BSBB Round 4: Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, "Dark Horse" vs. Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, "Drunk in Love"

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





JAMIESON COX: At this stage in the competition, it’s harder and harder for me to point to musical qualities when making decisions. I like all of these songs, and can’t just dismiss them because of bad production or a hack melody, so I find myself relying more on feel: what does this make me want to do? Who do I morph into over the course of its runtime? “Dark Horse” is great, but I can’t say it makes me want to do much other than attend a reasonably priced spin class in a man bun. And then there’s “Drunk in Love,” inspiring me to drink two glasses of cheap red wine and watch How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days on Netflix before getting jazzy on my man. I haven’t said no to that yet, and I’m not about to start.


My Vote: “Drunk In Love”
ERIKA RAMIREZ: Music’s power couple held down the club with “Drunk In Love,” and had single people singing as if they weren’t. (Trust me, that’s hard to do.)

My Vote: “Drunk In Love”
NICK WILLIAMS: Both songs had huge 2014s, and I still appreciate both for what they offered sonically to pop music. But what Beyonce did with “Drunk In Love” by way of hooks — not just with its incredibly strong melody and soaring chorus, but with the #surfboardt meme and phenomenon (and subsequent Beyonce merch that came it) — is insanely brilliant. I’m also a huge fan of the song’s visual, the black and white, simplistic beachside chip, versus Perry’s bizarre Egyptian-themed rendering. Bey has got years on Perry and I think it showed this year.

My Vote: "Drunk In Love"
DENISE WARNER: Now things get really tough. "Dark Horse" is great. But “Drunk in Love” is epic.

My Vote: “Drunk In Love”
JOE LYNCH: Tough choice. Other than Jay's icky/unfunny shout-out to a cognac he's invested in, "Drunk in Love" is a classic. But I'm going with "Dark Horse," Perry's menacing trap-meets-techno track featuring one of her most beguiling vocals. After repeated listens to both, I return to "Dark Horse" more often.

My Vote: “Dark Horse”
KRISTEN YOONSOO KIM: This is a case of “What you’ll read next may surprise you,” because if you know me, then you know that I own every single Katy Perry record on vinyl, including some bonus picture discs and random remix CDs that could only be found in the possession of a true KatyCat. What’s even more shocking, perhaps, is that I’m not… really… a… Beyoncé fan (*logs off before the Beygency gets to me*). But maybe my tastes they are a-changin’, or I’m growing up, because Beyoncé sounds hella pro next to Katy’s “Dark Horse.” Katy, you cute, boo, but let Bey show you how it’s really done.

My Vote: “Drunk In Love”
JASON LIPSHUTZ: “Dark Horse” has always been my favorite song from Katy Perry’s “PRISM,” the token “goofy single” (following “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” from her previous album) that featured Juicy J rhyming about Jeffrey Dahmer, a wacky Egyptian video that was undeniably entertaining, and faux-trap production from Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Cirkut. The thing is, that faux-trap production is sort of fantastic! Every time the beat drops out at the end of the first chorus and rolls back before the second verse, I move my elbows in a way unbefitting of a grown man. “Drunk In Love” oddly underwhelms me in the same way that Beyonce’s fifth album has oddly underwhelmed me (cue Future’s “Honest,” I guess), so my vote goes to a perfect storm.

My Vote: “Dark Horse”
WILLIAM GRUGER: Who thought that Juicy J would get such a big look in 2014? “Dark Horse” is the most-watched music video of 2014 (with 709 million global views on VEVO to date) whose unmistakable drop was the inspiration for countless creative user-generated videos uploaded to YouTube and Vine. The only thing “Drunk In Love” was the inspiration for was healthy marital sex and an awful Cody Simpson song.

My Vote: “Dark Horse”
ERNEST BAKER: “This Is How We Do" was the best single from PRISM; it's a shame that didn't chart higher. "Dark Horse" is catchy enough, but not particularly moving. Meanwhile, "Drunk In Love" signaled the sexual awakening of Beyonce. That record is a landmark moment in the cultural perception of one of this era's greatest stars. That holds more weight than a by-the-numbers pop hit.

My Vote: “Drunk In Love”





OVERALL WINNER: “Drunk In Love”



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