BSBB Round 2: Taylor Swift, "Shake It Off" vs. Ariana Grande feat. Zedd, "Break Free"
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Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules

Shake It Off

Taylor Swift

Break Free

Ariana Grande feat. Zedd



DENISE WARNER: Let’s make this a grammar competition. Sure, Taylor is a bit repetitive, but Ariana actually sings the words “Now that I’ve become who I really are.” Sure, the haters gonna hate, but we’re just gonna “Shake."
My Vote: “Shake It Off”

JOE LYNCH: Taylor Swift might have ruled 2014 with her fourth quarter pop juggernaut 1989, but "Shake It Off" is one of the album's most basic songs. Its generic positive platitudes are nothing in comparison to Ariana Grande's grammar-bashing banger with Zedd.
My Vote: “Break Free”

MAURA JOHNSTON: In any other case, the copious use of “haters” by the lead single off Taylor Swift’s 1989 would result in its being automatically disqualified. But “Shake” triumphed again and again in late 2014, becoming the viral-video successor to “Happy” thanks to its instructional chorus and wearing down even the most stick-in-the-mud Swift agnostics through the power of its tinny horns and “this—sick—BEAT.” Grande’s collaboration with Zedd would have probably zapped any other offering from this year thanks to its Space Invaders moxie, but against Swift? Game over.
My Vote: "Shake It Off"

WILLIAM GRUGER: I’m sort of holding a grudge against Taylor Swift for all the mayhem and controversy she’s stirred up around Spotify. “Shake It Off,” in her case, is really just an excuse for her to behave like a selfish plutocrat, but I won’t go into details on that here. “Break Free” is so much more catchy, and Ariana Grande is a much better singer.
My Vote: “Break Free”

ALEX GALE: These two songs are topically similar — shaking off, or breaking free, of the negative. But Grande’s inspirational message feels uncomfortably similar to the “tonight is the tonight” vibe of every other song EDM song, heavy-handed and trite. Taylor’s breakbeat vibe, on the other hand, is effortless fun. I’m an unabashed pop-timist, but I disliked Taylor’s past music, especially when she toed the mainstream line. That all changed when the pure pop joy of “Shake It Off” came along.
My Vote: “Shake It Off”


OVERALL WINNER: “Shake It Off”

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