Tournament of Swans, Round Two

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Lug 24 2008, 3:20

(See the explanation posted with the previous round if you're too confused.)


Here we are again, for Round Two of the Tournament of Swans. Our starting allotment of 64 tracks has been reduced to 32, so oddly enough this round took less time to do. Let's see the results, without further ado:

1. Relax (Come Fighting) by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
vs.
2. 7 8 9 by Barenaked Ladies
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Frankie
Comments: "7 8 9" is amusing enough, a bit jokey, but loses out to "Relax" in edginess.

3. Heat of the Moment by Willy DeVille
vs.
4. Hell in a Handbasket by Drywall
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Willy
Comments: I still don't know whose voice it is on that Drywall track (doesn't sound like Stan Ridgway, at any rate), but it's annoying enough for Willy DeVille to advance another round.

5. The Message by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
vs.
6. Close But No Cigar by Weird Al Yankovic
Difficulty: *****
Winner: Flash
Comments: "The Message"'s classic status, and more serious tone, may be all the keep it from getting defeated by what is beginning to sound like one of Weird Al's standout tracks.

7. We're Just Temporary Ma'am by White Whale
vs.
8. Ultraviolence by New Order
Difficulty: **
Winner: The Whale
Comments: "Ultraviolence" advanced as far as it was likely to, given my general apathy for New Order album tracks. Not to belittle the White Whale song, which still shows no signs of slowing down (but we'll see how it does in the next round...)

9. My Hippy Angel by Bob Geldof
vs.
10. Take Me Away by Fefe Dobson
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Fefe
Comments: Teenage angst with some hard rock guitar beats a gentler hippy angel in my books, apparently.

11. Streets of Banaras by Ann Mortifee
vs.
12. The Last Word by Mary Chapin Carpenter
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Ann
Comments: Once again Ann Mortifee's powerful vocals bring her victory over a lower-key performance.

13. As Good as New by ABBA
vs.
14. The Rhythm of the Heat by Peter Gabriel
Difficulty: *****
Winner: BABA
Comments: Very close, and perhaps if the Gabriel song weren't the "Plays Live" version, it might have won out, but "As Good As New" is making its way into my favourite tracks here...

15. Tomber by Laurence Jalbert
vs.
16. Junior by John Mellencamp
Difficulty: *****
Winner: Laurence
Comments: Another hard call, and perhaps Jalbert's more emotional voice overcame Mellencamp's compelling, but musically low-key, street-person story.

17. Chance (single version) by Big Country
vs.
18. Foxglove by Bruce Cockburn
Difficulty: ***
Winner: The Country
Comments: This is still not my favourite Big Country song, but Bruce Cockburn's tiny instrumental was still unable to compete.

19. What If We Don't Get What We Want? by 13 Engines
vs.
20. Mermaid Smiled by XTC
Difficulty: ***
Winner: The Engines
Comments: The sole XTC track in the tourney loses to the more interesting 13 Engines song.

21. Eric's Theme by Vangelis
vs.
22. Kissing Gate by Sam Brown
Difficulty: **
Winner: Ms. Brown
Comments: Still a pretty weak song, but vocals beats instrumental 95% of the time. (ISTR there was something in the "Stop Making Sense" liner notes to the effect of "Lyrics were invented to keep people listening to music longer than they normally would. I also claim that music makes me more willing to listen to poetry than I normally would, too.)

23. There Won't Be Trumpets by Stephen Sondheim
vs.
24. The Killing Moon by Echo & the Bunnymen
Difficulty: ***
Winner: Echo
Comments: A stronger Sondheim song might have won, but this may be E&TB's best song, so it triumphs again.

25. Bus Stop by The Hollies
vs.
26. Double Take by Blondie
Difficulty: **
Winner: The Hollies
Comments: "Bus Stop" unsurprisingly wins its second round, but it has yet to face much real opposition.

27. Nightswimming by R.E.M.
vs.
28. Careful With That Axe, Eugene by Pink Floyd
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Floyd
Comments: This time around I seemed to be noticing more of the awkwardnesses of Stipe's lyrics, which gave Eugene the edge he needed.

29. Look Down by Claude-Michel Sch&omul;nberg
vs.
30. The Story of One Chord by Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Marius & Co.
Comments: The drama of Les Misérables trounces the silliness of Mojo. Apparently I was not in a very jokey mood this round...

31. Love Don't Need No Tyranny by Tanita Tikaram
vs.
32. Future Call by Jill Cunniff
Difficulty: ****
Winner: Jill
Comments: These songs are really very similar, upbeat songs from female vocalists with a strong musical backing, but Jill wins by a nose for being a little catchier.

Next week, or so, Round Three, where the 16 winners in this round duke it out with each other...

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