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 #3,329: ‘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 #3,323: ‘…And in Every Home’ – Elvis Costello vs. Taylor Swift

Our third Round Four matchup pits Elvis Costello against Taylor Swift. Swift has been a giant slayer in the contest thus far, propelled by some major fans and a whole lot of debate. She took out David Byrne in Round One, Tom Petty in Round Two and Simon & Garfunkel in Round Three (72/28).

Costello topped Carly Rae Jepsen, then John Mayer and finally Michael Jackson (with a commanding 90% of the vote).

Swift’s path has been a generational war, Millennials vs. Boomers, and that won’t change in this round. Can she continue to topple the oldsters on her way to the Final Four? Or will Costello prove too tough a foe?

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Song of the Day #3,314: ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ – Michael Jackson vs. Elvis Costello

Kicking off the final week of Round Threee of Montauk Madness is a showdown between two very different musical legends, Michael Jackson and Elvis Costello.

Jackson made his way here by defeating Belle & Sebastian with 86% of the vote and then easily winning the Motown Showdown with Stevie Wonder, 77-23. Costello bested Carly Rae Jepsen with 67% in Round One and John Mayer with 83% in Round Two. This will be his toughest competition yet. Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,279: ‘Moving On and Getting Over’ – John Mayer vs. Elvis Costello

The next Montauk Madness Round Two battle is a bit of a laugher, particularly for readers of this blog. I’ll be surprised if John Mayer manages more than a single vote (my wife’s) against Elvis Costello.

Costello got here by taking out Carly Rae Jepsen, who did manage to pick up 33% of the vote. Mayer narrowly defeated Beck, 55% to 45%. Had Beck triumphed, the Beck/Costello matchup would have been interesting. Both have proved adept in multiple genres and are masters of the unexpected. Continue reading

Song of the Day #3,256: ‘Black Sails in the Sunset’ – Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello in his prime was as prolific and consistently excellent as anybody to ever step in front of a microphone.

Today’s Random SOTD, ‘Black Sails in the Sunset,’ was left on the cutting room floor during the recording of 1981’s Trust. It’s certainly worthy of inclusion on that album or any other, and yet it’s far from the best outtake Costello has released. His rejects are better than most people’s official catalogs.

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Song of the Day #3,244: ‘Warm Blood’ – Carly Rae Jepsen vs. Elvis Costello

The latest Montauk Madness Round One matchup features a prime contender for the whole title (Elvis Costello) vs. a newcomer with only a couple of albums under her belt (Carly Rae Jepsen). Not exactly a fair fight.

But Jepsen is a talent, no question. She might not be Rocky Balboa taking Apollo Creed to 15 rounds and losing by judge’s decision, but Costello is definitely in the other corner having taken a solid shot to the eye, nodding her way and saying “You have great things ahead of you, kid.”

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