The Best Music Recommender in the World (I, The album I love that nobody else does is…)

I know that the categories of the last two weeks have been difficult for some of you, but if you want to be crowned The Best Music Recommender in the World you have to be willing to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous requests for albums, or something, yeah? We’ll go back to the alphabet next week, I promise, and we’ll stick with it until Q (which may require some finessing).

Today’s category (The album I love that nobody else does is…) has proved to be the most controversial yet (though twenty one of you managed to come up with something, despite your protests). There seem to be two main ways you have approached the question. You have either gone for something good but obscure and/or forgotten or, you have travelled my preferred route, nominating something that has become (unfortunately imo) to be known as a ‘guilty pleasure’.

My dream was to inspire some passion. In my head, I picture someone in a pub at about five minutes after last orders. The jukebox starts playing Scatman’s World by Scatman John, a song specifically put there to aid the bar staff in their attempts to clear the room. A murmured chorus starts to express discontent – what is this shit? – but a lone voice has started to lecture their friends…

“No. No. You aren’t listening to it. You aren’t listening to it. When The Scatman says welcome to Scatman’s world he isn’t just offering you a pleasant time in his homeland, he is also saying that you are welcome to it, as in, you can have it, he doesn’t want it any more, he’s had enough of it, he’s done. Scatman has grown weary of the world he has created He has become a prisoner in his own musical oubliette. He is trapped, lost… Don’t you see? It’s a metaphor for the way we all…”

There is deep pleasure to be found in loving something nobody else does. I still remember exactly where I was when I bought Today’s The Day by Sean Maguire on cassingle. The Merry Hill Centre branch of HMV. Three members of staff laughed at me for buying it. I had never felt so alive.

For those of you too young or cool to remember, here he is performing it on GMTV. It is notable for being the first time somebody tried to do an impression of Liam Gallagher and Damon Albarn at the same time.

And you know what? Today’s The Day by Sean Maguire is still an absolute banger. History proved me right. Or it will, eventually. Whatever.

So, in a nutshell, if I like the album you recommended today you are almost certainly in the crap, points wise. I didn’t want your expertise, I wanted your vulnerabilities. I wanted you to put your heart on your sleeve and say, “I don’t care what you think of me. I love this album.” True strength comes from accepting your weaknesses.

But enough cod-psychology. Let’s do some judging and that…

  • 1 point goes to Picky Bastards…

    …who nominated Get Rich or Die Trying by 50 Cent with the proviso that while they loved it when it came out they “wouldn’t say I love it now”. I mean, look, I know you struggled with this category but while the ‘nobody else’ part of ‘The album I love that nobody else does’ is obviously up for debate the ‘I love’ really isn’t. If you don’t love it, why should I listen to it, eh? I’m not angry, Picky Bastards, but I am disappointed.

  • 2 points go to Dan Carpenter and Mark Powell…

    …who nominated albums (One From the Heart by Tom Waits and The Fitzgerald by Richmond Fontaine) that each received two ‘likes’ on Twitter (not including mine). There seems little point in arguing your choices are universally hated when they get two likes on Twitter. Two likes! Who gets two likes for a tweet? Like maybe Taylor Swift or Matt Baker or someone, but normal people like you or me? Forget it. You may as well have nominated The Beatles, lads.

  • 4 points go to Em, Dan, Mat Pringle, and Sleepy…

    …who nominated albums (Birthplace by Novo Amor, Elizium by Fields of the Nephilim, The Milk of Human Kindness by Caribou, and Saturation by Urge Overkill) that seemed, almost too good, or too well reviewed, or failed to meet my exacting standards for this category in some other way that probably feels unfair but, you know, shrugging emoji, guys, shrugging emoji.

  • 8 points go to Adrian Slatcher…

    …for nominating High Priority by Cherelle, which also didn’t meet those exacting standards I mentioned a second ago, but is (without wanting to upset anyone) just that little bit classier.

  • 9 points go to Slugger…

    …who nominated Black Letter Days by Frank Black which, like all Frank Black solo albums, is a solid six-and-a-half-out-of-ten listening experience from beginning to end. There is a bravery in admitting you like Frank Black solo albums, but on a scale from ‘rescuing a cat from a small tree’ to ‘parachuting into a burning hospital to rescue somebody with a highly contagious disease while simultaneously coming out to your fundamentalist Christian nan over speakerphone’ it is far closer to the cat rescuing side of things.

  • 10 points go to George Sandison…

    …who nominated Live From Edinburgh: The Terrorism of Everyday Life by Hamell on trial, which would have found itself among the four points albums if it wasn’t a live album. Everyone hates live albums. Live albums suck.

  • 11 points go to Donna Morris…

    …who nominated We Are The Pipettes by The Pipettes, which is an album that got decent enough reviews at the time but whose reputation has faded a little over time on account of it being (sorry in advance) not very good.

  • 12 points go to William Mallin…

    …who nominated Kiss by Carly Rae Jepson, which, let’s be honest, could never be described as an album that ‘nobody’ likes, but it is so criminally underrated (I mean, really, name ten songs written this century that are better than Call Me Maybe) that it sort of qualifies. It is also worth not underestimating how glad I was to hear this album after some of the crap some of you put me through this week.

  • 13 points go to Mallen 181…

    …who nominated 93PUNX by 93PUNX and Vic Mensa which, I hate to admit, I may be too old to judge the quality of and not internet savvy enough to work out how many of its negative reviews stem from angry reactions to things Vic Mensa said about XXXTentacion at the BET Hip Hop Awards. I figured if I put it in the middle of the list, nobody would notice my failings.

  • 14 points go to Graham Cox…

    …who nominated Stacked Up by Senser. Now… Senser really are a ‘you had to be there’ band and, interestingly, I was there. Specifically, I was at the Aston Villa Leisure Centre on Sunday the 13th of March, 1994, where they (along with Ultramarine and Fun-Da-Mental) supported Pop Will Eat Itself. Live, that night, in that era, to that crowd, they were a little bit special. Now, over a quarter of a century later, (Christ, I’m old) on record, the sparkle has mostly gone. This is exactly the sort of academically unsupportable choice I was hoping for. Good choosing.

  • 15 points go to Nick Rayney…

    …for nominating Twenty Twenty Sound by Dark Star, a nicely moody album with glimpses of genius but also, and I shit you not, a song with the line, “Jesus was my age when he got nailed.” Incredible scenes etc.

  • 16 points go to Aimee Parsons…

    …who played an absolute blinder by nominating an album by a band that haven’t established themselves yet and are thus technically not popular. You’ve got to admit it, that’s a smart move. Red Rum Club are so fresh and new that they don’t even have a Wikipedia page yet. Their Facebook page only has 6600 ‘likes’. They are also pretty good (their album, Matador, sounded – to me – like a slightly poppier Jack, if you remember them) so that could very well change in time.

  • 17 points go to David Coates…

    …who nominated Nuisance by Menswear, which is one of those albums that became a bit of a punchline, perhaps a tad unfairly. Looking back now, their biggest crime was not taking themselves too seriously. It’s undoubtedly a patchy album, the best track of which is the one hidden after fourteen minutes of silence at the end of the CD. Yeah, I said CD. Yeah, I own this album. Wanna make something of it?

  • 18 points go to Desmond…

    …who nominated the sporadically brilliant but mostly unquestionably bad We Didn’t Say That by Daphne & Celeste. Anyone who claims to love the full thirty seven minutes of this deserves eighteen points.

  • 19 points go to jummo70…

    …who nominated another album with only one good song, Drink Me by Salad. Genuinely one of the worst bands I ever saw live, and I saw Del Amitri at a Radio One Roadshow.

  • 20 points go to Fat Roland…

    …who nominated Sulk by Molly Half Head, which I had to listen to a song at a time on YouTube because there has never arisen a need for it to exist in full online. A quick check on Discogs shows that it is available for £1.95 and that nobody has bought a copy since the 2nd of April, 2018, which is Keynesian economics in action if ever I saw it. It goes without saying that it is fucking ghastly.

  • 21 points go to Neal…

    …who nominated the original fan-club-only release of Fishing for Luckies by The Wildhearts, which I listened to for the first time today. The awfulness of it will haunt me forever.