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.
Our final Montauk Madness Round Four matchup is another good one. Randy Newman vs. The Beatles.
Newman took out Adele and The Rolling Stones before besting Fiona Apple in Round Three with 80% of the vote. The Beatles blanked Shakira in Round One but have had a progressively harder path, knocking out Ben Folds before winning a relatively close battle against Lyle Lovett, 64/36.
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?
Our next Montauk Madness Round Four matchup is a bit unexpected. It’s not a big surprise to see Bob Dylan here, but this is rare air for Counting Crows, who happen to enjoy quite a bit of popularity among my meager readership.
Dylan made it here by dispatching Miranda Lambert, Eminem and R.E.M. Even though I voted for him all three times, the losses of Lambert and R.E.M. hurt me. I wish they’d had an easier path. Counting Crows took out Morrissey, David Bowie and Ben Folds Five. I picked them in the first two rounds before siding with Ben Folds Five, but even that was a close call.
Welcome to Round Four of Montauk Madness! The Elite Eight! Four contests that, if everything has worked out according to plan, will have you pulling your hair out trying to pick winners.
Our first battle faces off a couple of legendary New Yorkers: Billy Joel and Paul Simon. Joel defeated Michael Penn in Round One, Frank Sinatra in Round Two and Van Morrison in Round Three. Simon took out Elton John, Sting and Lucinda Williams. I voted for both of them every step of the way. Continue reading