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MEGAN BUERGER: Aside from the fact that "Happy" made the world dance like Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, its benchmark 24-hour music video brought the art form to a new level of innovation –– and, of course, made Pharrell cry on Oprah. My Vote: “Happy”
JEREMY D. LARSON: Taking everything into account, from an ontological synapse firing in the brain to a lone photon at the edge of the known universe, happiness is good. And songs about being happy, ultimately, are good. Like this one, "Happy," by Pharrell Williams. My Vote: “Happy”
JILLIAN MAPES: I feel like this match-up is a personality test in disguise. I like “Happy” and all, but it’s just a little too peppy and catchy for me, y’know? “Team” is more my ambient-leaning speed, as is Lorde’s muted-color goth thing. “I’m kinda older than I was when I rebelled without a care” – c’mon, that’s really the coolest line for a pop song. My Vote: "Team"
CAITLIN WHITE: Though Lorde's Love Club EP was phenomenal, her full-length album Pure Heroine felt rushed and a little underwhelming. One of the songs that illustrated that best was "Team," with the same suburban smugness that "Royals" was later eviscerated for sans the soaring, earworm chorus. So, even though "Happy" became one of those ubiquitous, impossible-to-get-away-from annoyances, there was a moment a few weeks ago when I was in the depths of despair, and this song surfaced. I wasn't expecting it to come on, and as a result, actually listened closely. Previously, I'd eschewed the track on account of its very ubiquity, but as it wore on, I felt a kind of childlike glee erupting in me, even in the midst of my own personal pathos. A song that can transform the listener in this way is the reason we even create music at all, right? My Vote: “Happy”
CRAIG JENKINS: Lorde’s smoky, languorous tone has a habit of complicating even her peppiest offerings; sprightly as Pure Heroine single “Team” may be, there’s a weight to it, a darkness around the edges. “Happy” has no such edges or complexities. It’s all sugary, caffeinated, carbonated joy. But unassailable ebullience is the magic of it. You can play "Happy" on an endless loop and just get lost. My Vote: “Happy”OVERALL WINNER: “Happy”