Song of the Day #3,270: ‘Country Nation’ – Brad Paisley

Here’s another track by a recent contender in Montauk Madness. Brad Paisley held an early lead over Lana Del Rey, but did he hang on to win? And will those turned off by this full-throated celebration of beer-swilling, football-watching country music fans regret voting for him over the enigmatic chanteuse?

This song is a good example of why I ultimately voted against Paisley. He’s good for one or two of these anthems per album, and that feels way too much like a formula. Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,269: ‘Diane Young’ – Vampire Weekend vs. Ben Folds Five

Two innovative indie bands face off today in Round Two of Montauk Madness.

Vampire Weekend got here by defeating Pink Floyd with 70% of the vote. Ben Folds Five had a slightly harder path, taking down Aimee Mann with 60%. I voted for Vampire Weekend and against Ben Folds Five in the first round, but would have reversed those votes had they switched their opponents. Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,268: ‘Brand New Day’ – Sting vs. Paul Simon

Sting and Paul Simon lived in the same New York apartment building in the 80s, and collaborated on a concert tour in 2014. Now they come together again for a Montauk Madness Round Two death match.

Much to my chagrin, Sting defeated Sinead O’Connor in Round One rather easily, earning 70% of the vote. Paul Simon, surprisingly, had an even easier time dispatching Elton John, with 73%. Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,267: ‘Gone For Good’ – The Shins vs. Lucinda Williams

None of the Round Two Montauk Madness matchups have been laughers so far, but this is the first one I’ve found truly difficult.

Lucinda Williams advanced easily over Garbage, picking up 91% of the votes, while The Shins won in more of a squeaker, besting Coldplay with 55%. I voted for both of them in those battles. But who should I vote for here? Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,266: ‘Solsbury Hill’ – Peter Gabriel vs. Van Morrison

Our next Round Two contestants are around the same age and have each been recording for five decades, making for a nice heavyweight matchup.

Peter Gabriel defeated Josh Rouse in Round One, picking up 67% of the vote. Van Morrison has an even easier time, dispatching Barenaked Ladies with 91%. Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,265: ‘She’s Got a Way’ – Billy Joel vs. Frank Sinatra

OK, now it gets interesting! Welcome to Round Two of Montauk Madness. The 32 artists who survived Round One now advance to face each other in a battle to reach the Sweet Sixteen.

Both Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra cleared Round One without breaking a sweat. Joel received 95% of the vote in a matchup against Michael Penn, while Sinatra picked up 86% against my beloved Tift Merritt.

How will they fare against each other? Continue reading

Song of the Day 3,264: ‘The Leftovers Piano Theme’ – Max Richter

I’m interrupting my normally scheduled Random Weekend selection to offer up a quick appreciation of the HBO show The Leftovers, which ended its three-season run a week ago.

The show, based on a book by Tom Perrotta (one of my favorite authors), was developed for television by Damon Lindelof, of Lost fame. It takes place in a world where an unexplained “Departure” has seen 2% of the world’s population disappear without explanation. Think of the Biblical Rapture, but affecting people of all faiths (and no faith).

Continue reading