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BSBB Round 4: Charli XCX, "Boom Clap" vs. Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne, "Rather Be"
Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne
CRAIG JENKINS: Semifinals are without fail a bloodbath, and this one isn't any different. Charli XCX's single was a ball of joy and a welcome bombshell stateside landing, and 2015 is all hers to plunder. But Clean Bandit hit like a freight train. "Rather Be’s” highs were higher, and its international impact unfaltering. Sorry, Charli! My Vote: “Rather Be”
JEREMY D. LARSON: In the first round I predicted "Boom Clap" would make it to the finals, and I put a lot of money on it — an irresponsible amount, I know realize. I'm very scared. My kids are confused. They wonder why I keep telling them that I love them. I need this. My Vote: “Boom Clap”
JILL MAPES: I think I called "Boom Clap" an unexplainable force or something like that in an earlier match-up, and I stand by that. The song functions in a way I don't totally understand because its execution is anything but formulaic, but I do understand why it's loved by many. What I hear in "Rather Be" is an unlikely hit, a song that finds room for classical music, disco, and tropical sounds on the Hot 100. It's hard not to root for something that, to paraphrase Charli, breaks the rules. My Vote: "Rather Be"
STEVEN HOROWITZ: “Rather Be” is a phenomenal song in that Disclosure-nostalgia kind of way, but let’s be real: “Boom Clap” is one of the best pop songs not just of this year, but of the past few years. Somehow, she manages to cut tender, evocative verses with an explosive chorus to boot. Charli XCX for president. My Vote: “Boom Clap”
HARLEY BROWN: Both of these pop songs are pretty formulaic IMO, but I wrote that before I re-watched the official video for "Rather Be," and I realized it's a pretty fucking great song. There's a little bit of the strut of "I'm Every Woman," made a little less sassy/more vulnerable with the strings, and with an understated beat. It just sounds, for lack of a better word, very clean, and fresh, and naïve but mature, thanks to Glynne's vocals. "Boom Clap" is a typically excellent piece of earworm-y Top 40 fodder from Charli XCX, and it gets stuck in your head, but it doesn't stick with you. My Vote: “Rather Be”
CHRIS PAYNE: This is an well-paired matchup, since it pits two very visible representations of “alternative pop” against each other; and I mean “alternative pop” that actually got played a lot on the radio. I love Charli’s persona and the authentic youthful spunk she brings to pop, but when I hear “Rather Be” I just sink my teeth into it so much more. Save for maybe “Latch,” I don’t think there was a more tightly-produced pop hit this year. My Vote: “Rather Be”
MYLES TANZER: "Boom Clap" is fine! That chorus is Charli XCX at her most viral abilities. It's a good song. But "Rather Be" is really great. Jess Glynne's vocal makes me wants to be a better person. That little popping synth line is a perfect thing. It's the dance record of 2014 that could work in any space and should be loved by everyone. My Vote: “Rather Be”
ERIN STRECKER: My totally superficial reasoning: “Boom Clap” was featured in a very moving trailer for The Fault in Our Stars, and once you hear it, you’re emotionally bonded to it for life. Sorry, Jess. My Vote: “Boom Clap”
CAITLIN WHITE: Full disclosure: I had never even heard Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne's glorious collaboration on "Rather Be" until this bracket started, but it's the song that I've listened to the most since. I've consistently been a sucker for orchestral/electropop mash-ups and this song hits that sweet spot, and even goes one step further with Glynne's glassy, joyful vocals. "Boom Clap" is a song that I've really ridden for this year, but the it lingers a little too long in languid, down-tempo mooning to surpass the exuberance of "Rather Be." Can I get a Jess Glynne solo album in 2015, please? My Vote: “Rather Be”OVERALL WINNER: “Rather Be”