1. BSBB Round 2: Sam Smith, "Stay With Me" vs. Maroon 5, "Maps"

    December 15, 2014 10:01 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Stay With Me Sam Smith Maps Maroon 5 DENISE WARNER: This isn’t even close. Years from now, Smith’s “Stay With Me” will be remembered as a career-making turn  — and “Maps” will be just another cookie-cutter Maroon 5 hit. My Vote…

  2. BSBB Round 1: Chris Brown, "Loyal" vs. Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea, "Problem"

    December 14, 2014 12:00 PM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Loyal Chris Brown Problem Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea MAURA JOHNSTON: One of my least favorite trends of 2014 was the increasingly rancorous nature of the seemingly never-ending battle between men and women, and "Loyal…

  3. BSBB Finals: Beyonce feat. Jay Z, 'Drunk In Love' vs. Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, 'Latch'

    December 14, 2014 11:00 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Drunk In Love Beyonce feat. Jay Z Latch Disclosure feat. Sam Smith ERNEST BAKER: “Latch" is a hot song. "Drunk In Love" is a definitive moment in pop culture history. It's the most honest, personal look at…

  4. Best Song Bracket Battle 2014 - Rules & Writers

    December 14, 2014 10:15 AM EST How does this year-end bracket work, and who wrote for it? Explore below. Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules   How It Works Best Song Bracket Battle is a bracket-style tournament in which the year's biggest songs are placed against each other in head-to…

  5. BSBB Round 5: Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, 'Latch' vs. Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne, 'Rather Be'

    December 14, 2014 10:05 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Latch Disclosure feat. Sam Smith Rather Be Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne JEM ASWAD: This is a very tough matchup. In terms of innovation and vocal performance, I've got to give it to DiSmithsure for their artful treatment…

  6. BSBB Round 4: DJ Snake & Lil Jon, "Turn Down for What" vs. Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, "Fancy"

    December 14, 2014 10:03 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Turn Down For What DJ Snake & Lil Jon Fancy Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX JAMIESON COX: I think both of these songs captured 2014 in a way few of the other entries did. “Fancy” managed it through sheer commercial potency,…

  7. BSBB Round 4: Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, "Dark Horse" vs. Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, "Drunk in Love"

    December 14, 2014 10:03 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Dark Horse Katy Perry feat. Juicy J Drunk In Love Beyonce feat. Jay Z JAMIESON COX: At this stage in the competition, it’s harder and harder for me to point to musical qualities when making decisions. I like all of these songs,…

  8. BSBB Round 3: Nicki Minaj, "Anaconda" vs. Charli XCX, "Boom Clap"

    December 14, 2014 10:02 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Anaconda Nicki Minaj Boom Clap Charli XCX DENISE WARNER: “Anaconda” waxes poetic about big butts. “Boom Clap” is a somewhat more sentimental take on falling in love. I’m going with sentiment on this one. My Vote: “Boom Clap”…

  9. BSBB Round 3: Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne, "Rather Be" vs. Jeremih feat. YG, "Don't Tell 'Em"

    December 14, 2014 10:02 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Rather Be Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne Don't Tell 'Em Jeremih feat. YG DENISE WARNER: It’s almost a toss-up between “Rather Be” and “Don’t Tell ‘Em”: both are vibrant, engaging and memorable. But what it really…

  10. BSBB Round 3: Aloe Blacc, "The Man" vs. Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, "Dark Horse"

    December 14, 2014 10:02 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules The Man Aloe Blacc Dark Horse Katy Perry feat. Juicy J DENISE WARNER: Aloe Blacc may be “The Man,” but is he able to get a baby to stop crying with just the first notes of his song? If Perry can inspire this kind of…

  11. BSBB Round 3: Beyonce feat. Jay Z, "Drunk In Love" vs. Pharrell Williams, "Happy"

    December 14, 2014 10:02 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Drunk In Love Beyonce feat. Jay Z Happy Pharrell Williams DENISE WARNER: Yes, Pharrell’s “Happy” got Meryl Streep up out of her seat at the Oscars. But had Beyonce’s oh-so-dirty duet with her husband been eligible for an…

  12. BSBB Round 2: MKTO, "Classic" vs. Sia, "Chandelier"

    December 14, 2014 10:01 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Classic MKTO Chandelier Sia DENISE WARNER: It’s a tough call. Sia’s video for “Chandelier” has a ‘Dance Moms’ kid as the star. But Walt from “Lost” makes up half of MKTO. Still, as catchy as “Classic” is, the trite lyrics keep…

  13. BSBB Round 2: Taylor Swift, "Shake It Off" vs. Ariana Grande feat. Zedd, "Break Free"

    December 14, 2014 10:01 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Shake It Off Taylor Swift Break Free Ariana Grande feat. Zedd DENISE WARNER: Let’s make this a grammar competition. Sure, Taylor is a bit repetitive, but Ariana actually sings the words “Now that I’ve become who I really are.…

  14. BSBB Round 2: Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, "Latch" vs. Becky G, "Shower"

    December 14, 2014 10:01 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Latch Disclosure feat. Sam Smith Shower Becky G DENISE WARNER: Becky G’s “Shower” is cute, but “Latch” launched both Disclosure and Sam Smith into prominence. We have to give the advantage to the dance track over the pop…

  15. BSBB Round 1: Rixton, "Me and My Broken Heart" vs. Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, "Fancy"

    December 14, 2014 10:00 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Me and My Broken Heart Rixton Fancy Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX MAURA JOHNSTON: Maroon 5 abandoning their "slight update of Hall & Oates" post resulted in quite a bit of jostling for the position; Rixton, a…

  16. BSBB Round 1: John Legend, "All Of Me" vs. Ed Sheeran, "Sing"

    December 14, 2014 10:00 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules All Of Me John Legend Sing Ed Sheeran MAURA JOHNSTON: The battle of the stridently solo balladeers comes down to one simple criterion: Which one will last as a first dance song for weddings immemorial? My Vote: "All Of Me…

  17. BSBB Round 1: American Authors, "Best Day of My Life" vs. Jason Derulo feat. Snoop Dogg, "Wiggle"

    December 14, 2014 10:00 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Best Day of My Life American Authors Wiggle Jason Derulo feat. Snoop Dogg MAURA JOHNSTON: “Wiggle" wasn't even the best Derulo offering of 2014, but it wins by default here, as the brand of sync-ready jangle that…

  18. BSBB Round 1: Justin Timberlake, "Not a Bad Thing" vs. Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan, "This Is How We Roll"

    December 14, 2014 10:00 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Not a Bad Thing Justin Timberlake This Is How We Roll Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan MAURA JOHNSTON: If the whole of Timberlake's soupy ballad operated in the gauzy mode of its first 17 seconds, it would win this…

  19. BSBB Round 1: Coldplay, "A Sky Full of Stars" vs. Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake, "Love Never Felt So Good"

    December 14, 2014 10:00 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules A Sky Full of Stars Coldplay Love Never Felt So Good Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake MAURA JOHNSTON: It's not quite "Rock With You," and the addition of Timberlake feels like a superfluous attempt to be…

  20. BSBB Round 1: Luke Bryan, "Play It Again" vs. DJ Snake & Lil Jon, "Turn Down For What"

    December 14, 2014 10:00 AM EST Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules Play It Again Luke Bryan Turn Down For What DJ Snake & Lil Jon MAURA JOHNSTON: Luke Bryan used the jittery, endlessly building "Turn Down For What” to psych up the crowd right before he appeared onstage to dole out…

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