Song of the Day #3,315: ‘Baltimore’ – Randy Newman vs. Fiona Apple

Round Three of Montauk Madness should be the most difficult yet, and this matchup certainly fits the bill. Two piano-playing singer-songwriters from different generations, both comfortably outside the mainstream. Randy Newman vs. Fiona Apple.

Newman defeated Adele with 90% of the vote in Round One, then The Rolling Stones with 89% in Round Two. Apple took down Dar Williams 80/20 in the first round before winning a tougher contest (60/40) against Brad Paisley.

I love both of these artists wholeheartedly. Newman is the more prolific of the two (especially if you factor in his movie soundtrack work) which could give him the nod, but I’ve spent more time listening to Apple’s music. Apple is probably more consistent, but that’s easier when you’ve released only four albums.

I’m happy to see either of these artists advance, and I’ll be sad to see either left behind.

I’m going to wimp out and make my pick a more practical consideration. I’m almost positive Randy Newman will win this contest, regardless of how I vote. So like a senator who votes to repeal Obamacare when Obama is in office, knowing full well it won’t really happen, I’m going to cast a symbolic vote for Fiona Apple here.

That way, while I’m happy to see Newman move on, I’m not personally responsible for Apple’s demise.

Beat-up little seagull
On a marble stair
Tryin’ to find the ocean
Lookin’ everywhere

Hard times in the city
In a hard town by the sea
Ain’t nowhere to run to
There ain’t nothin’ here for free

Hooker on the corner
Waitin’ for a train
Drunk lyin’ on the sidewalk
Sleepin’ in the rain

And they hide their faces
And they hide their eyes
‘Cause the city’s dyin’
And they don’t know why

Oh, Baltimore
Man, it’s hard just to live
Oh, Baltimore
Man, it’s hard just to live, just to live

Get my sister Sandy
And my little brother Ray
Buy a big old wagon
Gonna haul us all away

Livin’ in the country
Where the mountain’s high
Never comin’ back here
‘Til the day I die

Oh, Baltimore
Man, it’s hard just to live
Oh, Baltimore
Man, it’s hard just to live, just to live

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3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,315: ‘Baltimore’ – Randy Newman vs. Fiona Apple

  1. Dana says:

    I appreciate Apple’s considerable talent, but Newman has been one of my favorite artists for decades. He gets my vote here. Sorry Fiona.

  2. Amy says:

    I considered for about a second voting the way you did because I do appreciate Apple’s talent and want to support the few female artists in this contest. That said, I couldn’t ultimately bring myself to vote against the man responsible for both songs that move me deeply (such as “Home” and “When She Loved Me”) and a song that has been a staple of every introductory lesson on satire I have ever given. I use “Political Science” for that purpose, though Newman has at least a half dozen other songs which could work just as well. Finally, seeing him live years ago cemented my love for his humor and his artistry. So, yeah, it’s Newman for me.

  3. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    Yes there aren’t many female artists in this competition but I’m gonna vote for Randy Newman regardless.

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