The Round of 64 for Sound of the City’s own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—finishes this weekend, with the Round of 32 kicking off Monday. (The schedule and results so far are here; the full, updated bracket is here.) This time out, the Piano Man Billy Joel meets the shape-shifting superstar Nicki Minaj. Check out the arguments in favor of each below, and vote at Facebook for the musician that you think should move on to the next round.
A commercial monster (150 million albums sold worldwide) and the unofficial scorer for an entire region (Long Island), Billy Joel’s music has been the tiny-violin victim of its own success. Songs like “Piano Man” and “New York State of Mind” have endured so remorselessly on radio that they haven’t had a chance to be rediscovered. They remind people of the ’70s and ’80s as they actually were, rather than how anyone would prefer them to be. But for all his cheesiness and critical questionability: those tunes! “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant,” “Only the Good Die Young”—Joel’s work is muscular, filthy, colloquial, and intensely local. He’s not perfect, but nobody from Hicksville is. That doesn’t mean anyone can touch him.
You guys have heard “Super Bass,” right? Well, that pretty much wraps this one up. YMCMB’s First Lady has gone from struggling to get a mixtape heard to becoming a full-fledged pop culture force in only a couple of years. Maintaining her status as hip-hop’s current reigning Queen Bee (pun intended), she’s not only become a red-carpet fixture, but one of the most reliable features in the game—baffling when you consider how she routinely bodies whoever was nice enough to let her grace their track. Counting Minaj out would be to ignore the sheer breadth of her appeal—she has soccer moms, adorable English girls in tutus, and the self-proclaimed “greatest rapper alive” on her team, not to mention a virtual army of “Barbz” at her disposal, ready to exercise their itchy clicking fingers. You guys have heard “Monster,” right? And so on.