A truly random distribution matching of songs already randomly selected by letter leads to such interesting quandaries as why does Bruce Springsteen have so many songs that begin with the letter "B" ("Born in the USA," "Badlands," "Born to Run," "Better Days," "Brilliant Disguise"), whether or not Dire Straits's "The Bug" is better than Mary Chapin Carepenter's "The Bug" (tough call), and whether Johnny Cash's "Bird on a Wire" is better than Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" (yes, I think so).
Anyway, here is my final four of "B" songs and the songs they beat to make the final four.
"Brass in Pocket" (The Pretenders)
[Songs beat: "Bearers of the Light" by Michael Card; "Be Thou My Vision" by Fernando Ortega; "Bitter End" by the Dixie Chicks; "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straits.]
The Pretenders did have the proverbial easiest path to the finals, somehow drawing CCM into the sweet 16. Still this is a great song. It is (not kidding here), the only song I've ever called a radio station during request hour to request. They didn't play it. Love Chrissie Hynde's vocals.
"Badlands" (Bruce Springsteen)
[Songs beat: "Burn Down the Mission" by Elton John; "Bloody Well Right" by Supertramp; "Brilliant Disguise" by Bruce Springsteen; "Burning Down the House" by the Talking Heads.]
This regional bracket was loaded. Somehow, but a fluke of aphabetizing, almost all the Springsteen songs ended up in the bracket, beating up on each other like ACC teams trying to get into the big dance. I really think Springsteen is underrated as a lyricist. There are times where he can rival Paul Simon for poetic metaphors, but he also has a sardonic edge to him that really encapsulates certain emotions:
"Workin' in the fields
till you get your back burned
Workin' 'neath the wheels
till you get your facts learned
Baby I got my facts
learned real good right now"
I'm mean that's just brilliant.
"The Boy from Tupelo" (Emmylou Harris)
[Songs beat: "Beast of Burden" by The Rolling Stones; "Be Good to Yourself" by Journey; "Blonde over Blue" by Billy Joel; "Beautiful Enemy" by Dar Williams.]
It sort of makes me sad that "Beautiful Enemy" didn't make the final four since it was the song that was playing in a Barnes & Noble one day that literally made me stop in my tracks, go to the counter and say "Who is that?" Still I think that Emmylou Harris's song is more compete (not as flashy at first but it works its way through the song rather than just stopping). I didn't even think it was the best song on the album, but one thing this exercise made me do is relisten to some songs when they came up on shuffle play.
"The Boys of Summer" (Don Henley)
[Songs beat: "The Beast in Me" by Johnny Cash; "Be Still My Beating Heart" by Sting; "Bye, Bye Love" by the Everly Brothers (kind of a neat contrast there); "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.]
Yes, I'll admit there is some sentimental value here. This song was hot on the radio the year I got engaged (I feel old all of a sudden), so it's the closest thing the spouse and I have to "our song." I will say, as I've gotten older, different things stand out about the song, to whit: "Out on the road today, I saw a Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac / A little voice inside my head said 'don't look back; you can never look back."
So that's my March Madness of "B" songs (not to be confused with "B" sides.