Super Bowl Battle of the Bands: New England vs Seattle
Whether it’s great advertising sync, the halftime performance – and whatever Katy Perry has up her Jeremy Scott-tailored sleeves – or just pre-game pump-up playlists, music is totally integral to the viewing experience. So we got a little competitive: we chose five artists from each region and checked how they measured up against each other in terms of social media popularity across Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and Last FM.
Though we promise the footballs are untouched, we have shifted the goalposts a little bit: given Seattle’s immediate advantage, we widened the Patriot catchment area a little bit beyond the Greater Boston area, to comprise all of New England and its considerable offerings. In terms of regional loyalties we also cast a wide net: if the artist or majority of members were born in the region, or if the band formed there, we were happy to include them.
New England’s Talent
Current ranking: 1524th
Current Facebook likes: 137,416
Edge: Sheer offbeat, inventive indie catchiness.
Current ranking: 1405th
Current Facebook likes: 1,397,779
Edge: Sunniness to light up the toughest pre-game warm-up.
Current Ranking: 1369th
Current Facebook likes: 2,520,489
Edge: Sheer ubiquity and foot-tapping playability, not to mention sync power: 1999’s Play became the first album to have every track licensed, and shot to number one from the US to Australia.
Current ranking: 1290th
Current Facebook likes: 4,294,073
Edge: a psychedelic twinge that might just confuse the competition.
New England’s MVP
Current ranking: 227th
Current Facebook likes: 16,571,661
Edge: A cornerstone of all-out, leather-trousered American rock. Plus they’ve appeared on Tom Brady’s own pre-game playlist at least once.
New England like total: 24,921,418
Current Ranking: 1476th
Current Facebook likes: 65,928
Edge: Uncompromising individualism. And damned if “Queen’ doesn’t make a hell of an entrance song, though somehow we don’t quite see it on the field.
Band of Horses
Current Ranking: 1220th
Current Facebook likes: 1,290,076
Edge: Calm-before-the-storm indie peace.
Current Ranking: 745th
Current Facebook likes: 3,814,585
Edge: If The Genius doesn’t get your toes tapping, it might be time to check for concussion.
Current Ranking: 208th
Current Facebook likes: 11,980,213
Edge: Head-banging teenage fun. Plus, the only band currently in the Billboard Hot 200, with not one but two placings (for their Sonic Highways soundtrack and Greatest Hits album).
Current Ranking: 205
Current Facebook likes: 29,601,599
Edge: You knew it, we knew it. There’s no standing in the way of sheer grunge power, still an omnipresent counterculture cornerstone even after becoming part of the cultural fabric itself. Plus there’s still those grimy riffs.
Seattle like total: 46,752,401
The final score: Seattle by a country mile, but New England put up a fair fight despite the battering. Want more music, and the occasional geographic surprise? Try our Superbowl Playlist below to hear further tunes from these artists and more. Listeners in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand can also try Pandora’s two Super Bowl radio stations, where the battle continues.