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Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne
Take Me To Church
CRAIG JENKINS: Darkness stalks the edges of both Irish singer-songwriter Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” and British group Clean Bandit’s Jess Glynne-assisted “Rather Be,” as Jess finds stasis in a lover during a daunting overseas move, and Hozier shouts down the ills of blind devotion. The latter’s content to lounge in its own pathos, but the poise and rejuvenating hope of the former edges it out of the mire. My Vote: “Rather Be”
CAITLIN WHITE: Amazingly, if you cue these songs up to start playing at the exact same moment, they form an even better orchestral mash-up full of Hozier's darkly ominous vocals and Jess Glynne's bright, buoyant voice. And though Hozier's fanatic bedroom worship subverts the notion of religion's strict sexual norms in an incredible way, it's the murky mix of traditional classic, orchestra and deep house beats that adds to the appeal of "Rather Be," and the song's shifting ambiguity trumps Hozier's romantic convictions. We don't know if "Rather Be" ends in a happy union or unrequited longing, and somehow the uncertainty feels nicer than being trapped in a relationship where you're required to be a constant worshiper. My Vote: “Rather Be”
JASON LIPSHUTZ: “Take Me To Church” is the chorus that Imagine Dragons should have made when they came back with their second album’s lead single, while “Rather Be” is the most joyous single song I’ve seen performed live all year. Seriously, if you have the chance to see the classical-plucking Clean Bandit troupe on tour, take it, if only to see the room completely explode at the sound of an introductory violin riff. My Vote: “Rather Be”
JILLIAN MAPES: Do not underestimate that chintzy-on-purpose, twinkling tropical beat at the start of “Rather Be.” It sets the tone that this is more than just a fun dance song featuring a skilled-albeit-unknown vocalist. Even the crushing, Black Keys-meets-Mumford chorus of “Take Me to Church” can’t compete with all the tricks “Rather Be” pulls out in pursuit of a dramatic Studio 54 crescendo. This is like if Disclosure and BenZel teamed up with post-“Believe” Cher. My Vote: “Rather Be”
JEREMY D. LARSON: There’s a better Euro-house renaissance than “Rather Be,” and it’s Kiesza’s “Hideway.” Nowhere else exist there a song that’s like “offer me your deathless death, good god, let me give you my life,” which is so classically Irish the song makes me want to go to a wake and bemoan the English just for fun. My Vote: "Take Me To Church"
HARLEY BROWN: "Take Me to Church," hands down. Jess Glynne is adorable and "Rather Be" is delightful with its whimsical violins and non-threatening UKG pulse, but "Take Me to Church" is powerful and smoldering, with an actual political message behind it -- several, in fact. Plus, Hozier's voice... damn." My Vote: "Take Me To Church"
OVERALL WINNER: “Rather Be"