R has some big hitters, doesn’t it? Even with nobody recommending The Rolling Stones, Diana Ross, Rakim, Roxy Music, Rapsody, Run the Jewels, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, Rza, Rae Morris, Rufus, Caroline Rose, The Roots or a couple of hundred other big cheeses of music we still have quite the competitive week. And on that note, please don’t be upset if you get ten less points than you think you deserve. The margins were so tight on this one that things like my mood and the weather ended up having more affect than they might, or should. Sorry about that. Blame the letter R? Blame yourselves for all your excellent choices? Blame me? I dunno.
Oh, yeah, before we get to the points. Is anyone familiar with the Rough Island Band? Their album, On All Sides was recommended by (first time recommender) James Beck (hello). However many weeks we are into this competition, I didn’t think I could be flummoxed by anything any more but spoon me I didn’t know what to make of that album. I can only find positive reviews of it online so, objectively speaking, it is a good album, but I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. The closest I could get to approaching it critically was imagining it was the sound that dead seagulls might make if they were haunting a small dog and, frankly, I don’t have the mental capacity to place that on a list of albums that were created by live humans for other humans. I therefore declare it exempt from categorisation and award it five arbitrary points.
And, in another potentially sticky judging decision situation type thing, Dave Hartley only went and recommended his brother. He asked and I said it was fine, and under normal circumstances it would be fine. Recommend your siblings, parents and children to the maximum. Go for it. But, you see, I know his brother, don’t I? I like him and I like his music and actually, I feel a bit uncomfortable ranking him. You don’t rank your mates. That’s just weird. If a mate plays you their song, and you like it, and then they ask you if you like it, you don’t say, “I prefer Kate Bush but…” do you? That would be super rude. So, to avoid putting Anima by Rickely in a pantheon or what have you, I’m just going to give Dave twenty points. Hope that’s ok. Any other option just made me feel socially awkward.
George Sandison recommended Shleep by Robert Wyatt…
…and while it probably wasn’t the worst album I listened to this year it did feature the worst song I have ever heard in my life. The Duchess is an outstandingly bad song. A horrible play on a nursery rhyme, littered with muso tinklings and lyrics that make you want to punch walls (Oh my wife is tall and short / she won’t do what she aught). Terrifying. One point.
Dan Edmonds recommended Exposure by Robert Fripp…
…an album that Wikipedia informed me was his exploration of the possibilities of what a pop song can do. But do you know what? I suspect that Robert Fripp doesn’t actually like pop songs. He’s no Taylor Swift, put it that way. Two points.
Desmond recommended R.O.C by R.O.C…
…yeah… quite experimental this one… I didn’t take to it. Soz. Three points.
Cheryl Sonnier recommended Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats…
…the first track of which I loved but then one of the songs reminded me of Paolo Nutini and, unfortunately, once you’ve heard it you can’t unhear it… so… only four points.
Hannah Hunt recommended Disorganised Fun by Ronald Jenkees…
…an album that seems to be made up of sound effects from old computer games. In theory, this should have been right up my street, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t exactly say why. Five points.
Mat Pringle recommended Love Is Overtaking Me by Arthur Russell…
…another album that started with a song I loved then drifted off a bit. Too many songs on this compilation felt half-finished (which, with it being a posthumous collection is somewhat inevitable, I guess, but still true). A, possibly unfair, six points.
OK, right, I’m going to bunch some albums together now, which I know nobody likes but it feels right to me… so… tough, yeah?
The following six albums all score eleven points because I suspect I would have liked them a lot more if I had been able to give them more than one listen, which I couldn’t, because I had to listen to thirty two albums this week.
- Rose Elinor Dougall – Without Why – recommended by Plashing Vole
- Rhiannon Giddens – Freedom Highway – recommended by Neal
- The Replacements – Let It Be – recommended by Slugger
- Rainer Maria – S/T – recommended by Sleepy
- Rozi Plain – What a Boost – recommended by Dan Powell
- Róisín Murphy – Take Her Up to Monto
Em recommended The Pleasant Trees by Tom Rosenthal…
…but I wasn’t sure if she meant the first volume of The Pleasant Trees or the compilation of all three volumes and then I forgot to ask. Anyway, if she meant all three volumes it would have placed here because I thought the third volume lacked something but I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she meant just the first volume so we’ll get back to this with the points later…
Graham Cox recommended the Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson…
…which are obviously brilliant but it felt too safe a choice, recommending-wise. Is that fair? No. No it isn’t. So I am going to add five bonus points to the thirteen points to make eighteen points and hope everyone is ok with that, though I suspect almost nobody will be.
Tom. recommended Junior by Röyksopp…
…who, I’ll confess, I had forgotten existed. So much so that I read Röyksopp as Sigur Rós for some reason and thought, oh Jebus, not those guys (hot tip, nobody recommend Sigur Rós next week, please) and was so pleased by the surprise of getting post-disco fun instead of distorted whale song that I immediately, some might say unfairly, awarded ten bonus points to the fourteen the album got to make twenty four points in total.
Geisterhaus recommended Peasant by Richard Dawson…
…which is a really interesting album, all jarring and lovely at the same time. I award it fifteen points. I nearly gave it more. As I said, there is little to split these albums at the top. I didn’t though. Probably shouldn’t have even mentioned it. I have now though. I suppose I could delete it. If I get time to edit this post I could come back to this bit and make a decision then. CHANGE THIS LATER? MAYBE?
Em (probably) recommended the first volume of The Pleasant Trees by Tom Rosenthal…
…which was lucky because the third part of the collected version lacks a certain something in my mind. Anyway, great stuff. He isn’t quite the lyricist his daughter is but he writes good songs. Sixteen points.
Rebecca Holland recommended Kid A by Radiohead…
…which gets seventeen points because it is a really important record in the history of music, marking the moment when Radiohead started to not suck. Ha Ha Ha. Only joking, OK Computer fans. But really though, the first three albums are rubbish. Only joking. Or am I? No, I am actually just joking. Or am I? Who knows? Who can say?
Donna Morris recommended 50 by Rick Astley…
…and now you are wondering, does he think 50 by Rick Astley is better than Kid A or is he really trolling us now? I mean, he’s giving it eighteen points, that seems madness, doesn’t it? Well, doesn’t it?
Can’t help you mate.
Graeme recommended Nowhere by Ride…
…which soars at times, doesn’t it. Particularly on Kaleidoscope which, interestingly, is a word I have never learnt to spell. Nineteen points.
William Mallin recommended Disco Jazz by Rupa…
…which is worth reading about as well as listening too. Imagine finding out your mom recorded a disco album, in Canada of all places. Actually, that’s not fair. We established a few weeks ago that Gino Soccio was brilliant. Canada could disco. Where were we? Oh yes, your mom made a disco record. No. Imagine what it would be like if your mom made a disco record. Cool, eh? It would be worth twenty points at least.
Actually reading this back, it looks like I’m saying this was an album by William Mallin’s mom. It wasn’t. For the record though, if anyone can produce a disco album recorded by your mom, you win the whole competition. I don’t care if you record it this week. In fact, I’d prefer that.
Chris Bissette recommended United by Fate by Rival Schools…
…which is a very healthy, twenty one points earning, slab of post-hardcore.
Kerrie Ann Gardner recommended In Rainbows by Radiohead…
…which we can all agree is the best Radiohead album. WRITE MORE ABOUT THIS ALBUM WHEN YOU EDIT THIS BIT. MAYBE SAY YOU LIKE THE BLOOPY BITS. Twenty two points.
Adrian Slatcher recommended Anti by Rhianna…
…completely redeeming whatever it was he recommended last week CHECK WHAT HE RECOMMENDED LAST WEEK WHEN YOU DO THE EDIT. Love a bit of pop me. Twenty three points.
Nick Rainey recommended Overpowered by Róisín Murphy…
…and, in a move that truly underlines how unfair this whole thing is, I have given it twenty four points, a whole thirteen points more than the Róisín Murphy album Dan recommended. Life is truly ineffably cruel. Oh well, eh?
Dangerous recommended Rock ‘n’ Roll with the Modern Lovers by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers…
…which is just great, isn’t it? And, in a twist of fate, now available on streaming services along with a load of other Richman albums you couldn’t listen to a couple of weeks. So, unlike when Adrian Slatcher recommended him a few weeks ago, I could even listen to it, and award it twenty five points. Which was very nice. Very nice indeed.
Actually, let’s chuck Adrian Slatcher ten bonus points, because it isn’t his fault whoever is in charge of Jonathan Richman’s back catalogue has been tardy getting it to streaming.
Fat Roland recommended Persona by Rival Consoles…
…which is only bloody fantastic. Which only went and got him twenty six bloody points, innit? Honestly, if he stopped trying to game the system every other week he could have won this whole thing. He knows his music. Oh yes.
jummo70 recommended All of Something by Remember Sports…
…which I hadn’t heard before, and was something of a revelation. Do you know Plato’s forms? Well Remember Sports are like a that of college bands, yes? Does that make sense. They are like the perfect version of an imperfect thing, urgent and essential and beautiful. Lovely stuff. You get twenty seven points for that sort of thing.
Ok… right… Georgia Boon recommended what is possibly the finest pop album of the 1980s, Green by REM…
…but tainted things somewhat by calling it a guilty pleasure. It isn’t a guilty pleasure. It is a pleasure. Twenty eight points for the album, but minus three points for the guilt nonsense.
- Picky Bastards recommended Run Come Save Me by Roots Manuva…
…one of the finest British albums of all time. Shove your Dark Side of the Moon up the dark side of your moon, mate. This is where the good stuff is. I should be awarding twenty bonus points for correctly picking an album with Join the Dots on it, but I won’t because they are already winning. Twenty nine points.
James Park recommended Come to My Garden by Minnie Riperton…
…and gets himself thirty points for his efforts, because it is a flawless masterpiece.