Courtesy Photo (2)
Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
MEAGHAN GARVEY: If Ariana Grande’s “Break Free” is the “Stronger” 2014 desperately needed, “Bang Bang” is the “Lady Marmalade” nobody wanted. I’m all for celebrating girl power whenever possible, but this trainwreck was made for soundtracking Famous Footwear BOGO ads, not Prosecco-popping nights out with your girls (and I’m still not quite sure who Jessie J is, other than the embodiment of “doing the most”). Charli XCX is the perfect foil to Jessie’s everything-at-once warbling: cool, coy, and controlled, with an unteachable gift for melody. Plus, she’s known just as much for her songwriting (for Iggy Azalea, Ryn Weaver, and allegedly, Rihanna and Gwen Stefani up next) as her solo work: that’s the kind of girl power I’m trying to see more of. My Vote: “Boom Clap”
CHRIS PAYNE: Are we still pretending we like “Bang Bang”? That song’s the hot mess at the party overreaching for attention, while “Boom Clap” is a stylish, charismatic pop song you’d absolutely like to chat up. My Vote: “Boom Clap”
ERIN STRECKER: This is a particularly difficult choice, because both of these songs would make my personal most-played playlist, but I’ve got to give the edge to “Bang Bang.” Sure, we’re maybe a bit sick of it now (how many awards show performances does this dance anthem need?), but when it first dropped over the summer, it was a high point for all three of the artists. “Boom Clap” may have ruled The Fault in Our Stars promotion, but “Bang Bang” ruled everything else. My Vote: "Bang Bang"
STEVEN J. HOROWITZ: This is like asking me choose which parent is my favorite. “Bang Bang” is a titanic beast of a pop record where three outstanding women match each other’s bravado. But sometimes, less is more. “Boom Clap” is a testament to Charli XCX’s pop power as a solo star. It’s hard to tell if the competing trio could pull off a song like this on its own. My Vote: “Boom Clap”
MYLES TANZER: "Bang Bang" is just too much and never enough. The horns are the worst, Nicki's verse isn't great, and Jessie J is Jessie J. "Boom Clap" delivers 100% from the first listen and only gets better. My Vote: “Boom Clap”OVERALL WINNER: “Boom Clap”