New England vs. Seattle: Who Will Win the Super Bowl (of Music)?

Determine who will win Super Bowl XLIX by voting for which team has the best music.

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Jan 30 2015, 4:20pm

On Sunday night, the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots will, at long last, square off in Super Bowl XLIX. After two weeks of incessant speculation and piping hot takes about the sanctity of good sportsmanship vis-á-vis the inflation levels of footballs and the relative brusqueness of media-shy running backs, we'll finally have our answer as to which team is the year's best and, more importantly, which group of fans will have their existence validated by the exploits of a group of performers they've been randomly assigned allegiance to by an accident of geography or parental guidance.

Sports aren't the only measuring stick by which the residents of a specific area extract a sense of unearned pride, of course. Aside from the fervor of their respective sports fans, Seattle and New England are both known for their storied music scenes. This being a music website, we thought it might be appropriate then to take a look through the musical past and present to figure out which area can boast the winning musical lineup, because if there's anything nerds in both Seattle and the Boston area like to talk about as much as their athletic heroes, it's how a famous band played in a club they live near one time.

UPDATE: As we are not far from game time, we have tallied up the scores and have found Seattle's music scene to be superior. Therefore, the Seattle Seahawks will win the Super Bowl. That's some real sciencey, Nate Silver shit right there.

Nirvana vs. Pixies

It would be hard to find a band more closely associated with their hometown, and the scene that flourished around them, than Nirvana, whose dour, power-chord bum outs have become synonymous with the overcast piss-drenched city that birthed them. And while they certainly experienced the biggest cultural impact, and biggest sales, of the two here, it's hard to overlook the fact that, as Kurt Cobain admitted many times, Nirvana would not exist if it weren't for the influence of Massachusetts' favorite alt-rock sons and daughters. On the other hand, in sports and music there's nothing sadder than watching a player push on well past their prime, the infirmities of age wreaking havoc, as we've seen with the latter, unnecessary Pixies album from the linebacker-sized Black Francis. Either way, this one is almost impossible to decide on, so while they are rare in football, we're going to call it a tie.

Spread: Nirvana, -1 high school talent show covers of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Nirvana vs. Pixies

Nirvana

Pixies

Poll Maker

Jimi Hendrix vs. Aerosmith

Aside from their respective places in the classic rock canon, both these acts have in common the fact that they're fronted by scarf-draped skeletons. As much as it pains me to say it, being the ridiculously biased Massachusetts homer that I am, for as many great moments Aerosmith have given us over the years, Jimi Hendrix has recorded roughly 500 fewer cookie-cutter movie tie-in power ballads.

Spread: Hendrix, +3 American Idol co-hosts he never lived to deal with

Jimi Hendrix vs. Aerosmith

Jimi Hendrix

Aerosmith

Poll Maker

Death Cab for Cutie vs. Amanda Palmer

Both acts here have the proud distinction of being obsessed over by the most annoying person in your social group for years of churning out precious, self-indulgent sophomore-core. I happen to like much of Palmer's work, especially the first Dresden Dolls album, but nothing of hers comes close to the crying-in-line-for-the-Starbucks-shitter perfection of We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes. Edge: DCFC.

Spread: Death Cab, +2 warm winter scarves

Death Cab for Cutie vs. Amanda Palmer

Death Cab for Cutie

Amanda Palmer

Poll Maker

Foo Fighters vs. Dropkick Murphys

Both of these win the Most Likely to Actually Be Played at a Sporting Event contest of the bunch, which means they hit that sweet spot of popular but still “manly” enough to make dudes in hockey sweaters get teary-eyed. But, at the end of the day, Foo Fighters were arguably better than Nirvana all things considered, so this one isn't really even close.

Spread: Foo Fighters, +12 drunk dudes in a Boston bar with Papelbon jerseys

Foo Fighters vs. Dropkick Murphys

Foo Fighters

Dropkick Murphys

Poll Maker

Macklemore vs. Gang Starr

To be fair, I probably should've matched Macklemore, a.k.a. the world's number one Seahawk fan Make a Wish Foundation winner, up against New Kids on the Block, or Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, but being that I'm a Patriots fan, I'm willing to bend the rules and do whatever it takes to get a competitive advantage. While your man Ben Haggerty may have the bigger hits, good luck competing with the scope of influence, and indelible, ground-breaking hip-hop of Gang Starr.

Spread: Gang Starr, +100 Mackles

Macklemore vs. Gang Starr

Macklemore

Gang Starr

quiz tool

Alice In Chains vs. Staind

Sort of the reverse of Nirvana/Pixies model here, since Staind, Massachusetts' dip-stained soul patch of pain were originally an Alice In Chains rip off. And while this one might seem obvious on its face—Dirt is about as impeccable a relic of the grunge-metal era ever written—it's not that lopsided. If you can't squeeze out some feels to “It's Been a While” on the squat rack, then you must've had a lot more supportive a relationship with your father than anyone I know.

Spread: Staind, + how much do you bench, bro?

Alice in Chains vs. Staind

Alice in Chains

Staind

online poll

Soundgarden vs. Dinosaur Jr.

Both are the epitome of guitar-squelching, flannel-clad, dad rock, but only one of them has the distinction of being the single most influential band on this current generation of 90s-gaze cool kids. Seriously, when was the last time you heard a newish rock band that wasn't directly ripping off J Mascis' playing style?

Spread: Dinosaur Jr., +420 you-know-whats

Soundgarden vs. Dinosaur Jr.

Soundgarden

Dinosaur Jr.

online poll creator

Minus the Bear vs. Piebald

The vibrant, mathy, intricate guitar textures of Minus the Bear are the headier of the two, but if you've ever had the pleasure of screaming along to Piebald's “American Hearts” in a sweaty Cambridge club, you'd realize why this one is no contest.

Spread: Piebald, +10 bucks a pop. And he says to me, "Hey! You're part of it!"

Minus the Bear vs. Piebald

Minus the Bear

Piebald

online poll

Kenny G vs. James Taylor

Shit.

Spread: This.

Kenny G vs. James Taylor

Kenny G

James Taylor

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Sunny Day Real Estate vs. Morphine

While Morphine were the swaggering, boozy and bluesy noir-icons of certain segment of 90s urban culture, SDRE laid the blueprint for a couple decades of emotion-addled guitar-nerds with their second-wave emo grunge that still sounds fresh today.

Spread: Sunny Day, +3,500 bands who got more popular by ripping off their sound

Sunny Day Real Estate vs. Morphine

Sunny Day Real Estate

Morphine

Poll Maker

Bikini Kill vs. Helium

Kathleen Hanna and company may have made the bigger splash culturally speaking and launched a generational movement, but let's be honest, whose music do you still want to put on today?

Spread: Bikini Kill, -7 patriarchies

Bikini Kill vs. Helium

Bikini Kill

Helium

poll creator

Overtime

We could go back and forth like this forever, as both areas really do have an almost unfair allotment of great bands, but in the interest of brevity, and knowing the attention span of the typical Noisey reader, that should be enough to settle things for now. A couple more match-ups to debate in the comments: Pearl Jam vs. Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Band of Horses vs. Dispatch, Sir Mix-a-Lot vs. New Edition, The Sonics vs. The Modern Lovers, Sunn O))) vs. Godsmack, The Blood Brothers vs. Converge, Damien Jurado vs. The Lemonheads, The Head and the Heart vs. Guster, Fleet Foxes vs. Passion Pit, Bing Crosby vs. Donna Summer, Mudhoney vs. Boston, Heart vs. Juliana Hatfield.

Luke O'Neil is a writer in Boston, a city which celebrates Godsmack Day. He hopes the Pats win. Kinda. Follow him on Twitter - @lukeoneil47

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