BSBB Round 3: Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne, "Rather Be" vs. Jeremih feat. YG, "Don't Tell 'Em"
Courtesy Photo (2)
Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules

Rather Be

Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne

Don't Tell 'Em

Jeremih feat. YG



DENISE WARNER: It’s almost a toss-up between “Rather Be” and “Don’t Tell ‘Em”: both are vibrant, engaging and memorable. But what it really comes down to is the use of the violin. The world always needs more violin.
My Vote: “Rather Be”

MAURA JOHNSTON: Jess Glynne's caught-in-the-throat vocal delivery and the jubilant string sample on "Rather Be" helped make it one of pop radio's brightest spots in 2014, and this doesn't even count the hearts-for-eyes emoji that explodes on its triumphant chorus. DJ Mustard gets points for bringing Snap! back on Jeremih's lusty club banger, but putting it next to the delicate, gorgeous "Rather Be" makes it seem like an under-the-bed reminder of an unsatisfying summer hookup.
My Vote: “Rather Be”

ERIKA RAMIREZ: Before we realized DJ Mustard’s beats pretty much all sound the same, he helped Jeremih revitalize his career. This song induces wiggling seconds in. And I haven’t had as much fun screaming out “bitch” since “Blow the Whistle."
My Vote: "Don’t Tell ‘Em"

NICK WILLIAMS: I rarely use Shazam but I remember disctinctly the moment I Shazamed “Don’t Tell ‘Em.” I remember just being blown away by the vocal jumps Jeremih makes over the same slinky, repetitive synth part. The melody is instinctual, and YG’s verse perfectly adapts to it.
My Vote: “Don’t Tell ‘Em”

JOE LYNCH: Jeremih had a great year thanks to "Don't Tell 'Em,” but the insistent melodicism of the strings, Jess Glynne's impassioned vocals and Clean Bandit's crystal-clear production made "Rather Be" the year's best dance song.
My Vote: “Rather Be”

KRISTEN YOONSOO KIM: There’s something so middle school throwback vibes about “Don’t Tell ‘Em” -— it sounds like something they would have played at my 8th grade dance party (which, by the way, took place in our stinky basement cafeteria) between Usher’s “Yeah” and B2K’s “Bump Bump Bump.” Nostalgia is flooding into my head with images of awkward 13-year-olds grinding up on each other, and if that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.
My Vote: “Don’t Tell ‘Em”

JEM ASWAD: Tough one — these are both great songs in drastically different styles, with hooks that are insistent without being annoying. But “Rather Be” is one of the most immediate and unforgettable pop songs of the year, with an indelible keyboard hook and vocal melody. And the fact that it fits in so perfectly alongside the Disclosures and Rudimentals doesn’t hurt.
My Vote: “Rather Be”

JAMIESON COX: I called Disclosure’s “Latch” influential in a different blurb, and the presence of “Rather Be” in this competition is exactly what I mean: it’s hard to imagine this song existing, let alone making a major impact on American charts, without “Latch” blazing a trail first. But I’m glad it made it over, because it’s really nice: stately and fussy in a way that screams, “I’m British! Hehe!,” but also genuinely sweet and percolating and bright. “Don’t Tell ‘Em” is fine, I suppose, but this competition has seen several superior examples of Mustardwave in previous rounds. It’s not a standout for me.
My Vote: “Rather Be”

ALEX GALE: A bright-eyed ’90s-dance-pop love song versus a nocturnal ratchet-n-B creep anthem? Choosing between these two dissimilar bangers is like a flipping a coin — I’d probably choose a different one each time, depending on the time of day. Right now, “Rather Be” stands out, partly because it’s exhibit A of the unexpected vintage house revival, one of my favorite trends of the year, and partly because Jess Glynne is going to be a huge star one day.
My Vote: “Rather Be”

ERNEST BAKER: There's no question that “Rather Be” is the sleeper hit of the year. It's the type of song that you hear in grocery stores and diners and don't know who it's by until you realize it's perpetually stuck in your head after and fire up Shazam. Jeremih still takes the edge here because there's nothing "sleeper" about "Don't Tell 'Em." I've seen that record destroy nightclubs overseas in ways that "Clean Bandit" never will.
My Vote: “Don’t Tell ‘Em”

JASON LIPSHUTZ: I like Jeremih, I like YG, I like “Rhythm Is A Dancer,” and yet I’ve always found “Don’t Tell ‘Em” to be unlikable, a prolonged sneer that gets in the way of my dance euphoria. On the other hand, “Rather Be” is all joy — the joy of being in a completely unfamiliar setting and not caring about the uncertain surrounds because your favorite person in the world is there next to you. “Rather Be” is a song that deserves to be on a 2010s Throwback Jams playlist in 20 years.
My Vote: “Rather Be”


OVERALL WINNER: “Rather Be”

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