 12 ..... (11) RIDE 25 (6) Peter Gabriel 24 ..... (3) SINEAD O'CONNOR 37, (14) Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark 17, ..... (5) JAMES 24, (12) Red House Painters 23 ..... (7) NINE INCH NAILS 46, (10) Wilco 31, (5) SWANS 31, (12) Pet Shop Boys 18 ..... (1) THE CURE 50, (16) Gear Daddies 10 ..... (2) RADIOHEAD 40, (15) Liz Phair 35


CURRENT GAMES BELOW — PAST GAMES ARCHIVED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE

Friday, March 11, 2016

First Round Matchup: THE SMITHS vs TRACY CHAPMAN

(10) The Smiths, "There Is a Light That Never goes Out"

For starters, that the Smiths are the lower seed in this matchup seems nuts, right? But here's the thing: like Morrissey, the Smiths tend to have a nearly impenetrable sheen of ironic distance that makes it hard to really claim that most of their songs are sad exactly. So this was the committee's choice, and though the band has an epic reputation for mope, we're not sure either this or the Morrissey song (also in the same region by design, since no one wants a Morrissey-Smiths final four matchup, except maybe Morrissey) really has the legs to go far. And besides, in our view, this is probably the best Smiths song, and the one that has the least distance between listener and speaker which seems pretty important for a sad song (see also the way that as I write this (which will be past tense by the time you read it) the Magnetic Fields are explicitly not dominating The Church. This is also a brilliant pop song in its way, certainly one of the colossi of the age. But will the voters prefer the many-layered splendiferousness of the Smiths to the gut-punch of Chapman?



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(7) Tracy Chapman, "Fast Car"

A lot of the songs in the tournament happen to be the best-known, and often the first-known songs by the singer or group. That’s potentially a flaw in our picking process, but on thinking about it, sometimes the first cut is the deepest, as that other song goes. I’m thinking here of our Tori Amos selection, certainly. We could easily have picked “China” or “Winter” (though all those are on her first, spectacular album). “Fast Car” is one of these, Tracy Chapman’s first song that anyone knew. But it’s a hell of a first song, isn’t it? Haunting, hopeful, and we all know that the speaker here really isn’t going anywhere, and she knows it: “leave tonight / or we’ll die this way”. The bit that gets me is how the chorus—is it a chorus? yes, a strange chorus, but I guess it is one—quickens and brightens, and we’re in memory, the memory of speed, and we feel her excitement; we feel possibility for a moment, we’re suffused with it, that thrill, that buzz, and we believe, and then it evaporates and we’re back where we were before: “I know things will get better / you’ll find work and I’ll get promoted / we’ll move out of the shelter / buy a bigger house and live in the suburbs.” Well, I'm not sure we believe that. Don't think she does either, though she has to. Maybe she does. And maybe things will change. They won't without belief. And it's sure dark here either way. Is it better to live in a wish or in a memory?

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Which is sadder? Vote by 9am 3/12

Fast Car
There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
Poll Maker

18 comments:

  1. Damn, what a matchup! This is up there with Ali/Frazier, the third one (Thrilla in Manilla), a fight so brutal that the winner (Ali) said it was the closest he’d ever been to death. At the time Ali was sleeping around on his wife, with one Veronica Porsche, a total badass title for a mistress. If you had or have a mistress, wouldn’t you want her name to be Veronica Porsche? You would. But I digress.

    The Smith's Andy Rourke is intrigued about Manila's clubbing scene!

    Too bad, though…

    *** ATTENTION BLACK MARKET MASSIVE ***

    Due to passport and visa problems from his country of origin, ANDY ROURKE WILL NOT be able to perform in Manila this Saturday May 24.

    Andy Rourke's official statement: "Friends - I am deeply sorry, but due to unforeseen immigration issues I am not able to perform for you this Friday, May 23 at Cargo Bar in Ho Chi Minh City and Saturday, May 24 at Black Market in Manila."

    We apologise for the inconvenience. For those who already bought their advanced tickets, please stand by for more details.

    Fuck!!!!!

    When the then unknown Tracy Chapman was booked to appear down the bill at the Nelson Mandela birthday concert at Wembley Stadium on June 11th 1988, little did she know her appearance would be the catalyst for a career breakthrough. After performing several songs from her self titled debut during the afternoon, Chapman thought she'd done her bit and could relax and enjoy the rest of the concert. However, later in the evening Stevie Wonder was delayed when the computer discs for his performance went missing, and Chapman was ushered back onto stage again. In front of a huge prime time audience she performed "Fast Car" alone with her acoustic guitar. Afterwards the song raced up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

    “It’s not about a car at all!” Tracy Chapman.

    (Um no shit, Tracy)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tWE9mPM9pw

    Fast Car is sort of great, the way it lulls us in and then we’re surging (not so unlike certain drugs [not that I take drugs]). Speaking of crack, I don’t know why the committee placed these two heavyweights together so early. It’s annoying. It’s like in 2005 when the put Duke too early in the eastern triumvirate group of Death, section 9, on a Tuesday. Basically irresponsible. Another great thing about Fast Car is the final dagger, when the guy is inevitably a douche bag. The atmosphere is sad, the car is sad (like all cars), and then the ending is shitty. So, sad song.

    Tracy Chapman played Manilla about two weeks ago, BTW. She mailed it in.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tEFUFZ7sp0

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  3. Too bad she has to face The Smiths.

    “There Is a Light That Never goes Out” is basically a perfectly sad song. And the ironic distance (even at times stretching to play) does nothing to reduce its sheer craft. (Fast Car is a clearly flawed song, structurally.) I mean in The Smiths look at the turns here, the accumulations, sadness taken as some sort of dark paint, a sheen, layered on. But it’s like the best paint—expected (Another Smith’s song), but then unexpected (Wait a minute, this one is rising above its own genre…). And that’s just lyrically.

    Take me out tonight

    Annihilation. Murder. Erasure. And removal/escape. Another type of erasure. Density of phrasing. Take. Me. Out. Please. This a voice pleading and sort of desperately demanding. I take this voice as authentic and more so than Chapman’s car. Chapman’s car seems to be about romance. The Smiths seem to drive an existential car.

    Loss of youth, loss of home, the dark ink blossoms. Stains.

    And if a double-decker bus
    Crashes in to us
    To die by your side
    Is such a heavenly way to die
    And if a ten ton truck
    Kills the both of us
    To die by your side
    Well the pleasure, the privilege is mine

    This is sort of beautiful. Hyperbole isn’t easy. It bleeds into comic, but not here, especially since Morrissey goes all crooner (he’s the best crooner ever, period). It’s very artfully done, the heavenly and privilege are such odd words to have next to the imagery of the bus, the truck. It’s damn good. It reminds me of a simile, really. How so? Well, I judge fellow authors by their similes (in the way a musician might judge a fellow musician by some specialized technique). All authors spin similes, but some go next level. Like your mind goes, “It’s a simile” then goes, “Fuck, what a smile!” That shows skill and wit, as in intellect and purpose. Same here with The Smiths and hyperbole.

    Take me out tonight

    Take me anywhere, I don't care
    I don't care, I don't care
    And in the darkened underpass
    I thought Oh God, my chance has come at last
    But then a strange fear gripped me
    And I just couldn't ask

    Another turn! How did the lens do that? We’re out of the car and suddenly in this crazy public space/sexual moment. The strange fear….it’s downright eerie. And God (?) appears, another pleading. It’s damn good, folks.

    And out final turn’ we leap again!

    Oh, there is a light and it never goes out
    There is a light and it never goes out
    There is a light and it never goes out
    There is a light and it never goes out
    There is a light and it never goes out
    There is a light and it never goes out
    There is a light and it never goes out
    There is a light and it never goes out
    There is a light and it never goes out

    WTF is this? Cyclical back to the title. What light? Well, it’s an essay, isn’t it. Buses and trucks have headlights, God has a light, cars have lights, homes leave the light on, take me out, it never goes out, this light…I mean the damn song is downright philosophical. It’s philosophy is sadness.

    Fast Car is a pop song and that’s fine, but The Smiths take it next level, especially admirable, since they have to surpass their own identity to do so. They had to transcend their own Smithness. And they did.

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  4. MarchSadnessSoWhite--Tracy for me

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    1. The committee shares your concern & echoes the sentiment. Not exactly sure what there is to be done about it, however, given the overwhelming whiteness of the source material. On the upside former MTV VJ Downtown Julie Brown has agreed to host the awards ceremony.

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    2. Love. It. (I'm glad she's getting work.)

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  5. Replies
    1. Absurd. To paraphrase the Cohen brothers when recently asked about the Oscar hullabaloo, there are no quotas in art. Alternative rock of the Reagan era and beyond was mostly made by pale people who lived in places where it rained nine months of the year. If the category was Eighties rap, would you be bent out of shape if there were no white finalists? Let's keep it real...

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  6. If you haven't already, check out the raw, stripped-down cover of "There is a Light..." by David Ford (also a Brit). Much too recent to be considered for this bracket, but a song to certainly be considered.

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  7. Wow, what a matchup! Not only two great songs, but two that have a lot in common. Maybe it was too obvious to mention, but no one has noted their similar central images--the car as escape vehicle, longing to be picked up and taken somewhere better (or at least somewhere else).

    The Smiths song is probably one of the few that I've shed actual tears over, and at a certain point in my life it hit me deep in my soul. I still love it, but time has softened it for me.

    Time has also helped me realize that me and Morrissey aren't the only sad ones in the world. Tracy Chapman's song pulls back the lens from individual hurts to wider injustices and iniquities, rendered with novelistic detail. The hopelessness she describes--the knowledge that it's really going on the world, still--and that, you, the listener, might even be complicit in that sadness--is all pretty bleak. Chapman gets my vote.

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  8. And if a fast car
    Crashes in to us
    To die by your side
    Is such a heavenly way to die

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  9. Awards serve to reify and codify the notions by which we separate good from bad. As such, representation matters. And, obviously, I am well aware of the limitations of the source material. That doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't point out those limitations. It's not absurd at all to suggest that all of this is part of a machine in which sadness in a universal sense is defined as primarily white.

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    1. I feel a bit sorry for you if your response means you are unable to simply listen to music or experience the emotions it stirs without ruminating about a white guilt/PC agenda. Sadness it not defined as white; modern black music is a music of grievance. Grievance does not easily equate sadness. The bane of a hipster-driven discourse is that there is a hypocritical stance of open-mindedness but also a strict list of what is acceptable or not acceptable. Just as there is an *incessant* need to be offended. So, yes, you pointing out this non-fact in this "contest" is absolutely absurd...

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    3. Having seen some of Matthew's other comments on the site, I do think he appreciates music and its emotions and don't think he's filtering it through a crudely political lens. Part of the point, though, is that none of us "just listen" to music. We all bring to it our backgrounds, beliefs, life experiences. Why do some things resonate more with one listener than another?

      I don't think anyone here is trying to devalue The Smiths--just asking that as we add another pebble to the mountain of discourse about how great they are, we do it with open eyes--maybe asking why that band was/is important in the communities we're part of, and who we might be overlooking. If we continue on blindly, we may contribute to devaluing other artists and forms of expression.

      There's a long list of non-white artists from this era who made plenty of sad music (Mary J. Blige, Seal, Bone Thugs 'N Harmony, just the first few to come to mind), but few if any that fit into the genre restrictions of the contest. I certainly don't blame the organizers for that, but asking why those spaces (alternative radio, 120 Minutes, etc.) were almost all white, is in my opinion interesting and worth talking about.

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    4. Herschel--

      Instead of arguing the merits here, I'm just going to let ;k's point stand. I will, though, point out that, as is often the case in these conversations, you seem to be the one who is actually offended. I should have been more careful, I suppose, to avoid the implication that I didn't think anyone should have fun. Still, I wasn't boycotting March Sadness, or even implying there was a snub along racial lines. I've been a super active poster/voter/listener and I will continue to be.

      This is all that happened: I thought Moo Moo's comment was funny -- and in the process retroactively recognized how monolithically white the music that shaped me most fully was -- and I seconded Moo Moo's comment (which I thought was mostly a joke, because of genre limitations) by way of saying "this completely subjective 'contest' is so close and this is so not my favorite Smith's song so I'm letting Moo Moo's observation and a desire for the little bit of diversity here to stick around a bit break what is for me pretty much a tie." Other folks have broken ties for reasons having to do with synth rock or shoegaze or the body of a band that isn't technically what we're supposed to be voting on. I was never offended (I'm way more offended that people still like the Smashing Pumpkins than I ever was about anything in this thread); I tried, calmly but clumsily, to explain my utterance along the lines of ;k's much more graceful post. Again, though, you appear to have been offended by what I said because you perceived my opinion as an attack on fun or art or both. Which is kind of the definition of white fragility.

      Can we move on? For what it's worth, I would have voted for "Girlfriend in a Coma."

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  10. I'm bent out of shape that Downtown Julie Brown has not had great hosting duties. But that has been rectified!

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  11. In my view more conversation is better in this space as in most, as long as it's enjoyable, which is sorta the point of this whole endeavor...

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