Motelvision 2012: The knockout rounds
A prolonged lack of internet at Motel Towers, malfunctioning computer hardware, the 'Festive Season' and a variety of other flimsy dog-ate-my-homework-esque excuses may have pushed the final results of our song of the year competition into 2013, - oppan Motel style, to borrow from notorious chart-botherer Psy - but here, we finally present the results of the last four weeks' email exchanges, consensus decision-making (of a sort) and anguish from those whose songs didn't get through to the final. Friends, readers, country bumpkins, The Fugitive Motel hereby presents Motelvision 2012: The Knockout Rounds!
So... where were we?
As you may recall before we were so rudely interrupted by the mishaps of a certain telecommunications firm that sells itself on providing 'infinite' broadband, 16 songs had made the cut in our Eurovision round from an initial longlist of 29, thus taking us without further ado to what is referred to as "the third round proper" in FA Cup parlance. After an almost-complicated draw to determine who would face who in the last 16, the fixtures were determined as follows:
The Maccabees - 'Ayla' v Django Django - 'Default'
Frank Ocean - 'Thinkin' 'Bout You' v Japandroids - 'The House That Heaven Built'
Rudimental/John Newman - 'Feel the Love' v A Place To Bury Strangers - 'Leaving Tomorrow'
Public Service Broadcasting - 'Spitfire' v Jesca Hoop - 'Born To'
Niki & the Dove - 'Tomorrow' v Bat for Lashes - 'Laura'
Tigercats - 'Harper Lee' v Shearwater - 'Breaking the Yearlings'
Jessie Ware - '110%' v Grizzly Bear - 'Yet Again'
Dirty Projectors - 'Gun Has No Trigger' v Benjamin Schoos & Laetitia Sadier - 'Je ne vois que vous'
You may also recall, sweet Motel readers and passers-by, that Jessie Ware made it through by the skin of her teeth on the basis of our arbitrary and at times controversial countback procedure, employed by the editor when she doesn't want to use a casting vote.
The Maccabees - 'Ayla' 3 v 7 Django Django - 'Default
We may have waved farewell to The Maccabees, but here, Catherine decides to embrace the spirit of The X Factor, proclaiming: "I love the Django Django track, but in a Tulisa/Gary Barlow style I'm going to stick with my act, even though it doesn't stand a chance." Steve W, however, feels differently, writing: "Nondescript versus anything but - more thought and invention in the first five seconds of 'Default'."
Frank Ocean - 'Thinkin' 'Bout You' 0 v 10 Japandroids - 'The House That Heaven Built'
A drubbing for poor Frank here. "I like to think about this tie in the terms of what would happen if a Scott Pilgrim stye same time battle of the bands took place, Japandroids would smash the opposite end of the room to pieces," mused Steve W. "I love Japandroids!" proclaims Andy P. "All the songs are pretty similar, so it's fortunate that all their songs are teeth grindingly brilliant!" "I like to think about this tie in the terms of what would happen if a Scott Pilgrim stye same time battle of the bands took place," Steve observes. "Japandroids would smash the opposite end of the room to pieces."
Rudimental/John Newman - 'Feel the Love' 4 v 6 A Place to Bury Strangers - 'Leaving Tomorrow'
A surprisingly close tie, with the LOUUUUD NOISES of A Place to Bury Strangers just edging Rudimental's poppier effort. Going against the grain, Harry says: "Favourable draw for Rudimental, but it's still a great slice of euphoria cake. Sorry APTBS, but you were spanked in this one."
Public Service Broadcasting - 'Spitfire' 4 v 6 Jesca Hoop - 'Born To'
Another close one, as promising newcomers PSB sadly depart the competition in the early stages. "I'm not a fan of this tie, in the sense that we have to lose either PSB's super cool slow-burner, or the song I'm going for, Hoop's bit of lovely, euphoric, uplifting folk-pop," says Steve. Quite right, too. "Jesca grinds out a result here, but can she do it on a rainy midweek night at the Brittania? I think Round 4 is as far as she's going," proclaims Harry.
Niki & the Dove - 'Tomorrow' 4 v 6 Bat for Lashes - 'Laura'
The Manchester United vs Liverpool of Motelvision, this fixture had editor Kate weeping little pathetic indie tears the moment it was drawn. "A classic 'vision tie this one," writes Harry, "but Natasha's teary, heart-betraying ode to Laura Ashley squeaks through." (I should point out at this stage that when Harry sends his votes in, he gives them a score - this was 3-4 to Natasha.) Faced with having to choose between tipping this fixture into a tie and then having to employ the casting vote - or worse, a coin toss, Kate bails on one of her original nominees and goes with the song she wished she'd picked (but Steve got there first). Plus, while 'Tomorrow' is a delicious slice of poppy fun, 'Laura' is truly timeless and oh-so mesmerising. However, Malin, Gustaf, Magnus... I still feel guilty.
Tigercats - 'Harper Lee' 4 v 6 Shearwater - 'Breaking the Yearlings'
The last in a spate of 4-6 away wins goes to Shearwater, and Harry notes: "The winner here, to be honest, is me. Two bands who I wouldn't otherwise have been listening to this afternoon, so thanks everyone. Shearwater just shade it."
Jessie Ware - '110%' 0 v 9 Grizzly Bear - 'Yet Again'
An abstention from Ste O in this fixture only affected the result on paper, as Ms Ware slipped to an almost-embarrassing home defeat. One of those where the vidiprinter would have a (Nine) after the number '9' in brackets. Ipswich Town circa 1995 will know how this feels. (Keane 15', Cole 19', 37', 53', 65', 87', Hughes 55', 59', Ince 72'... those were the days. I'll shut up now, for fear of upsetting a large proportion of East Anglia). Anyway, here's what Andy P had to say: "Both were amazing in November at Pitchfork, and I hate to vote against a Londoner, but 'Yet Again is an amazing track, and there are better songs on Jessie Ware's record than this for me."
Dirty Projectors - 'Gun Has No Trigger' 3 v 7 Benjamin Schoos & Laetitia Sadier - 'Je ne vois que vous'
Dirty Projectors provoked a range of emotions among voters, including a lot of what-the-hell-is-this. Ultimately, the Schoos/Sadier combo of perky pop beats and lyrics en francais wooed the majority of the electorate. Incroyable, Joffre! "The inevitable tie between two songs I can't really be arsed about," sighs Steve. "Let's go with the French[-language] pop. At least it envokes images of better weather than we have right now."
A Place To Bury Strangers - 'Leaving Tomorrow' v Grizzly Bear - 'Yet Again'
Django Django - 'Default' v Benjamin Schoos & Laetitia Sadier - 'Je ne vois que vous'
Japandroids - 'The House That Heaven Built' v Bat for Lashes - 'Laura'
Jesca Hoop - 'Born To' v Shearwater - 'Breaking the Yearlings'
"Frank Ocean was robbed, you are all philistines!" howls Simon. "Noooo, two of my remaining top three songs are out! But hurrah for common sense prevailing and seeing Dirty Projectors removed from the contest," says Ste O, seeing the silver lining in every metaphorical musical cloud. It's all silver linings for Harry, though, who writes: "Is now a good time to mention that I received an aggregate score of 19-0 for my two remaining tracks last week? 19-0! 19! With no reply! Brilliant. Here's hoping I have a track left next round..."
A Place To Bury Strangers - 'Leaving Tomorrow' 2 v 4 Grizzly Bear - 'Yet Again'
"A landslide for Grizzly Bear with their bittersweet ode to repetition comfortably seeing off the weakest song left in the competition. That semi-final prediction is looking safe," writes Harry. Steve W, however, backs A Place to Bury Strangers, although admits that he found the decision tough: "I'm sticking with my own [nominee] in this all-Brooklyn affair. A vote for the 'noisy neighbours' over their bigger rivals." Ste O is pretty clear cut on where he stands, writing: "I vote for Grizzly Bear, only because their opponents are even worse."
Django Django - 'Default' 6 v 0 Benjamin Schoos & Laetitia Sadier - 'Je ne vois que vous'
A surge of enthusiasm for Django Django - so good they named themselves twice? - puts pay to Benjamin Schoos and Latitia Sadier's run for Motelvision glory. "The Djangos could be forgiven for looking at the remaining songs in the competition and thinking that they have a great chance of going all the way here," notes Harry. "'Default' remains a fantastic pop song with one of the best riffs of the year, so it gets my thumbs up."
Japandroids - 'The House That Heaven Built' 4 v 2 Bat for Lashes - 'Laura'
A heartbroken Harry opines: "What a ridiculous choice to have to make. In any other year this would be a final, not a Round 4 [tie], and all bets are off when it comes to where the Motel consensus will fall. I've backed Japandroids all the way, and I'm not going to jump ship now. But if we were ever to meet, Natasha, I will deny all knowledge of this ever happening. Sob." Andy P adds: "Only one difficult decision here for me and that's Japandroids v Bat for Lashes. Gotta go with my boys though, I think."
Jesca Hoop - 'Born To' 3 v 2 Shearwater - 'Breaking the Yearlings'
An abstention from the editor, who still had a cob on about Bat for Lashes going out (a 'cob' where I come from means a 'sulk/strop' by the way - this caused some confusion as Simon informs me that it means something quite different in Nuneaton parlance). Meanwhile, Steve backs his act, writing: "Meiburg and co produce that bit more quality work to eke out a majority decision after 12 tough rounds." "What a beautiful singer, great discovery!" says Gemma of the ultimately victorious Hoop. Ah, the Motelvision Song Contest - introducing Fugitive Motel contributors past and present to heavenly voices since 2008.
[Motelvision Song Contest 2012 YouTube playlist featuring all 29 nominees]
Django Django 'Default' v Grizzly Bear 'Yet Again'
Jesca Hoop 'Born To' v Japandroids 'The House That Heaven Built'
Lo and behold, it's Ste G, waking from an early knockout round Motelvision hibernation! "I didn't even vote but three out of my four favourites went through," he says, before going on to remark that he hopes that Django Django doesn't win outright. Kate reckons that the Jesca Hoop/Japandroids fixture "could be tight", but confidently predicts a Django-Japandroids final during off-list conversation with Arj - pledging semi-final allegiance to both acts.
Meanwhile, in the Motel's spiritual home of Manchester, Harry is still pleased with himself. "Goodness me. Two semi-final spots!! I bloody love being good at this. It's better than Christmas. So to the semi (pronounced 'sem-eye') finals, where no one remembers the losers, where heroes are born and where writers forget there should always be three examples..."
Django Django 'Default' 5 v 4 Grizzly Bear 'Yet Again'
Lo and behold once again, it's Motel founding deputy editor Hannah! "Ah, I've been terrible at Motelvision this year. It turns out that dashing between 3 cities, going to ATP and having a weekend with the parents is not conducive to a) remembering to vote or indeed b) thinking of anything to say. Sorry about this... so, when it comes down to it, toe-tapping beats swooning and noise beats, well sort of beats swooning as well. Albeit a different type of swooning. I am now going to pin my colours the wall... and holler VOTE DJANGO DJANGO! Aside from anything else, listening to 'Default' brings joy to my heart, and that's rather festive, is it not?
Jesca Hoop 'Born To' 6 v 3 Japandroids 'The House That Heaven Built'
"This tie is a bit hard to get the head around given that it's like making a direct comparison between JRR Tolkien and F Scott Fitzgerald," writes Steve W. "I'm going for Japandroids simply because even thinking about this song leaves the chorus line going through my head for hours." Harry bigs up his act, saying that 'The House That Heaven Built' is "a song to help us forget the world outside". He adds "Japandroids should be given the keys to the kingdom for gifting us this perfect antidote to bad news: for 5 minutes you can pogo your head off whilst pretending there are no such things as bills, work or expanding midriffs. Perfect perfect perfect."
The grand final...
Two tribes go to war as Django Django and Japandroids face off in the final. Ste O is on Team Django, writing: "Has to be Django 2x. Japandroids isn't even memorable." "Django Django allllllll theeeeeeee waaaaaaay!" hollers Simon, while Gemma joins them, hailing the track's "upbeat" qualities and gushing: "It has to be Django Django... they're so cool!"
"This is a right tough one, but I'm going to go with Japandroids," says Arj. Ste G agrees, later adding: "Don't let Django win!" in a rather jolly text. Steve W adds: "Much as I like the quirkiness and craft of 'Default', I've... got to go with the raw, anthemic quality of ['The House That Heaven Built']. It's just a fantastically positive, rip-roaring singalong."
What genuinely started out as a very very close contest on Christmas Day ultimately turned into a rout by the time we were ringing in the New Year here at the Motel. Even if one contributor's rather open (and tongue-in-cheek) attempt to try and vote twice by text and email to see if I noticed fell flat, it wouldn't have made much difference...
So, congratulations to Django Django! Altogether now! "# We just lit the fire and now you want to put it out... #"
The roll of honour...
2007: Sky Larkin - 'One of Two' (chosen by a panel of special guests via repeated knockout round in a roundtable feature)
2008: Laura Marling - 'Ghosts' (First Motelvision winner under the current format)
2009: Animal Collective - 'My Girls' (Review of the Year 2009)
2010: The National - 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' (Review of the Year 2010)
2011: The Horrors - 'Still Life' (Review of the Year 2011)
Readers' Choice 2011 shared between British Sea Power - 'Who's In Control?' and Warpaint - 'Undertow'
2012: Django Django - 'Default'
The Motelvision Song Contest, like James Bond, will return in 'Motelvision 2013'.