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KRISTEN YOONSOO KIM: Both of these songs are pretty terrible, but if pressed for answer, I guess I’ll have to go with… OneRepublic. This Avicii track confuses me to no end — the weird EDM/country crossover is aggressively harshing my vibes. OneRepublic, on the other hand, has somewhat of a hook going on here, so I’ll at least give them that. My Vote: “Counting Stars”
ERIKA RAMIREZ: You can’t go wrong with songwriting courtesy of Ryan Tedder: the OneRepublic frontman has been behind countless addictive hits for his band and for others. “Counting Stars” is repeat-worthy (but really, the reason I’m choosing “Counting Stars” is because Tedder also wrote my 2014 guilty pleasure: Ella Henderson’s “Ghost.”) My Vote: “Counting Stars”
JAMIESON COX: I'm not a huge fan of either of these songs, but "Counting Stars" is trying so hard that it becomes a little bit endearing (I don't mind the soulful choral breakdown either, probably because it takes the focus off of Ryan Tedder). The only way you're getting me to enjoy "Hey Brother" is by having it soundtrack a Buster Bluth supercut. My Vote: "Counting Stars"
NICK WILLIAMS: “Counting Stars” has literally been ubiquitous since its debut -- it’s a feel-good anthem that packs a monster hook, and also has a really universal message. The gospel-like melodies paired with the loose acoustic guitar gives it a very special palette, and that bridge of “Take that money, watch it burn,” just completely slays. My Vote: “Counting Stars”
JEM ASWAD: Can’t front: Ryan Tedder’s one of the rare pop-ticians whose melodies are insidiously catchy without (usually) insulting your intelligence. Extra points for including an alligator in the song’s video, just because. The same can’t really be said for Avicii and this song’s blaring synthetic-horn hook, although the twangy vocal does supply an unexpected twist. My Vote: “Counting Stars”OVERALL WINNER: “Counting Stars”