December Derangement Part 4: The Field Thins, The Plot Thickens

PREAMBLE/DISCLAIMER/PRE-NOTE/WHATEVER YOU WANNA CALL IT: This is something I started working on last December with a blog I was writing for before Stitched Up. It was never completed because of stuff that went down with the site. It doesn’t exist anymore, but hey, that’s besides the point. The first 3 parts of this series will be a republication of the posts I wrote last year, with some revisions made. You’ll know where any major changes are (like any changes of decisions) when you see italicized text like this. After part 3, everything is brand spankin’ new. So, enjoy!

Part 1 selected the field, Part 2 got the weaklings out of the way, and Part 3 ended the dreams of some big players.

The Sweet 16 is really where the fun begins.

You start to figure out who the true contenders and true pretenders are, you see which Cinderellas really have a shot at continuing their magical run, and you get a sense of every songs’ strengths and weaknesses.

The best part? It’s unpredictable. The only thing I can say for sure at this very moment is that no matter what, The Carpenters will still be nightmare food.

the-carpenters_2765002k

With tickets to the quarters–the Elite 8–in the balance, this is sure to be a doooooooozy, Ned Ryerson style (I hope you guys are noticing all of these staples to December Derangement; saying “[insert person] style” and bashing on the Carpenters).

PHIIIIIIL?!?! PHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIL?!?!

This is a weird post for me, in a good way. This is the first fresh #HotTake for the tournament in over a year, so to analyze the new matchups completely is something that’s fun to get back into. Obviously I looked at the past matchups (we wouldn’t be here if I didn’t) but I had an idea of what they were beforehand from last year’s efforts.

So here we go! Strap in, because the epic ride continues. Starting back at the top of the Tree Region

#1 Fairytale of New York-The Pogues vs #5 Do They Know It’s Christmas?-Band Aid (Original)

Pogues have gotta keep going here. I love the original Band Aid song, and it’s great during the season, but “Fairytale of New York” packs a personal punch of emotion. It’s not like “Do They Know” isn’t emotional–it is–but listening to Shane MacGowan belt out this ballad gets me every time. Maybe it’s an Irish bias, but it’s critically acclaimed for a reason. The Pogues continue.

#2 Christmas Time Is Here-Vince Guaraldi vs #14 One Foot In Front Of The Other-Mickey Rooney and Keenan Wynn

Weird matchup considering they’re two totally different songs. As the lowest seed remaining in the tournament, one would think that “One Foot” shouldn’t really be contending at this point. But whenever I hear it, I get excited. But I think this is where its FGCU-esque Cinderella ride comes to an end. “Christmas Time Is Here” is so beautifully soft and relaxing. Nothing like unwinding and listening to it with some ‘nog. It captures the feeling of the season nicely with its soft piano and percussion. One of the remaining two songs from Charlie Brown’s special knocks off Santa and the Winter Warlock to set up a 1 vs 2 matchup in the Elite 8.

Now over to the Milk and Cookies Region, which has been revved up for a 1-2-3-4 seed Sweet 16.

#1 Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town-Bruce Springsteen vs #4 Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer-Burl Ives

I love Burl in December, but the relatively easy (thunder) road for the E Street Band continues. The raw and almost spontaneous energy from The Boss is just too much to handle for poor Rudolph. It’s not spontaneous in the sense that it comes from outta nowhere like a well timed RKO since Bruce always has energy, but he just sorta does whatever feels good in the moment. That shines through on this record, and it’s good enough to move it on to the Elite 8. Bruce keeps on goin’.

#2 All I Want For Christmas Is You-Mariah Carey vs Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town-Frank Sinatra

An all Santa regional final?!

Well, no.

Sinatra’s tune is a classic, but it’s just overpowered here. Young Mariah was an absolute SAVAGE. She could hit the high note unlike anyone else. I’m usually not a huge fan of the teeny-bopper pop hits but she slays this track. Plus, Frank’s version of “Santa” isn’t even the best in the region. Mariah, however, now has the chance to knock off both versions. All the readers get here is a 1-2 regional final.

Moving on to the Stockings region.

#1 The Christmas Song-Nat King Cole vs #5 Blue Christmas-Elvis Presley

The King (nicknamed person, not actual named person) had a tough time even getting to this point, and he won’t advance against the King (actual named person, not nicknamed person). NKK hasn’t been challenged that much here, and that trend will continue. Saving my ace-in-the-hole arguments for a rainy day on this one. The chestnuts are still roasting.

#2 Wonderful Christmastime-Paul McCartney vs #3 O Holy Night-Josh Groban

Jeez talk about a toughie. In one corner is one of the best songwriters of all-time and a member of my favorite band ever, and on the other we have a holiday tour de force. A train that just can’t stop chugging. Sir Paul vs. El Grobo. Two different sounding songs about two different things, but after some serious thought…

…I GOTTA KEEP THE TRAIN GOING!!!!

Look, I love Paul and this song. I just don’t think it’s nearly as powerful during the holiday season as “O Holy Night.” And this is coming from the guy who doesn’t necessarily love the religious Christmas songs. “Wonderful Christmastime” is great, but it sounds like anything else that Paul would’ve pumped out at the time. “O Holy Night” gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. CHOO CHOO! THE GROBZ TRAIN KEEPS ON CHUGGIN’!

And finally, the region that has seen the biggest upset thus far: the North Pole region.

#9 The Season’s Upon Us-The Dropkick Murphys vs #5 Last Christmas-Wham!

Now if we’re talkin’ body guilty pleasures, anything by Wham! qualifies as a frontrunner. But the song that knocked off the first #1 seed of the tournament still has enough in the tank to make it to the Elite 8 in my mind. I think George Michael and whoevertheotherguyinwham!is’ version of this song is the best one, but the original content mixed with the Dropkick’s unique touch is so rewarding to keep in the tournament. Quincy, stand up! The magical run continues for the Dropkick Murphys.

#2 Christmas in Hollis-Run DMC vs #3 Hark the Herald Angel Sing-Vince Guaraldi

These two songs are the definition of (north) polar opposites. The Charlie Brown Christmas music is so soothing and whatnot, but I can’t knock out Run-DMC. Originality, spunky, and just an overall bumpin’ song, Run-DMC makes Christmas badass. That’s enough to push them over good ol’ Chuck. He loses yet again; how poetic. “Christmas in Hollis” runs to the regional final.

It’s getting exciting here folks! Will a powerhouse take it all? Or will a Cinderella sneak in and grab the crown? Find out who makes the Final 4, the Championship matchup, and who wins it all in the FINAL installment of December Derangement!