This is where Bracket Madness gets really difficult. In round-one, Mariah Carey and her five-octaves beat-out the ever-classy Celine Dion, while Green Day‘s punk spirit trumped Dave Matthews Band‘s laid-back jams. And so now this next round pits Mariah Carey against Green Day, two artists whose messages and music were totally different, the songbird and the screamers. Though different at first blush, it was usually “Fantasy” or “Basket Case” that had us hoarse in the throat by night’s end. If you caught us in the car, it was “Always Be My Baby” or “Good Riddance” that we would be singing along to.
There’s no question: Mariah can sing. The girl’s got a five-octave vocal range and she sure knows how to use it. The songbird supreme, she has eighteen number one singles to her name — more than any other solo artist — and we still know all the words to each and every one of them. We can’t hit those high notes yet, but we’ll keep working so we can be close by the time “Fantasy” turns twenty in 2015. And until then, let’s talk about that the O.D.B. verse — we’ve got it on lock.
Billie Joe Armstrong’s melisma is probably not as good as Mariah’s, but where he lacks in voice he leads in lyric. A decade’s worth of teenagers spent the 90s pledging their allegiance to whatever while they sang “Longview” like it was the national anthem. Nothing rang more true than it’s refrain of “I’m so damn bored I’m going blind/ And I smell like shit,” and it was cool knowing that you weren’t alone so long as those guys on MTV and young people across the country were all singing to literally the same tune.
So! Who had you singing? Voting for the greatest artist of the 90s ends Friday, August 10 at 4 p.m. Make sure to check in to see who’s in the lead.