BSBB Round 2: Paramore, "Ain't It Fun" vs. Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake, "Love Never Felt So Good"
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Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules

Ain't It Fun

Paramore

Love Never Felt So Good

Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake



JAMIESON COX: Argh, this is a tough one. “Ain’t It Fun” is exactly that, fun — so vital, sung to within an inch of its life by the indomitable Hayley Williams, and surprising even months after its release. It’s songs like this that make Paramore perhaps the most exciting rock band working today. But “Love Never Felt So Good” is vintage Michael, airy and frothy and gliding onto disco heaven, and JT comes at the song with a reverence and genuine appreciation that keeps a dish three decades old from being spoiled. I hear this song and it takes me back to a summer spent throwing discs in the park and sitting out on patios with cold beer in hand, basking in the dying light, and it’s really hard to deny that comfort and warmth.
My Vote: “Love Never Felt So Good”

ERIKA RAMIREZ: Michael Jackson’s collaboration with Justin Timberlake was the highlight of his recent posthumous album, “Xscape.” Since it’s hard for me to love the entire effort, I’ll support “Love Never Felt So Good” for as long as I can.
My Vote: “Love Never Felt So Good”

NICK WILLIAMS: I gotta go with “Ain’t It Fun” because, despite the loss of two members, they earned their biggest hit to date, which is an impressive feat given their longevity and current radio trends. Slow and steady wins the race!
My Vote: "Ain’t It Fun"

JEM ASWAD: The Paramore song is affable but honestly forgettable, almost John Legend-like in that I just listened to the entire song twice and can’t remember anything about it except the xylophone hook. Thus, it’s an unfair matchup against the best song Michael Jackson released since well before his untimely death, a “Rock With You” redux with a too-perfect foil and his most obvious successor, JT, putting in an arguably too-reverent performance. Still, unlike many posthumous performances, they got this one right.
My Vote: “Love Never Felt So Good”

ERNEST BAKER: "Love Never Felt So Good" was a capitalist ploy to cash in on Michael Jackson's legacy, but given that it was recorded in 1983, when MJ was God, the song has its merits. However, it was never released for a reason. "Ain't It Fun" is a far superior-sounding record, and I never envisioned myself saying Paramore did anything better than Michael Jackson, but here we are.
My Vote: “Ain't It Fun”

KRISTEN YOONSOO KIM: This one was hard, because both of these tracks are some of the best feel-good songs of the year. But I can’t deny the feeling of getting hit over the head with sheer bliss whenever I listen to this posthumous MJ track (it might just be my most-listened to track of the year, in fact). To be honest, I prefer the version without JT doing the sexy breathing on it, but nothing can bring down “Love Never Felt So Good.”
My Vote: “Love Never Felt So Good”

JASON LIPSHUTZ: Paramore had no business staying relevant in the 2010’s, but their 2013 self-titled album was an absolute triumph commercially and creatively, and its xylophone-inflected, gospel-choir-sporting third single “Ain’t It Fun” somehow became the band’s highest-charting hit on the Hot 100 chart. Whereas the latest Michael Jackson posthumous release felt icky from the get-go, Paramore’s story was totally feel-good, and has established the band as an inventive rock act with whom one can picture growing old.
My Vote: “Ain't It Fun”


OVERALL WINNER: “Love Never Felt So Good”

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