Song of the Day #3,238: ‘Sandcastles’ – Beyoncé vs. Tom Petty

Somewhere Tom Petty is slamming his fist against a table and crying out, “Why did I have to draw Beyoncé in the first round?!”

Mrs. Carter rules pop culture right now, musically, socially and politically, while Petty is a deeply respected classic rock dinosaur. Is it even a fair fight?

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Song of the Day #3,237: ‘So Far’ – Eminem vs. Dave Matthews Band

We’re entering Week Four of Round One of Montauk Madness, just about halfway through the bloodbath that will result in 32 acts who live to fight another day.

Today’s matchup is a funny one, but then any pairing with Eminem was bound to be a little odd. Eminem is the only rapper represented in the contest, a fact that reflects both my general ambivalence to the genre and my admiration for the work of Marshall Mathers.

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Song of the Day #3,236: ‘If I Die Young’ – The Band Perry

Another Random iTunes Weekend that falls on a holiday — in this case, Mother’s Day.

Before I spin the wheel and see what musical tribute the Random iTunes Fairy serves up for the mothers in the audience, I’d like to offer a shout-out to the mothers who make my own life so special.

Happy Mother’s Day to my own sainted mother, to the love of my life and mother of my children, to her wonderful mother, to the lovely mother of my fabulous niece and nephew, to the darling mothers of all my cousins and to all mothers the world over. I think that covers it.

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Song of the Day #3,235: ‘Pop Muzik’ – M

Today’s Random iTunes Selection comes courtes of the soundtrack to Sing Street, one of my very favorite movies of last year. If you haven’t seen it, remedy that immediately!

Sing Street follows a group of Irish teens in the early 80s who start a pop band, inspired by the music of the era. This song and others serve as templates for their own original material (which is quite good).

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Song of the Day #3,234: ‘Tin Man’ – Miranda Lambert vs. Bob Dylan

This is the Montauk madness first round matchup I’ve been dreading since I first peeked ahead at the random seedings.

It’s not that the decision between Miranda Lambert and Bob Dylan is ultimately all that difficult (Dylan gets my vote). I just hate to see Lambert exit so early. I adore this woman so much that she should be an Elite Eight or even Final Four contender, but the hand of fate will have her on the sidelines before the games have even begun.

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Song of the Day #3,233: ‘Never Ending’ – Rihanna vs. Spoon

I can’t see much overlap between the Barbadian R&B singer Rihanna and the Austin-based indie rock band Spoon, making this one of the oddest decisions yet in the first round of Montauk Madness.

Rihanna is one of the most commercially successful musical artists in history (she recently passed Elvis as the top-selling solo act of all time) and has received quite a bit of critical acclaim as well, especially in recent years. Spoon is a critics’ darling without the sales and notoriety.

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Song of the Day #3,232: ‘The One I Love’ – R.E.M. vs. Stew

I opted for random seeding in Montauk Madness, but the other avenue is to seed each particpant based on stature. That’s how March Madness works, with the #1 teams (based on record) facing off against the #16 teams in Round One.

That prevents any heavyweight matchups early in the contest. Ideally, you don’t want the two best teams in a division to battle on Day One.

Going that route in this contest, however, felt wrong. If I were to rank the participants before even setting the bracket, wouldn’t I be defeating the purpose of the game? If a top contender loses in Round One because of an unlucky matchup, well, that probably would have happened in Round Three of Four anyway.

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