BSBB Round 1: 5 Seconds of Summer, "Amnesia" vs. Ariana Grande feat. Zedd, "Break Free"
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Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules


5 Seconds of Summer

Break Free

Ariana Grande feat. Zedd

CHRIS PAYNE: “This is the part when…” I try to figure out what the hell Ariana Grande is singing, knowing my effort will be ultimately futile. This song still fills my subconscious whenever I look at Ariana, so Zedd and company, mission accomplished. I love me some 5SOS but this is too mopey to be the song they’re known by. Give me the bangers!
My Vote: “Break Free”

MEAGHAN GARVEY: So maybe the lyrics read like an extended stream of captchas, garbled hysterically over a Zedd beat. Who cares! This is the “Stronger” that the millenial generation deserves (and that’s being generous). “Break Free” provided the soundtrack to every one of my tipsy Naomi-Campbell-stomp-walks home from the bar this summer, and frankly, I would prefer to die alive too, if at all possible.
My Vote: “Break Free”

MYLES TANZER: 5 Seconds of Summer finds its greatest strength in simple teen storytelling. A line like “The pictures you sent me are still living in my phone" is perfect. When I first heard it, I knew it was written by the Madden brothers, and “Amnesia” the best Good Charlotte song ever written. On the complete other end of the pop spectrum is "Break Free." The lyrics are nonsensical ("I only want to die alive") and Grande’s delivery is gargled at best. It's still a huge jam, though, thanks to Zedd. This matchup is a question of aesthetics — do you prefer the adolescent grit of 5SOS or the space-age perfection that Ariana has to offer? Maybe it's because I was an emo teen, but "Amnesia" does it for me in ways that "Break Free" never could.

ERIN STRECKER: “Amnesia” is catchy, sure, but in terms of summer earworm, you can’t beat Grande’s intergalactic dance party featuring the very of-the-moment Zedd. The song isn’t the most complex, but dang if it isn’t fun to dance to.
My Vote: “Break Free”

STEVEN J. HOROWITZ: I hadn’t heard “Amnesia” until now, probably because I’m over the age of 15, and for a simplistic pop ballad, it’s sufficient but doesn’t break the mold. “Break Free,” in fact, breaks (yes, going there) the boundary between pop and EDM to make for one of the year’s most gargantuan anthems. Garganthems? Pun game proper.
My Vote: “Break Free”

“Break Free”

Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules