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Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 1:29 am
by BleuPanda
The rules are simple: vote for your favorite in each match below. The winner will move to the next round. The deadline to vote is Thursday, June 16th at 8 P.M. CST. Please listen to these tracks again before voting!

Bracket:
http://www.bracketmaker.com/tmenu.cfm?tid=463384

Radiohead - Climbing Up the Walls
vs.
Talking Heads - The Great Curve

Discussion Time!
Are you happy with this final match (note that we have already seen these two songs face off in the first round, meaning random generator put the two finalists next to each other)? Also, how long should we wait until the second Best of the B-Sides?


Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 1:38 am
by whuntva
Climbing Up the Walls

This was about the final I thought we were gonna get, although I thought one of the four Beatles songs might have made it instead of "Great Curve".

Also, I don't know about another B-Sides. I was thinking of doing it with a different set of albums, like the next 128 or something. We could try to make it annual or even semi-annual is possible if it is a different set each time.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 1:41 am
by BleuPanda
The Great Curve



I was planning to do the next 112 albums, plus a small section for a second B-side from the first set.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 2:40 am
by DaveC
The Great Curve

128 + 112 = 240. Fear of Music = 245. Well at least someone else has a chance.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:29 am
by GucciLittlePiggy
Climbing Up the Walls

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:31 am
by prosecutorgodot
Radiohead - Climbing Up the Walls
(somewhere between 40 and 70 on my all-time list)

CUTW was definitely my fave from top 16.
I would prefer for runner-up Kraftwerk - Europe Endless.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:32 am
by bootsy
The Great Curve

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:58 am
by Listyguy
The Great Curve

Can't complain with this final, both songs are excellent.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:18 am
by Harold
Climbing Up the Walls

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:46 am
by Henrik
The Great Curve

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:35 am
by EmilienDelRey
The Great Curve

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:37 am
by Bang Jan
The Great Curve

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:42 am
by Gillingham
Not an easy choice, but I go for:
Radiohead - Climbing Up the Walls

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:50 am
by Nassim
whuntva (back in round 1) wrote: Climbing Up the Walls
The Great Curve
Lost in the World
Ignoreland

Stacked. The winner of this group could very well win it all.
That's some insight ;)

I vote for Climbing Up The Walls, but the Great Curve would be a deserving winner.

On the first round The Great Curve won the bracket by a fair margin, but if you only look at which song was ahead of the other on each ballot, it was only 10 to 9. So Radiohead might pull an upset !

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:55 am
by Henrik
Nassim wrote:
whuntva (back in round 1) wrote: Climbing Up the Walls
The Great Curve
Lost in the World
Ignoreland

Stacked. The winner of this group could very well win it all.
That's some insight ;)

I vote for Climbing Up The Walls, but the Great Curve would be a deserving winner.

On the first round The Great Curve won the bracket by a fair margin, but if you only look at which song was ahead of the other on each ballot, it was only 10 to 9. So Radiohead might pull an upset !
BleuPanda wrote:Results:
1. Talking Heads - The Great Curve: 62
2. Radiohead - Climbing Up the Walls: 53
---
3. Kanye West - Lost in the World: 46
4. R.E.M. - Ignoreland: 29
Kanye actually wasn't too far from advancing from this group of death. For the first time in my life I feel sorry for him.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 12:14 pm
by Bruno
The Great Curve

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 1:41 pm
by BleuPanda
Both songs in this final match had only a single song break 40% on them during this tourney. Visions scored 42.86% last round against Climbing Up the Walls. The Great Curve's biggest opponent was actually a few rounds back; it only beat Pink Floyd's Brain Damage by a single vote!

Through extrapolation, it looks like In the Mouth a Desert was by far the weakest song to make it out of round 1 (barring something unlikely like The Great Curve absolutely dominating this final match). That whole section was incredibly weak; Down on the Street is extrapolated to only get 11% of the vote against The Great Curve, and it managed to get all the way to the final 16.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to extrapolate using the fourway matches effectively, so I'm going to skip them. A shame, since I'm pretty sure Lost in the World could have ended in the top 10 strongest entrants considering how it performed in round 1. I might go back and see how they perform one-on-one against the strongest in their matchup...

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 2:07 pm
by BleuPanda
Actually, after just checking the first match, Lucifer Sam would be about 3 times as strong if I used its matchup against Morning Bell against In the Mouth a Desert, so, yeah, the first round is impossible to interpret.

Part of this is also due to Same Fanbase Factor. Essentially, a song has a better chance against a song that is massively different than it does against a similar song. If we pair off an electronic song against a classic rock song, fans of either genre will usually support their favored genre. However, pair up two classic electronic songs, and there could suddenly be a blowout as all the fans of that genre agree on which of the two is better. So, that four-pack consisting of Down on the Street/Man of Metropolis/Shaking Through/In the Mouth a Desert all were fairly close to each other in strength, each being distinct takes within rock and roll, but Down on the Street ended up being demolished by The Beatles. Simply put, it could come down to this idea that The Stooges share a closer fanbase to The Beatles compared to the acts it narrowly beat out; something like Man of Metropolis might have been able to put up a stronger fight, as devotees of Sufjan's style might be less likely to cross over to The Beatles. However, this becomes impossible to know unless we were to actually check on the alternative. But, say The Man of Metropolis put up 35% against The Stooges' 10%, that whole section would then look quite a bit stronger than it does now.

I get these ideas from the GameFAQs contests, where it's much clearer due to both the amount of data and the obviousness of shared fanbases. For example, the character Ganondorf is shown to be a solidly popular character, expected to be capable of pulling off a 30%+ vote against the strongest characters. However, against the hero of his game, Link, he only manages a measly 10%. The question, then, is which of these bands have similar fans among this forum. Something more obvious would be a face-off between A Day in the Life vs. You Never Give Me Your Money, because of course 90% of us would take the former. Of course, the other possibility is the four-way setup allowed a lot of songs to perform differently for whatever reason, which combined with the changing voter-base throughout this tourney means something that actually was fairly strong in the beginning lost its fans. In other words, when I reveal the extrapolated standing with the rest of the results, be aware that some songs might have been invisibly shoved into an unfair matchup, hurting both itself and everything it beat along the way.

As it stands now, it looks like only 2 people would be expected to vote for In the Mouth a Desert over The Great Curve if we had 28 voters.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 2:23 pm
by Krurze
Radiohead - Climbing Up the Walls
vs.
Talking Heads - The Great Curve

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:10 pm
by deadpacifist
Climbing Up the Walls

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:23 pm
by spiritualized
Climbing Up the Walls

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:34 pm
by BleuPanda
Another thing I find interesting is that Climbing Up the Walls only placed 9th on our OK Computer track listing; do people here just like OK Computer that much, or did people simply start to like CUTW more during this?

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:56 pm
by Romain
Talking Heads - The Great Curve

But I will be happy too if the other win the match.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:33 pm
by cjppats43
Climbing up the walls

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:50 pm
by acroamor
Climbing Up the Walls

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:54 pm
by whuntva
BleuPanda wrote:Another thing I find interesting is that Climbing Up the Walls only placed 9th on our OK Computer track listing; do people here just like OK Computer that much, or did people simply start to like CUTW more during this?
For me it was a bit of both.

Of course, as my favorite album, I was very much familiar with the track, but over the course of this tournament I grew to appreciate it more as a standalone. Probably moreso than almost any other track in this game.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:08 pm
by Jackson
The Great Curve

I wonder if these songs will see a boost in our next all time songs poll. The Great Curve is around 40 on my list, hopefully others appreciate it more now too.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:55 pm
by bonnielaurel
Talking Heads - The Great Curve

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:58 am
by Honorio
BleuPanda wrote:Are you happy with this final match (note that we have already seen these two songs face off in the first round, meaning random generator put the two finalists next to each other)? Also, how long should we wait until the second Best of the B-Sides?
Yes, I'm absolutely happy with the final (even if I –and probably no one else– would have never expected this final in the beginning of the game), both are fantastic songs. Since the two song face off in the first round I went back to see how I voted then only to realize that I'm going to make the same choice again.
About a second BeSides game I'm not sure if it's going to be as interesting as the first one. Many of the albums on the first round got a lot of acclaimed songs (remember these albums with only 2 songs eligible like "Sticky Fingers" or "Led Zeppelin IV") making the game so interesting trying to find the overlooked gems on the highly praised albums. Probably we will have on the second edition easier choices that will make the game much more predictable. Anyway you can count with my participation…

[imgsize 350x246]http://40.media.tumblr.com/34add86df5ec ... o1_400.jpg[/imgsize]

"Climbing Up the Walls" seem to be a song loved by Yorke and the rest of Radiohead given the fact that it appears frequently on their setlists despite being a "difficult" song (it shocked me when I saw them live in 2003 that it was one of the only two songs they played from "OK Computer," at least before the encore when they played two more). Probably it's the more extreme song on the album in the sense that it takes the album main themes ("urban alienation and technology's effect on the human psyche" according to The Guardian) further, painting a scary picture of a mental disorder (maybe with social implicactions). The lyrics are quite cryptic. Even if Yorke himself explained that he was inspired by the "Care in the Community" British policy of deinstitutionalization of mentally disabled people, many other people can interpret the lyrics as a description of madness itself. The song seem to be (brilliantly) written from the point of view of the voice inside the head of a schizophrenic, the pick that cracked the ice of his mind, the chorus making it more obvious with the "open up your skull / I'll be there / climbing up the walls."
Musically it was also the most extreme song on the album (maybe after "Fitter Happier") with no signs of the bittersweetness of other songs on the album. Here it's all bitter. The basis of the song it's an oppressive beat reminiscing of the Trip Hop so in vogue in the mid90s, with a synth-bass that sound "like monsters under the bed" according to Marc Hogan from Vulture. The song begins (and ends) with unsettling sounds immersed on delays and reverbs. Yorke's voice is also heavily loaded with effects, only accompanied on the first verse by the synth-bass, drums and delays. On the chorus the strings (16 violins) join (at 1:31) and on the second verse some guitars are introduced (at 1:55). The drumming is going busier and busier throughout the song, creating a crescendo that culminates after the second chorus with a noisy guitar solo and hyper-saturated drum toms and cymbals (at 3:08). After that the violins begin to play in clusters Penderecki-style (at 3:44) and the song slowly falls apart after a creepy scream by Yorke (at 4:02) immersing again in echoes. Absolutely amazing.


[imgsize 325x266]http://i590.photobucket.com/albums/ss34 ... 20Hips.png[/imgsize]

Nothing is so disturbing in "The Great Curve" instead, even if the manual/human playing of music loops made Bill Janovitz of AMG think that "the group sought to audibly represent the alienating effects of technology and information overload on the individual" (making an unexpected connection with Radiohead's purpose but more than 15 years before).
According to Kenneth Partridge for Billboard, the song is "probably the most African-inspired track, both in terms of music and lyrics" off the album "Remain in Light." The lyrics on this album famously came from improvisations after the songs were recorded, David Byrne "used a portable tape recorder and tried to create onomatopoeic rhymes (…), Byrne continuously listened to his recorded scatting until convinced that he was no longer "hearing nonsense" (taken from Wikipedia). But in this particular song, as Byrne himself acknowledges in his (fantastic) book "How Music Works," "the lyrics (…) were inspired by Robert Farris Thompson's writings about African spirituality, and the feminine goddesses that survive today in remnants like Mother Nature or Yansan and Oshun in Afro-Atlantic cultures." "Moving to describe the world" Byrne concludes that "the world moves on a woman's hips / the world moves and it swivles and bops," a sexual thematic common with African and Caribbean lyrics. But as Byrne suggest, he is talking about a female divine figure (maybe a representation of all the women) and maybe also to Mother Earth. Even "The Great Curve" could be related with the spherical surface of the earth but also with the curve on the belly of a pregnant woman, comparing Earth and Women in their ability of creating life. But maybe I'm wrong, who knows?
On the music department I can't analyse the differents parts of the song like I just did for the Radiohead song because the song is based on a groove and an only chord that lasts for more than six minutes with no (apparent) progression. Byrne and Eno worked with loops on "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" (recorded before but reelased after "Remain in Light") and tried to reproduce the process with Talking Heads but with a live (human and not electronic) playing, in part because the technology of the time did not allow to work with loops (like it's usual today) and in part because of an artistic choice (as Bill Janovitz suggested). On the core the song is based in some basic loops that don't change throughout the whole song: (a) a percussion loop played with two sets of congas that give a distinct African flavour, (b) a very simple loop of bass and drums with a 4x4 beat and the same notes (F) on the bass and (c) a loop with two guitars alternating playing semiquavers in F minor, one of them high-pitched and the other muted and an octave lower. And nothing more, just some strategically placed touches of synth-horns.
So… with so few elements, how they managed to make the song so entertaining and addictive? There are two secret weapons: first the voices, with Byrne singing rather than speaking (unlike many songs on the album) joined by a choir of voices including the other Talking Heads plus Brian Eno and Nona Hendryx. They used the call-and-response technique present both in African and African-American music traditions but mainly they blended many different sub-melodies and vocal parts together making a glorious mess (the outro part from 4:41 to 5:28 when four different vocal parts simultaneously blend together and fight against each other is sublime). And the name of the second secret weapon is Adrian Belew, his two guitar solos (from 1:53 to 2:32 and from 5:28 till the end) are one of my favourite solos ever (along with Robert Fripp solos for David Bowie's "Fashion"). These solos "shriek like people dying to come out of the dark" according to Kenneth Partridge.


Image

My vote? The world moves on a woman's hips / The world moves and it swivles and bops / The world moves on a woman's hips / The world moves and it bounces and hops…

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:08 pm
by Nick
The Great Curve

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 4:01 pm
by sonofsamiam
The Great Curve

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 2:56 am
by jamieW
Absolutely fantastic summary of the two finalists, Honorio! "Climbing Up the Walls" is my nominee, so obviously it has a special place in my heart, and you described it perfectly. (The only thing I'd add is the menacing synthesized laugh after the first chorus.) It's an extraordinary descent into madness, epitomized by Yorke's scream, which you mentioned, at its conclusion.

Funny enough that, of all my nominees, I never expected this to make it to the final. (Mainly because, as BleuPanda mentioned, it finished so low in our "OK Computer" poll.) I thought "She Watch Channel Zero?!" or "Decades" would've done much better. The most ironic thing about all of this is that, if I would've gotten to "Remain In Light" first, I would've nominated the Joy Division-ish "The Overload." (Imagine how poorly that would've done as compared to "The Great Curve!")

Obviously, since I've already professed my love for the gloomiest of music, my vote goes to "Climbing Up the Walls." Win or lose, I'm just very happy that it made it all the way to the final.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:34 pm
by Honorio
Many thanks jamieW! I admit that I did not notice this synthesized laugh until you mentioned. Now it's going to haunt me forever :mrgreen:
I'm looking forward to see the position of "Climbing Up the Walls" on our Radiohead poll, probably it's going to have a boost because of this game.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:48 pm
by jamieW
Honorio wrote:Many thanks jamieW! I admit that I did not notice this synthesized laugh until you mentioned. Now it's going to haunt me forever :mrgreen:
It'll definitely do that! I'd probably put it on my list of the 10 creepiest songs ever. (Although nothing could ever replace my #1, "Empty House" by Air from "The Virgin Suicides" soundtrack. That's the one that kept me up many nights.) It's funny how half the people I know agree, and the other half don't find it terrifying in the slightest. Honorable mention goes to "One Hundred Years" by The Cure. Everyone I know does seem to get that one.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:57 pm
by BleuPanda
Hm, don't want this falling too far down the page.

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:41 am
by BleuPanda
last day to vote

Re: Best of the B-Sides: The Final

Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:44 am
by Sweepstakes Ron
The Great Curve!