Fancy Boys Club March Music Madness 2023

The idea started, as all great ideas do, while listening to Saliva.

I was driving down an Arizona highway about a couple weeks ago when Click, Click, Boom by Saliva came on a local radio station. My wife, horrified by the song, told me to turn it off. I said I couldn’t turn it off, because the truth is, I goddamn love Saliva. Or, at least, I did love Saliva. It is one of those bands that everyone has in their life. You forget they exist. Then you randomly hear their song and it takes you back to a time in your life that the song was a soundtrack for.

We then got to talking about the most transformative times in our lives for music. The music that left an indelible mark on us. What was the era that helped form our musical taste, social standing, and style? As we sit in our mid 30’s, closer to the grave than we care to see fit, we look back more wistfully on the times when life didn’t feel like it was crushing us into sand. When the possibilities of the future were endless, and not filled with veterinarian bills and increasingly hostile emails from Blue Apron in your inbox.

We landed on our Freshman and Sophmore years of High School as the eras when music defined who we were the most. When the music truly felt like it was written about us. For me, that was the era of music between 1998-2000.

And wouldn’t you know it, Saliva’s seminal, Taylor Swift-esque masterpiece “Every Six Seconds” came out in 2001. Screw this entire thing. Time to think about sometehing else.

Instead of thinking about something else, though, I texted noted music lover and Paddington Bear truther Matt Drufke with an idea. Since it was March, and it had been a few years and a global pandemic since we had done a March Madness style bracket, why not do a 64 song bracket, with myself, him, and two other people picking their 16 favorite songs from their freshman and sophmore years of high school and let people vote on the best one.

The methodology was simple. Pick 16 songs from that time frame that were either massive personal bangers, or were such a part of the zeitgeist of the time that they simply could not be ignored. Matt quickly recruited fellow Fancy Boys Michael Grace and Jake (I refuse to call him Drummond) Breuing. Each person went through their early years of high school in different eras, which worked out perfectly. Matt would be covering 1993-1995. I’d have 1998-2000. Michael is 2001-2003. Jake is 2006-2008.

Due to some gaps in time frames, i’d like to apologize to the fans of the following artists, whose landmark albums fell into these gaps: Kanye West. Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

End of list.

With that in mind, starting tomorrow, Tuesday March 14th, we will be posting each person’s bracket, along with the ability to vote for each one across multiple hellscapes that make up social media. We will compile the votes from our site, Facebook, zombie Twitter, and the last 3 people still trying to make Mastodon a thing, and determine a winner.

Keep checking back every day, as we will be adding everyone’s bracket, then widdling them down one at a time until we determine the most transformative, getting a kiss from Freddie Prinze Jr in the climactic scene, greatest song of all time. First round brackets will be posted as follows:

Matt’s Bracket: Tuesday, March 14
Brandon’s Bracket: Wednesday, March 15
Michael’s Bracket: Thursday, March 16
Jake’s Bracket: Friday, March 17

The second round will start on Monday, March 20th.

Now, you must be asking, brows furrows with pre-disagreement for every song that is going to end up on the list, how we came up with our lists. Well, I’m not going to try to get into the minds of those wacky fellas that are also participating, so i’m going to show you how I came up with my list by doing the only thing I know how: Power Rankings.

I ended up with a list of 50 songs from my era that I thought were deserving of the list. Some of these are probably top 16 songs, but I self-regulated by only putting an artist into the top 16 once. So apologies to Eminem, Kid Rock, The Offspring, Kid Rock again, Korn, Limp Bizkit, and oh god, why didn’t I just do 16 Kid Rock songs!!!

Anyway, here is my 1998-2000 Power Rankings from 50-17, with my top 16 dropping on Wednesday.

50: Yeah, Yeah Yeah-Uncle Kracker

Kracker ruled. Everyone that says otherwise can get bent.

49: All Star-Smash Mouth

True story: a buddy of mine paid off the DJ to make sure this was the last song played at my wedding. I got married 17 years after this song came out. Thats how long it’s been popular.

48: 99 Red Balloons-Goldfinger

Looking back, this song kind of blows. But back in high school, I loved it.

47: Look What Happened-Less Than Jake

This is my obligatory “I had a ska” phase in high school song. And actually, this song is still pretty great.

46: Rock The Party-P.O.D.

Need to show love to POD. They were such a big part of my high school, but the part of high school that sucked less.

45: Save Tonight-Eagle Eye Cherry

We will all fight the break of down, Mr. Cherry.

44: Bittersweet Symphony-The Verve

I’ve actually grown to kind of hate this song as i’ve gotten older. The Rolling Stones were right to sue them into oblivion.

43: Fuel-Metallica

I put this song to avoid the weirdness of putting a song from their goofy symphony album.

42: With Arms Wide Open-Creed

Didn’t Make the top 16 because a different one did, Part 1.

41: Why Don’t You Get a Job-The Offspring

Didn’t make the top 16 because a different one did Part 2.

40: Nookie-Limp Bizkit

Didn’t make the top 16 because a different one did Part 3.

39: All The Small Things-Blink 182

Didn’t make the top 16 because a different one did Part 4!!

38: Battleflag-Low Fidelity All Stars

There was a point, I think during my sophomore year, where I was chasing around this one girl I liked and got real anti-government and whatnot. This song was the soundtrack to that. I miss having ideals.

37: Closing Time-Semisonic

This song went from good, then to cheesy, but now I think it’s back to good.

36: Freak on a Leash-Korn

Didn’t make the top 16 because a different one did Part 5!!!

35: The Bad Touch-Bloodhound Gang

It’s insane to think that it takes 12 people to write Beyonce and Taylor Swift songs, but it only took the mind of Jimmy Pop to write this masterpiece.

34: Ana’s Song-Silverchair

Criminally underrated song by a criminally underrated band off a criminally underrated album.

33: I Don’t Like the Drugs-Marilyn Manson

The only Manson song I like. It’s got a funky little beat to it. This song does not get enough Marilyn Manson love. But then again, Manson is a huge bastard, so maybe he shouldn’t get any love.

32: Little Black Backpack-Stroke 9

Remember when you could go on Q101 to hear new bands and different genres, rather than the new Imagine Dragons song on repeat 24 hours per day? God I miss that.

31: Ole-Bouncing Souls

More than two decades on, this song is still as hype as when I heard it the first time.

30: Tubthumping-Chumbawumba

If you never did a whiskey drink, vodka drink, lager drink, and cider drink, then immediately pass out vomiting in a bathroom, did you even high school?

29: When Worlds Collide-Powerman 5000

It was a toss up between them and Orgy to make the list. I just couldn’t have them both. Otherwise I would have had to get rid of…

28: One Week-Barenaked Ladies

You still listen to this song on the radio when it comes on. Admit it.

27: Southside-Moby ft. Gwen Stefani

So I don’t necessarily love this song but mid to late 90’s Gwen Stefani was a massive celebrity crush for me, so she had to make the list.

26: Come With Me-Puff Daddy ft. Jimmy Page

This one is for you Matt! This one if for you.

25: How’s It Going To Be-Third Eye Blind

Not as drug fueled and poppy as Semi Charmed Life, but for a sad, brooding 14 year old, this song hit.

24: Space Lord-Monster Magnet

I loved this song when it came out. I love this song now. I’m gonna love this song forever.

23: Lit Up-Buckcherry

Say what you will about Buckcherry, but they were the last band clinging to the 80’s hair metal ethos that were putting out hits. Now every new rock sog is just Five Finger Death Punch covering another song.

22: Scar Tissue-Red Hot Chili Peppers

I claim I hate RHCP. But I love a lot of their songs. Maybe I just hate the band members. Separate the art from the artists. Or something.

21: What It’s Like-Everlast

This one was very hard to keep out of my top 16. I think that literally everyone liked this song in high school.

20: Last Resort-Papa Roach

All you have to hear is “cut my life into pieces” and you will audibly scream “this is my last resort” every time.

19: Kryptonite-Three Doors Down

I’m not sure I can properly describe how big this song actually was to someone who wasn’t around when it got big. It was the soundtrack to everything for about six months.

18: In the End-Linkin Park

I put a different Linkin Park song on the list, but who cares. As they say, in the end it doesn’t even matter.

17: Only God Knows Why-Kid Rock

Absolutely heartbroken to not put this song on the top 16.

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