Song of the Day #3,334: ‘For You’ – Tracy Chapman

I don’t think I’ve ever done a list of my favorite debut albums. I’m surprised, because that would be a fun list to compile given the many directions it could go.

I’m writing that down as an idea for a blog theme to come. Stay tuned.

One thing I know is Tracy Chapman’s self-titled 1988 release would be on that list. I never followed Chapman’s career after this record, but it remains a stunner. Its songs are eye-opening and tear-jerking, often at the same time.

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Song of the Day #3,333: ‘Wonder’ – Natalie Merchant

Today marks a numerical milestone for the blog: my 3,333rd post. The occasion prompted me to go back and look at the 1,111th and 2,222nd posts.

Song of the Day #1,111 was Christina Aguilera’s ‘Hurt’ and came during a week in which I wrote about each of The Voice‘s judges during its inaugural season (way back in 2011). Too bad that post didn’t fall on November 11, or it could have been Song #1,111 on 11/11/11.

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Song of the Day #3,332: ‘Elvis Presley Blvd.’ – Billy Joel vs. Elvis Costello

And now, four months of Montauk Madness voting comes down to one last decision as we crown a grand champion. Our contestants face off across the pond, with Billy Joel repping New York and Elvis Costello hailing from merry England.

Two singer-songwriters in their 60s, each with a healthy catalog of original material. Joel has enjoyed far more commercial success, while Costello is the critics’ darling.

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Song of the Day #3,331: ‘Seven Wonders’ – Fleetwood Mac

Another act I regret excluding from the Montauk Madness competition is Fleetwood Mac. I own four of their albums (Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, Tusk and Tango in the Night) and I freaking love pretty much everything they do.

This was another unintentional oversight, like the exclusion of Ron Sexsmith. I have to be more careful about this stuff!

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Song of the Day #3,330: ‘Anticipation’ – Carly Simon

While we wait for the tallying of the Montauk Madenss Final Four votes, I’m going to acknowledge a few acts I wish I’d included in the lineup.

As I’ve mentioned, I regret splitting out the solo careers of several artists from their work with bands. Specifically, I should have combined Paul Simon with Simon & Garfunkel, Morrissey with The Smiths, Ben Folds with Ben Folds Five, and David Byrne with Talking Heads. Not only would that have made the voting more straight-forward, it would have opened up four slots.

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Song of the Day #3,329: ‘Penny Lane (Live)’ – Elvis Costello vs. The Beatles

Our second Final Four matchup is a battle of London lads: Elvis Costello vs. The Beatles.

A nice connection here, as Costello has been a die-hard Beatles fan since he was nine years old and 27 years later teamed up with Paul McCartney to write an excellent batch of songs that both men released on future albums.

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Song of the Day #3,328: ‘The TImes They Are A’Changin” – Billy Joel vs. Bob Dylan

Four months after kicking off Montauk Madness (with a Billy Joel song, appropriately), we have arrived at the Final Four. Lots of close calls and blowouts, laughers and hair-pullers, and a lot of entertaining debate culminate in three more votes to decide — well, I’m not sure what we’re deciding. The consensus best artist according to readers of this blog as chosen from a group of 64 bands and soloists I rather haphazardly pulled together?

My initial intention for this series of blogs was just to run through the brackets myself and use the format to conclusively come up with my own favorite artist. I quickly realized that such an approach would be incredibly boring for my readers, who would certainly want a chance to chime in with their own votes.

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