Let’s just jump into the action.
1. Ace of Spades (Motorhead) vs. The Jack (AC/DC)
This was a good matchup. Two of the hardest rocking bands in history going toe to toe. Now clearly AC/DC is the better band: more hits, bigger fan base, etc. Motorhead really only has one mainstream hit. I was introduced to it through the first Guitar Hero game, and have loved it since. “The Jack” is slow, and while it has pretty good lyrics for an AC/DC song, it plods along through it’s chorus and verses. Give it to Ace of Spades.
2. Mr. Brightside (The Killers) vs. Mr. Blue Sky (ELO)
The Killers have had past success in the Battles. Their hit “Brightside” has already conquered the Guns ‘n Roses classic “Mr. Brownstone.” But can it vanquish ELO’s fantastically melodious anthem? In a word, not quite. The chorus of “Brightside” with the story it tells and it’s rising crescendo give it hope, but that hope is nothing compared to the hope billowing out of all 304 seconds of “Blue Sky.” Synthesizers have never been better utilized. Mr. Blue Sky.
3. Don’t Look Back in Anger (Oasis) vs. Look Back in Anger (David Bowie)
A fairly direct contradiction. Although the songs are similar in titles, they completely different musically. Bowie’s is jangly and 70’s rock fueled. Mostly because it’s 70’s rock, I guess. His vocals are powerful and strong, confident. It could basically be a action movie’s theme. Oasis’ on the other hand captures you at the chorus hook, where Sally can wait. Bowie’s is too dated in a world that reveres moody, self-aggrandizing alternative rock. Plus Oasis’ is just too catchy. Point Don’t Look Back in Anger.
4. Helena (My Chemical Romance) vs. Boston (Augustana)
Battle of the State Capitals!! MCR’s breakout hit exploded onto the charts a couple years back, and even if you don’t recognize the song title, I would bet that you’ve heard it. “What’s the worst that I could saaaa-eee-yay / things are better if I stay.” Likewise, “Boston” played nonstop on the radio for about two months. It’s soft piano harmony meshes well with the lead singer’s voice (who doesn’t warrant a quick wiki search). These two songs are complete opposite on the spectrum. Goth rock vs. that soft pop rock that bands like Snow Patrol and The Fray helped popularize. Both are infectious (and sort of embarrassing to be caught singing), but one clearly has the edge, and while the guitar coming in at Boston’s 2:30 mark try to give it some rock credibility, MCR’s swift tempo changes blow it out of the water, giving the win to Montana and Helena.
5. Black Dog (Led Zeppelin) vs. Welcome to the Black Parade (My Chemical Romance)
A lot in common. Both are unarguably anthemic. Both change tempo frequently to always keep the listener rocking. And both would make ridiculously fun Rock Band songs. What this battle boils down to, is Black Dog’s repetition. Yes, it changes tempo and melodies often, but it’s just a revolving collection of riffs. The alternation between Paige and Plant is at first awesome, then just ok. The 3:40 guitar solo still is one of Zep’s best though, and the song ends on a high note. Now over to MCR’s second entry in today’s competition. Starts out simple yet powerful, the piano and vocals. Then the marching drums kick in. Alright, that’s pretty cool. Music’s building, nice little mini drum solo to give it some kick. Guitar? HOLY CRAP, just got rocked over sideways. No, but seriously, as overrated as some say it is, and as much crap as MCR gets for “selling out”, it’s hard to deny the song’s power and force. The ending is the absolute greatest rock finale I have ever heard. Led Zep maybe legends, but MCR is 2-0 today. Welcome to the Black Parade.