March Madness brings dizzying joys and crushing lows to college hoops fans. Music obsessives looking for their own tournament will have to focus on the latter suite of emotions. That's because the March Sadness tourney is back, focusing this time on the college-rock years (1980-2001).
Here's the selection criteria from the delightfully engaged and analysis-happy creators of the online contest, which is currently accepting public votes for Round 2:
"Songs selected needed to be sad (though as you can see there's quite a spectrum of sadness here) and in the orbit of the college rock/MTV 120 Minutes (or its prequels/sequels) world, and released between 1980 and 2001, with a bias toward 1985-1995."
Selections from Minnesota bands like the Replacements ("Here Comes a Regular"), Bob Mould ("Can't Fight It"), Low ("Words"), and Gear Daddies ("Don't Look at Me") are among those battling for your heavy heart in this year's bracket.
Here's how our regional favorites fared in Round 1: The 'Mats squashed Dream Academy with their lonely barroom ballad "Here Comes a Regular"; Bob Mould's acoustic broken-home lament "Can't Fight It" bested Peter Murphy; the scorched-earth bleakness Low's "Words," the 14th-seeded song, topped U2's third-seeded "With or Without You" in a major upset; the Cure is ostensibly the Duke of this tourney, so it's no surprise they trounced the 16th-seeded Gear Daddies.
The No. 1-seeded bands — the Cure ("Pictures of You"), Neutral Milk Hotel ("Two Headed Boy"), Elliott Smith ("Waltz #2"), and Joy Division ("Atmosphere") — all easily escaped Round 1.
Today's second-round matchups include the Replacements vs. Elliott Smith, Morrissey vs. Gary Jules, Kate Bush vs. Nirvana, and Tracy Chapman vs. Eels.
Cast your tear-stained ballot here.