BSBB Round 3: Aloe Blacc, "The Man" vs. Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, "Dark Horse"
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Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules

The Man

Aloe Blacc

Dark Horse

Katy Perry feat. Juicy J



DENISE WARNER: Aloe Blacc may be “The Man,” but is he able to get a baby to stop crying with just the first notes of his song? If Perry can inspire this kind of unadulterated joy, who are we to pick otherwise?
My Vote: “Dark Horse”

MAURA JOHNSTON: Katy Perry's exploration of trap beats made for one of 2014's more singular radio moments (even on those adult-contemporary stations that omitted Juicy J’s contribution entirely). Like "E.T.," the Kanye West-assisted track that sort of set the template for this The Craft-inspired effort, "Dark Horse" exiles Perry from her candy-colored matriarchy and drops her into an icy minor-key world, where she triumphs on the strength of questionable metaphors and an arrestingly spare backing track. Aloe Blacc's attempt to make a name for himself following the runaway success of his guest spot on Avicii's "Wake Me Up" is admirable enough, but it's no match for Perry's gumption-powered Zamboni.
My Vote: “Dark Horse”

JOE LYNCH: Aloe Blacc's "The Man" is a fine song, but Katy Perry's Juicy J collabo "Dark Horse" was a beguiling, impossible-to-ignore monster. Once it works it's way into your head, there's no going back.
My Vote: "Dark Horse"

MYLES TANZER: A lot can be said about the failure of Prism, but "Dark Horse" just works. The song doesn't have a proper chorus but still manages to have a million hooks. When Katy Perry asks "so you wanna play with magic?," I actually believe that she's a witch. She sells the hell out of this dumb song in a way that no one else could.
My Vote: “Dark Horse”

ERIN STRECKER: “Dark Horse” was one of the big surprises of the year. I have to stick with Katy.
My Vote: “Dark Horse”

CHRIS PAYNE: After hearing his uncredited vocals on Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” all over the place, Aloe Blacc deservedly got plenty of airtime from his breakout hit. Its old-school soul and gospel flourishes were a welcome addition on pop radio this year, as was this remarkably un-basic Katy Perry single. “Dark Horse” was a nice dive into hip-hop for Katy, but who would have thought her verses would have better lyrics than Juicy J’s?
My Vote: “The Man”

ALEX GALE: “Dark Horse” is The Song That Killed Trap, but it’s a worthy, enjoyable death, a crazy mishmash of disparate elements that shouldn’t work but do. It’s going to be one of those songs that seems ridiculous looking back but sums up 2014 pretty damn well. Plus, it gave Juicy J — who it pleases to me to say is one of the most accomplished rappers of all time — a No. 1 to put next to his Oscar. It’s ridiculous fun that makes “The Man’s” after-school lyrical platitudes and retro soul look stodgy and cloying.
My Vote: “Dark Horse”


OVERALL WINNER: “Dark Horse”

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