The Field is Set

Fadnessers and Fadness fans, with the last of the play-in games just finished ("Connected" squeaked by "Achy Breaky Heart" in a dramatic finish when Cyrus's potential game-winning 3 went off the rim with time expiring), we have the final bracket.

Your brackets, thus, are due by 2/28 if you'd like to fill one out. Who you got? 

Stereo MCs, Natalie Imbruglia, Digital Underground, Snow, EMF, and—surprisingly—Fastball all passed the first test to go to Tucson to play in the tourney this year. 

What we learned so far: Digital Underground and Natalie Imbruglia look a whole lot stronger than expected entering the first round. We give them even odds, in fact, in taking down their big name opponents in the first round. Imbruglia is up against a potential soft one-seed in "Here Comes the Hotstepper," though its use in the recent (shitty?) film Suicide Squad might give the one-seed an extra bump. Digital Underground faces a tougher test against one of the most indelible songs of the era in Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy." They appear to be a band that's embraced their OHW status and has made the most of it, which speaks well for them and their approach to fame.

We expect that many of the other artists in the tourney resist the one-hit-wonder label. It's an unfair and denigrating one, we know. We know, y'all! We mean no disrespect by it. Part of the point of the tourney is to investigate what the brush with fame (such as it is) means for the life of the artist, or for the life of the culture. So we'll get on with that shortly. We'll also be posting some brackets over the next few days as we get ready to enter the tournament. See you on 3/1 if not before.

March Fadness Power Rankings

Based on Youtube views as of 8PM MST 01/18/17), ranked Highest to Lowest

1. What's Up? - 180,761,985
2. Mambo No. 5 - 71,604,234
3. Closing Time - 44,849,240 (*)
4. Return of the Mack - 33,368,365
5. Just a Friend - 27,373,834
6. Breakfast at Tiffany's - 20,384,378
7. Tubthumping - 19,912,431 (*)
8. Whoomp! (There It Is) - 19,050,280 (*)
9. Here Comes the Hotstepper - 18,850,182 (*)
10. Steal My Sunshine - 18,773,947 (*)
11. Jump Around
12. I Touch Myself
13. She's So High (*)
14. Sex and Candy (*)
15. Mr. Vain (&)
16. Wicked Game (*)
17. Walking in Memphis
18. What is Love
19. Save Tonight
20. Possum Kingdom (*)
21. Missing
22. I Wish
23. You Get What You Give
24. How Bizarre (*)
25. 500 Miles ($)
26. Crush
27. I'm Too Sexy
28. Groove is in the Heart
30. Barely Breathing (*)
31. Life is a Highway (*)
32. I Love You Always Forever
33. Three Little Pigs (*)
34. Freshmen (*)
35. Don't Wanna Fall in Love
36. Far Behind
37. Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) (*)
38. Cotton Eye Joe (*)
39. Bitch (*)
40. Your Woman (*)
41. Standing Outside a Broken Phonebooth ($)
42. Short Dick Man
43. How Do You Talk to an Angel
44. Swing My Way (*)
45. Macarena
46. Baby Got Back (%)
47. Rump Shaker
48. Flagpole Sitta
49. Mouth (*)
50. It's a Shame
51. One of Us (%)
52. Swing the Mood
53. I Know
54. Stay
55. No Myth
56. You Gotta Be ($)
57. New Age Girl ($)
58. Cantaloop

& - "official" video (international)
* - no "official" or "original" video (often, vids in this category are imported from vevo (especially those with many views))
% - "official" or "original" video #s listed, but other videos had more views
$ - no professional video available

How to Play March Fadness

We think it's obvious, but there are plenty of ways to play March Fadness, depending on whether you're reading, listening, and thinking during the actual running of the tournament or after the fact. Suggestions here:

  • sign up for the mailing list to get notifications of new games in Feb and March
  • listen to the songs: via spotify (see playlist above) or on your kickass 5-cd changer or watch the embedded videos
  • read the essays: Each song is introduced by a writer we like, who provides analysis, autobiography, close reading, or other sorts of context
  • think, rethink, reminisce: who were you then? who are you now? what is good or terrible or notable or indelible about this song?
  • choose: which song is better? which song makes you feel better? which song transports you most effectively? which song deserved your love then? which song deserves your love now? which essay makes you feel the best about the song (or in spite of the song)? which is more one-hit-wondery? which is most epic? which is most hateful? Which is greatest (not necessarily to say "good")? Which you listening to these songs do you prefer? What is the nature of fame? Who are you? What does pop music or taste even mean? (Any of these are questions that may guide your vote.)
  • vote: games are decided by a combination of two polls: 1> on the game page itself, assuming the game is still live, and 2> on the marchfadness twitter
  • the winner advances to the next game; repeat until we have a winner crowned on the last day of March
  • after-the-fact: as you may notice, the (sorta democratic...sound familiar?) outcome isn't the important part of this; the important (and fun) part is what listening to the songs does to you and what you think about them and about the listening; some matchups will be increasingly difficult as the tournament goes on. The harder the answer is, the more it potentially reveals about you. So this can be easily played after March ends over the course of a couple nights with your partner or spouse or one-night-stand or kids or parents or editor.
  • be in touch with us and let us know what you think


*you might also enjoy the March Sadness experience from 2016) 

Welcome to the 2017 March Fadness Tournament

Dear playas, The Official March Fadness Selection Committee hereby welcomes you to the 2017 tournament. We've seeded the 64 teams in the tournament proper over in the bracket, and we welcome your picks. Email us at or tweet @marchfadness with your bracket by 2/28. 

Selection for the tournament was based on songs by artists with one and only one US Billboard Top 40 hit. We excluded songs not really in the spirit of the thing (like Faith No More's "Epic," most cover versions, and songs by musicians in some of our other tournaments (like Concrete Blonde, who went pretty deep in last year's March Sadness tournament—who also aren't really in the spirit of the thing). Songs must have achieved their highest chart position Jan 1, 1990-Dec 31, 1999. 

However, these criteria excluded a number of obvious contenders, such as Sophie B Hawkins, Snow (had another "hit"), EMF, Fastball, Digital Underground, Gerardo, Stereo MCs, Edwin McCain, Tonic, Natalie Imbruglia ("Torn" only hit #41), and Billy Ray Cyrus (a crossover). The Committee deliberated long and hard about their inclusion (weighing also some other not-quites) and decided to let you, the voting public, our dear readers decide which of these should get to play in the tournament proper. Hence the play-in games, which begin on February 1st and will run for four days each in February to finalize our bracket.

Consult this space for periodic updates, final scores, analysis, as we go.

You can see by the schedule on the bracket that first round games will begin 3/1. Hit us up in the comments here or on the pages themselves with complaints, memories, thoughts, kudos, and whatever else. Let's do this. 

—The Committee