March Sadness 2014: No One Wins, Everyone Loses

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 31, 2014

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Sometimes, a few sad assholes ruin all the fun for everyone else. 

TeamPOZ worked long and hard on March Sadness 2014, and the vote-in through Forlorn 4 rounds were a true pleasure to run. The voting for the Final 2, a challenge between emo legends Saves The Day and revivalists The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, was neck-and-neck until Sunday evening.

Sometime around 5 p.m. EST, one or several assholes decided to run a script to auto-vote for Saves The Day, which was clear and deliberate. After backroom conferences, where everything was at stake, TeamPOZ decided it would be best to not reward Saves The Day due to voters cheating, but to also not crown The World Is as this year’s Kings Of Emo, due to a fair fight being thrown. 

There is no winner of March Sadness 2014.

We’ve used Google Forms over the past two years of voting so we can get around requiring voters to give us their email addresses and to strictly focus on the fun of the sad bracket, but it looks like we’ll have to reevaluate our methods for 2015. 

So long, emos. Until next year. 

Reminder: Final Day For March Sadness

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 30, 2014

Just a friendly reminder that today is the final day to cast your picks for the PropertyOfZack March Sadness 2014. The March Sadness champion will be crowned tomorrow and voting is going back and forth right now between Saves The Day and The World Is A Beautiful Place. Vote for one band in each seed below!

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In Defense Of March Sadness
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POZ March Sadness: Final 2 Announcement + Voting Begins

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 24, 2014

March Sadness 2014 has been immensely fun and full of upsets. The competition has been riveting, and now we’re down to the Final 2. 

The winner of The World Is A Beautiful Place v Saves The Day will be the March Sadness champion. Head below and join us in the final voting for March Sadness through Sunday evening, and the champion will be announced on Monday! 

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Reminder: Final Day For March Sadness Forlorn 4 Voting

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 23, 2014

Just a friendly reminder that today is the final day to cast your picks for the PropertyOfZack March Sadness Forlorn 4 round. Tomorrow, we’ll be kicking off the Final 2 round, so make sure you vote for the band’s you want to be included for the rest of the brackets! Vote for one band in each seed below!

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In Defense Of March Sadness

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 19, 2014

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If you pull back the curtain a la The Wizard of Oz on the TeamPOZ brain trust who dreamed up March Sadness just a year-and-some-change ago, you wouldn’t find a bunch of hand-wringing sociopaths smirking diabolically as they kick whatever money they can out of the dead horse that is emo’s genre conventions, capitalizing on the sadness of strangers. Instead, pay no attention to the fistful of music nerds behind the curtain; the ones with Stay What You Are wearing deep grooves into their iPods and raising a slightly-sarcastic toast to a genre that sculpted their musical leanings — and one hell of an eye-roller of a pun. But what a pun it is.

by Erik van Rheenen

March Sadness started with a silly play on words, riffing on the beloved NCAA basketball tournament, and a love for music that makes us feel, and honestly? Nothing but the bands in the brackets has changed. When TeamPOZ first schemed up the initial March Sadness bracket during a conference call back in February 2013, it’s tough to believe we managed to hold a reasonably productive conversation with our tongues so firmly planted against our cheeks. The bracket is taken seriously — planning sessions would stymy as the team tried to craft a just-right roster of competitive bands, much like Selection Sunday sans the national broadcast and Dick Vitale — but at the same time, not seriously at all. We crack jokes and poke fun at emo like a younger brother we love dearly, and as true older siblings of the genre, we don’t want to come off as maudlin and just outright say, “I love you.”

The goal of March Sadness was to applaud bands in our scene — upstarts and elder statesmen alike — who are daring and bold and brash and unafraid of wearing their sad-bastard hearts on their sleeves. March Sadness isn’t in the profiting-on-sad-fans business, because if we were, we’d be neck deep in debt and probably shutting down shop. Who listens to sad music to stay sad? If I spin American Football or Diary, I’m not listening to dive headfirst into the melancholy pool to swim laps there until the lifeguard kicks me out; I’m listening because those are the kinds of albums that get how I’m feeling when I’m down-and-out, and why I’m feeling that way. And then gently, like a patient chaperone at a party when everyone got a little too sad-drunk, guides me out of my misery and regain my guts through musical catharsis.

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POZ March Sadness: Forlorn 4 Announcement + Voting Begins

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 17, 2014

We are three weeks into March Sadness with incredible vote-in, Sad 16, and Emo 8 rounds. The Emo 8 was filled with upset alerts that included Brand New, Modern Baseball, and Weezer getting knocked out in the final hours of voting. The Forlorn 4 is going to get sad.

The 4 bands voted through the Emo 8 round of March Sadness are now pitted against each other in their 90’s/00’s and Reunion/Revival Emo brackets. Head below and join us in voting for a band in each emo bracket through Sunday evening, and the Final 2 will launch on Monday! 

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Reminder: Final Day For March Sadness Emo 8 Voting

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 16, 2014

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Just a friendly reminder that today is the final day to cast your picks for the PropertyOfZack March Sadness Emo 8 round. Tomorrow, we’ll be kicking off the Final 4 round, so make sure you vote for the band’s you want to be included for the rest of the brackets! Vote for one band in each seed below!

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March Sadness: Emo 8 Announcement + Voting Begins

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 10, 2014

We are two full weeks into March Sadness with excellent vote-in and Sad 16 rounds. Some Sad 16 match-ups were blowouts and some were close calls, which is all the more reason to be stoked for the start of the Emo 8.

The 8 bands voted through the Sad 16 round of March Sadness are now pitted against each other in their 90’s, 00’s, Reunion, and Revival emo brackets. Head below and join us in voting for a band in each emo bracket through Sunday evening, and the Forlorn 4 will launch on next Monday! 

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Reminder: Final Day For March Sadness Sad 16 Voting

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 9, 2014

Just a friendly reminder that today is the final day to cast your picks for the PropertyOfZack March Sadness Sad 16 round. Tomorrow, we’ll be kicking off the Emo 8 round, so make sure you vote for the band’s you want to be included for the rest of the brackets! Vote for one band in each seed below!

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POZ Playlist: March Sadness - Sad 16 Hits

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 8, 2014

It’s the  weekend again, so PropertyOfZack is back with a brand new Team Recommendations Playlist! This weekend’s Playlist is a little different though - it’s all about the bands in the Sad 16 voting round and their saddest hits. Listen to and read the Playlist and then vote to make sure your favorite bands push through to the Emo 8!

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Taking Back Sunday - Your Own Disaster

I remember very well sitting in the computer lab of my Upper East Side New York City school in what must have been 10th grade. I was surfing YouTube for anything Taking Back Sunday related I had never heard before, and I stumbled upon this. I’m not sure if I listened to anything else for a week. This is my second favorite Taking Back Sunday song. It has every piece of what makes the band great.  - Zack Zarrillo

Into It. Over It - Connecticut Steps

When I was a sophomore in college, someone very important to me passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She was only 26. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. A couple months later I discovered Into It. Over It. when Evan was opening for the Where’s The Band? Tour. He played a song called “Connecticut Steps,” but not without giving a little backstory first. The track hit me like a ton of bricks. I listened to it on repeat for weeks because in my sad, heartbroken state, I couldn’t find the words to explain everything I’d been feeling. “Connecticut Steps” provided those words. - Becky Kovach (@beckystrz)

Midtown - So Long As We Keep Our Bodies Numb We’re Safe

While this one sounds less like a dingy emo keynote and more like a toothy punk song, I’m deeming it as worthy for inclusion in this playlist for a couple of reasons. First because of the title - just read the damn thing and try not to internalize the hopeless notion that keeping numb through life is the only way to stay safe. The second reason is the outro, which weaves on, repetitive and plodding, for 10 solid minutes before it finally fades away. As the final song on the final release Midtown would ever put out, the band’s really dragging their feet quite a bit on this one, while carrying all of us weary yet dedicated listeners on along through. Wait, is this me describing the song or a metaphor about how we all felt for the last 10 years waiting for the reunion announcement? - Adrienne Ray Fisher (@adriennerayfish)

Mineral - Parking Lot

With lyrics like “I wouldn’t care if you took it all away today / I’m sure I wouldn’t even miss the pain,” “Parking Lot” deserves a spot on any Saddest Songs playlist. But if the vocals set the tone, it’s the guitar that does the heavy lifting. It isn’t “mopey” sad or “angry” sad or “resigned” sad — it’s “balled up naked on the floor in the fetal position sobbing like a baby” sad. The melodic line heaves in paroxysms; its tone quavers and tears at itself. It’s as emotionally heavy as a guitar has ever been, and when vocalist Chris Simpson finally finds his redemption at song’s close, the transition from such fraught sonics to bright, spiky runs just serves to crank the catharsis up to 11. - Jesse Richman (@jrichmanesq)

Saves The Day - At Your Funeral

I had a friend in high school who was so reckless at times that I thought this song would become a reality in one way or another. I’m thankful it didn’t, but this song still kills me every damn time. It takes me back to some of the worst days. I really could have picked any song from Stay What You Are, but none of them hurt quite like this one.  - Deanna Chapman (@deechapman21) 

Modern Baseball - Tears Over Beers

Modern Baseball is tearing up the Emo Revival scene. There are a few songs I could have picked as the saddest of the sad, but “Tears Over Beers” struck my melancholy chord in a different way. It made me feel sad for the girls (and guys) the song describes — a girl stuck on a “meat head” ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend and letting it consume her to the point where she defines herself by the ex-lover. “That girl who’s next to me / She don’t know her worth in this town / Because her face starts to shine when that meat head behind me / Is grinning as he’s checking her out.” As a society we tend to put too much emphasis on romantic relationships and personal appearance. The “importance” of both gets smashed into our heads so hard that we start to define ourselves by whether or not we’re with someone or if that cute guy over there smiles at us. Well, I say fuck that. It’s sad, not in the crying sense but in the pathetic sense. I’ve seen too many girls, including myself, get caught up in that wave of aspiring to be better for someone else, to change who we are just so someone will stay with us or like us or give us a job. Be intelligent and confident instead. Be you, unapologetically. It’s much more fulfilling. - Ali Killian (@ali_killian)

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POZ Discussion: March Sadness - The Sad 16 And Why They Matter

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 6, 2014

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The Sad 16 voting round is pushing strongly into the trenches of March Sadness fame. Sad voters of PropertyOfZack have a few more days to cast their ballot, so Editor-in-Chef Erik van Rheenen put together a discussion on The Sad 16 And Why Are They Matter for us to take a stroll down emo lane. Read the Discussion and then vote to make sure your favorite bands push through to the Emo 8!

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90’s Emo 1v4: American Football vs Jets To Brazil

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American Football
Why they matter: With a nod to Joan of Arc and a respectful tip of the sailor cap to Cap’n Jazz, American Football was the short-lived project that set Mike Kinsella’s trajectory as an emo patriarch for nearly 20 years. Without American Football’s seminal album and not-quite-as-seminal-but-still-darn-good EP, there’d be no soft-spun crooning of Owen, no indie leanings of Owls, and no Their/They’re/There, a band that concerns itself almost as much with proper grammar as it does with mathy guitar riffs. Not a bad legacy.

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Jets to Brazil
Why they matter: Jets gave punk rock elder statesman Blake Schwarzenbach an outlet for venting his frustrations and woes that didn’t rely on the punkish leanings of Jawbreaker. While Jawbreaker is defensibly just as pivotal to emo-at-large as Jets to Brazil, Schwarzenbach’s departure (airport pun not really intended, but heck, I’ll still accept credit for this one) for a more indie-rock slanted sound gave emo a chance to take a deep breath and stop sounding so dang angry all the time.

90’s Emo 2v3: American Football vs Jets To Brazil

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Weezer
Why they matter: While most will point to Pinkerton as the essential emo album in the Weezer discog, I’ll change tack and say The Blue Album probably did more for Weezer and the sound of emo than its younger brother did. The Blue Album proved that slaphappy nerd rock (“Buddy Holly”) and sad-bastard grievance-airings (“Say It Ain’t So”) could coexist on a single record, and that bands could bounce between the two touchstones without sacrificing one end of the emotional spectrum.

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Mineral
Why they matter: If Sunny Day Real Estate (more on them later, obviously) laid the groundwork for how emo was supposed to sound in the mid-1990s, then Mineral stood at the forefront of a myriad of second-wavers perfecting the formula to a T. Much of the Mineral sound — hazy instrumental bridges, rough-edged vocals that skirt around the right key, and dynamically jumping from soft to loud — has survived the ‘90s (a decade that wasn’t altogether kind to its emo mainstays) and well into the twenty-tens.

00’s Emo 1v4: Brand New vs Dashboard Confessional

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Brand New
Why they matter: Only an enormous voting campaign from upstart Dads kept Jesse Lacey and Co. off the throne last year. Deja Entendu was the album that made a whole lot of pop-punk fanboys realize just how transcendent Brand New’s emo/pop-punk hybridity could get, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me defies genre in its frenetic shifts in pace and tone, and, well, who knows exactly what Daisy is, but it’s loud, blisteringly raw, and altogether awesome.

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What The Hell Is A “Revival?”

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 4, 2014

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March Sadness 2014 has started with a bang. To accompany this year’s tournament of sadness, PropertyOfZack will be running several Perspective pieces to highlight Emo in all its glory. Enjoy What The Hell Is A “Revival?” below!

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March Sadness 2014

by Jesse Richman, edited by Erik van Rheenen

It’s funny how much can change in a year. When we launched March Sadness last winter, we called our bracket of newly-prominent bands “Modern Day Emo.” Dads, Balance & Composure, Into It. Over It., and The World Is A Beautiful Place did battle, and Dads accomplished the near-unthinkable, marching through a gauntlet to edge out not just their cohorts, but even the mighty Brand New for the championship to be crowned Kings Of Emo.

This year though, it was readily apparent from the get-go that “Modern Day Emo,” as a name, was out. For March Sadness 2014, no title but “Revival” would do.

Yep, I said it. Revival. Emo Revival. #emorevival. Each time I type that, it pisses you off just a little bit more, doesn’t it?

Why is that, though? What about the concept of a revival so aggrieves you that you bristle at the very name, even though its existence is undeniable?

Yes, undeniable. Take, for example, the poster boy for the emo revival (and I can almost see him wincing in my mind as I type that — apologies, but it is what it is), one Evan Thomas Weiss. Evan is out there crushing it right now! Intersections, his Triple Crown-released second proper full length as Into It. Over It., has garnered praise everywhere from Alternative Press to Pitchfork for its smart lyrics and intricate craftsmanship. He headlined sold-out shows at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom and Philly’s Union Transfer this past week. Sold out! He’s undeniably one of the leading lights of the emo revival.

“But! But! But!”

I hear you, Mr. Aggrieved Fan.* Go ahead, have your say.

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March Sadness: Sad 16 Announcement + Voting Begins

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 3, 2014

Just like last year, we were incredibly surprised by the overall response at the announcement and vote-in round for March Sadness from both our viewers and bands participating in the competition, so we are certainly ready to launch the Sad 16 bracket round.

The 16 bands voted into March Sadness are now pitted against each other in their 90’s, 00’s, Reunion, and Revival brackets. Head below and join us in voting for a band in each emo bracket through Sunday evening, and the Emo 8 will launch on Monday! 

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Reminder: Final Day For March Sadness Vote-In Round

by Zack Zarrillo - Mar 2, 2014

Just a friendly reminder that today is the final day to cast your picks for the PropertyOfZack March Sadness vote-in round. Tomorrow, we’ll be kicking off the Sad 16 round, so make sure you vote for the band’s you want to be included for the rest of the brackets! Vote for four out of five of  the bands in each bracket below!

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POZ Roundtable: March Sadness - Why We Picked These Bands

POZ March Sadness: Announcement + Vote-In Round 

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POZ Roundtable: March Sadness - Why We Picked These Bands And Why You Should Vote For Them

by Zack Zarrillo - Feb 28, 2014

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It’s the second year of March Sadness, and we finally have an answer to “What the heck is that band doing in the bracket?” POZ team members Zack Zarrillo, Erik van Rheenen, Adrienne Fisher, and Jesse Richman teamed up with Tom Mullen of Washed Up Emo fame for an impromptu roundtable session to decide which bands should make the cut for this year’s tournament. Agree? Disagree? Read our reasonings and let us know and then vote to make sure your favorite bands push through to the Sad 16!

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