BSBB Finals: Beyonce feat. Jay Z, 'Drunk In Love' vs. Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, 'Latch'

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

Drunk In Love

Beyonce feat. Jay Z

Latch

Disclosure feat. Sam Smith



ERNEST BAKER: “Latch" is a hot song. "Drunk In Love" is a definitive moment in pop culture history. It's the most honest, personal look at the marriage of two titans. Disclosure can't compete with that.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

MEAGHAN GARVEY: 2014 was my first year of marriage (to the date: my husband and I went to Chicago's vaguely creepy basement courthouse on December 31, having met less than three months earlier). Everyone knows getting accustomed to marriage can be difficult, but that concept of "difficult" is vague; I figured it meant you bicker about which kind of mustard to get at the grocery store. It's harder than that. Stuff was thrown, things were said that can't be retracted. Sometimes I wondered if I was just too fucked up for this kind of agreement to work.

It's also been the most rewarding year of my life, and though we've had our fair share of shit-storms, being married to my husband has been the purest joy I've known in my 27 years on this objectively garbage earth. I laugh more easily; I trust more completely; I've become my best self. And at the risk of irredeemable corniness, all the elevator moments make the mornings of waking up in the kitchen wondering "How the hell did this shit happen?" even more poignant. I know Beyonce knows. My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

WILLIAM GRUGER: Oh great, two songs I voted against in the initial rounds. It’s hard to argue against “Drunk In Love” having the biggest cultural impact of the two songs, but I’m going to say “Latch” had a much bigger personal impact for me. It was definitely in rotation for about the same amount of time as “Drunk In Love,” and I got to experience the song live in person with Guy and Howard several times throughout its soaring popularity in 2014. Queen B was just too hard to get to these days, so I never got to have that moment. Plus “Latch” is WAY more catchy, and Sam Smith’s vocals soar over the track even more than Beyonce’s “we be all night” does on “Drunk In Love.”
My Vote: "Latch"

JEM ASWAD: Make no mistake, "Latch" is a remarkable song, all the more so because it was primarily created by people who were 20 years old or younger at the time of its release. It's an unusual and angular pop song, with some indelible hooks on the verses, an odd structure and a lot of offbeat elements zooming in and out of the song. But "Drunk in Love" is just undeniable: the deceptive simplicity of the melody and Beyonce's vocal, the ease with which it washes out of the speakers, Jay's stellar rap, the sheer romance of the song — to say nothing of the fact that, a year after its release, this incredible song by the two most over-exposed celebrities in the entire world is something I still want to hear.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

CHRIS PAYNE: When Disclosure hit the scene, I had some high hopes for them — actually more like fantasies. I envisioned them crashing the bro-tastic EDM party scene and becoming superstars, repping cool, forward-thinking British electronic music and converting a bunch of dudes in neon-colored Urban Outfitters tank tops to their cause. With the suuuuper slow-burning crossover success of “Latch,” I’m sitting here, in half disbelief, pondering how this actually happened. 

I have the utmost, bow-down respect for what Beyoncé did for the music industry with her self-titled album, which couldn’t have been the statement it was without a true pop hit like “Drunk In Love.” Remember, her previous album, "4," couldn’t bring a single into the Top 10 of the Hot 100, and “Drunk” went all the way to No. 2. Still though, in this final matchup, I realize I admire “Drunk In Love” more as a part of a whole, whereas “Latch,” man, that was a little revolution on its own creative wavelength. I don’t know if we’ll have a hit that sounds anything like it anytime soon, but here’s to hoping we do.
My Vote: “Latch”

JOE LYNCH: They're both such good songs that I couldn't care less which one wins, but I'm throwing my support behind Disclosure and Sam Smith's "Latch" because they're newcomers who are bringing a sound unlike anything else in the mainstream to radio. Beyonce is the definition of perfection, but I gotta support the risk-taking upstarts.
My Vote: “Latch”

JEREMY LARSON: The almost unfathomable gulf between "Got you shackled in my embrace/ I'm latching on to you" and "I'm singing into the mic to my boy's toys/ then I full the tub up half way then ride it with my surfboard" is filled with tense nights of going to bed angry, mundane decisions regarding cage-free or regular eggs, waking up to someone with nuclear-grade breath, tweezering clumps in the shower drain with your fingers, nursing them when they have food poisoning, trips to the Boston Store and small-talk about chevron curtains vs. French blinds, total trust and total hate. I remember back in middle school, my youth pastor was saying how amazing sex is when you're married — that when if you wait for that moment of holy matrimony, it transcends terrestrial sex and you and your partner consummate to make a union with God. Theistic threesomes notwithstanding, Jay and Bey are on that level. And it may not be the song that best captures the horrific disillusionment and anger I felt in 2014, but it does what every good pop song has done since antediluvian times which is remind us that love is all you need; that real love, that old love.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

ERIN STRECKER: As I’ve said before in this game, “Drunk In Love” is near-perfect. For my closing argument, I’ll put aside Beyonce’s vocals, Jay’s verse, and their insane video chemistry and leave you with one word: #Surfbort.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

MEGAN BUERGER: It’s difficult to overstate the impact of “Latch” on electronic music. As the first major release from Disclosure, the faces of dance music’s revival, it ushered in a new wave of producers and fans who were drawn to its blend of modern production with traditional instrumental (the song also launched Sam Smith’s industry-shaking career). So while "Drunk In Love” set the stage for one of the year's biggest tours, “Latch” was a vessel into new territory.
My Vote: “Latch”

JAMIESON COX: Looking at this final matchup, I feel really good about this year's BSBB — not that I ever doubted us! — because these songs belong in the final two. They're the year's best marriage of commercial success and impressive craft, songs that captured the public's ears and more critical listeners' hearts. And it's really hard for me to pick a favorite! I'm going with "Drunk in Love" because it feels wrong to recognize someone other than Beyoncé than having owned this year. "Latch" remains fantastic and contemporary even two years after its release, and Disclosure have an incredibly bright future ahead of them. But 2014 belongs to Bey.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

JILL MAPES: I love that something so forward-thinking and downright odd in its production can chart so highly, thanks in part to Sam Smith's traditionally strong pop vocals. "Latch" is a meet-cute for old and new, but "Drunk In Love" is a victory lap for music's prom king and queen. I never thought a Bey-Jay duet would live up to "Crazy In Love," and "Drunk In Love" doesn't — but it does reach "Upgrade U" or "'03 Bonnie and Clyde" heights.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

CRAIG JENKINS: "Latch" and "Drunk in Love" were both massively popular songs that were also well-deserving of their ubiquity, and they share a passion, both for singing and for the deep, hot longing each vocal portrays, that makes it difficult to call it in favor of either one with a clear conscience. So we're going to have to give this to the one that blew the most eardrums sky high this year. Sorry, Sam.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

KRISTEN YOONSOO KIM: Remember however many rounds ago when I said 2014 was the year of the surfbort? I was not kidding, guys. “Drunk In Love” for President.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

MYLES TANZER: "Latch" will be on the playlist at my (hypothetical) wedding. It's really fun to dance to and I just really connect with it. But I want "Drunk In Love" to play there too. Maybe like 10 times. I wouldn't mind if they played it at my funeral too. These two songs have been played to death and I don't think it's possible that I will never not want to hear "Drunk In Love," no matter the occasion. It's so good.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

CAITLIN WHITE: Comparing Sam Smith to Beyonce is like comparing a daisy to a rose, a fling to a marriage, a puppy to a baby. Beyonce transcends Sam Smith in a way that isn't rude or self-serving, but effortless and almost biological in force—a lion consuming an antelope. There's no possible way to consider Smith's gorgeous falsetto on par with Bey's giggling, growled "SURFBOARDT"—and honestly, I don't think Sam would even want us to. Yes, I'm aware that Disclosure and Jay Z are both somehow affiliated with this argument, but when we are dealing with two vocalists so near to the celestial expanse, these mere minions and pawns they use to accentuate their voices fall away. On "Drunk In Love," Beyonce becomes our Bacchus, a beach-sexed Dionysus drawing us into the revelry of Eros… meanwhile, Sam Smith is still trying to make boundary issues sound romantic. Goes without saying but, beach is better.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

NICK WILLIAMS: Beyonce is in a different league than most artists out there – and nothing said that more than when she dropped "Drunk In Love" followed by her fifth LP. While both tracks had huge, iconic moments in 2014, culturally I think 'Drunk In Love' had a bigger impact, specifically because of the 'surfboardt' movement/hook and all the memes and merch that followed. Having a lyric still be that culturally relevant one year later is a powerful thing and that's why she's queen Bey.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

DENISE WARNER: #surfboardt #surfboardt #surfboardt #surfboardt
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”

JASON LIPSHUTZ: When we were putting this 64-deep bracket together, I wasn’t sure which song would take the crown… but if my life depended upon it, I would have guessed “Drunk In Love.” It’s a song worthy of the Finals, but there across from it sits one of the strongest dance cuts in years, a song so sleek and smart and sophisticated that it makes other strong dance cuts look sophomoric by comparison. “Latch” is a time bomb — letting its tension bubble in an aching pre-chorus before exploding into a falsetto-driven hook — and every time I think I’m sick of hearing it burst, I realize that my ears need to hear that pop one more time. “Drunk In Love” is the smart bet, but “Latch” is the correct choice.
My Vote: “Latch”

STEVEN HOROWITZ: The 2014 showdown of the anthems has come down to two songs on either side of love, one hoping to spark it and another impaired by it. Where they both succeed, though, is in striking a common sense of jovial exuberance, something they evoke by taking different approaches. Resident sad boy Sam Smith is a prisoner of his own desire, and yet his plight is belied by a soaring falsetto backed by a lightly-toasted deep house groove. Love without reciprocity hasn’t sounded this effervescent all year. Beyonce, however, uses a bared-teeth ferocity to aggressively flaunt her marital bliss—it’s like having your cake, eating it and rubbing the rest on anyone who comes across your path. Both were cultural forces this year, but Beyonce and Jay Z did something that Disclosure and Sam Smith just couldn’t: they shifted pop culture. In a single song, Bey added numerous terms to the social lexicon (surfboard, graining on that wood, drinking watermelon); conquered radio with clear allusions to getting irresponsibly wasted; and, reason enough, added fuel to her celebrity’s roaring fire. For Disclosure and Sam Smith, this is just the beginning, but for Bey and Jay, it’s just another notch on their deservedly gargantuan belts.
My Vote: “Drunk In Love”


BEST SONG BRACKET BATTLE 2014 CHAMPION: “Drunk In Love”

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

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