That smell you can smell? That’s only the magic of the cup, mate.

Welcome to the first round of The Best Music Recommender in the World Cup. We have a lot to get through today – a brief explanation of the rules, a bonus surprise, the first round proper, a little bit of housekeeping, and the revealing of next week’s category – so, let’s do this…

A Brief Explanation of the Rules

I have split the 86 entries into 21 groups. One person from each group will be eliminated, meaning 65 people will make it through to round two. I realise this is one person too many but I’m not overly concerned about this. In fact, if I don’t think any song should be eliminated I will put all four people in a group through to the next round. maybe nobody will be eliminated. Hakuna matata and all that.

A Bonus Surprise

I will be picking some songs from all the entries; ones that I think are particularly nice recommendations. Each of these choices will get ten bonus points toward their league total. Nice, yeah?

The First Round Proper

Group A

  • Bud’s RPG Review recommended Out of Space by The Prodigy
  • Ed Owen recommended Passion (Naked Mix) by Gat Decor
  • Sex Police recommended More Beats and Pieces (Daddy Rips It Up Mix) by Coldcut
  • The Sweet Cheat recommended Chime by Orbital

Obviously the Orbital track and The Prodigy track go straight through to the second round, and obviously the Coldcut track goes through to the second round too, which just leaves the Gat Decor track, which obviously goes through to the second round. Therefore everyone in Group A goes through to the second round. I have spoken.

Group B

  • Graham Watt recommended What Time is Love? by KLF
  • Larraine Geddes recommended Rez by Underworld
  • Marsha Adams recommended Born Slippy by Underworld
  • Kim Z Baker recommended Hideaway by De’ Lacy

And here we are again, not eliminating anyone. Have I made a terrible formatting decision here? Probably. Will anybody be eliminated from today? Again, probably. But not from this group. Welcome to round two, you lot.

Group C

  • James Beck recommended Let Me Show You (Tall Paul Remix) by Camisra
  • Picky Bastards recommended You’re Not Alone by Olive
  • Neal recommended Addicted to Bass by Puretone
  • Adam Farrer recommended Dirty Cash (Money Talks) by The Adventures of Stevie V

By the grace of a 1990 rerelease, Adam Farrer just sneaks into eligibility, which is bad news for everybody else because I have got to eliminate somebody at some point, haven’t I? Otherwise this whole process becomes a charade. And so, we say goodbye to current league leader Neal. Sorry, Neal.

Group D

  • Dan Edmonds recommended Party Weirdo by Moloko
  • Georgia Boon recommended Valley of the Shadows by Origin Unknown
  • Em recommended Voulez-Vous by Abba
  • Al Kennedy recommended The Love I Lost by West End ft Sybil

I feel that if I eliminated anything but Abba here there would be a riot. Classic as Voulez-Vous is, and partially justified by its 1990s rerelease, the other three picks just fit the brief more completely. As a consolation, I am going to give Em 10 bonus points for the league, because the song is clearly a banger.

No, actually, I’m not eliminating Em either. I couldn’t sleep at night if I eliminated ABBA, could I?

Group E

  • Jacque le Singe recommended Let Me Show You (Tall Paul Mix) by Camisra (or possibly Show Me Love by Robin S)
  • Benjo recommended Hey Boy Hey Girl by The Chemical Brothers
  • Bruno di Gradi recommended Dizzy by Vic Reeves and the Wonderstuff
  • Nick Garrard recommended On A Ragga Tip ’97 by SL2

When I checked my notes, there was some confusion as to what song Jacques le Singe had picked but I didn’t bother clarifying his position as there was a Vic Reeves and the Wonderstuff song just waiting to be unceremoniously booted out of the competition.

Nick Garrard gets the second of the ten lots of ten bonus points for his excellent excellent choice.

Group F

  • Mark G recommended Two Can Play That Game (K-Klass remix) by Bobby Brown
  • Graeme recommended Skin on Skin (Orange Version) by Grace
  • Sam Bail recommended Hardcore Vibes by Dune
  • Penny recommended Barbie Girl by Aqua

I’ll never punish anybody for picking Aqua. It’s just not in my nature. Two Can Play That Game reminds me of the time I spent in what was at the time Britain’s worst pub, The Winking Frog (every week for the year of my life after leaving school). Ugh. I can almost taste the k cider. Nasty. But I can’t let my personal regrets influence my judging (not on a cup week anyway) so I’m going to let all four people in Group F proceed to the next round.

Group G

  • Jummo70 recommended Big by New Fast Automatic Daffodils
  • Royston recommended Trigger by Stratosphere
  • Michael Conley recommended Groove is in the Heart by Deee-lite
  • General Zod recommended Groove is in the Heart by Deee-lite

I swear, we would have had less recommendations for Groove is in the Heart if I had asked for people’s favourite Deee-lite song (with safe-sex anthem Rubber Lover then getting the most votes, I reckon, though nobody picked it for b-sides week so maybe not). If we just assume all Groove is in the Heart recommendations go through, that leaves us with Trigger by Stratosphere (which was new to me, is fantastic, and is getting ten bonus points for the league) and Big by New Fads, which proper-took-me-back-mate (in a pleasant way) but is arguably not a dance record. Or is it? It doesn’t matter. I’m not going to eliminate a band when I used to own one of their t-shirts (long-sleeved, cuff pushed up to the elbow for that perfect pre-brit-pop-era indie three-quarter length look) am I? Of course I’m not. Everyone through to round two.

Group H

  • Richard Jones recommended You’re Not Alone by Olive
  • Geisterhaus recommended Groove is in the Heart by Deee-lite
  • Julie recommended The Bomb (Armand Van Helden re-edit)
  • Chris *Wear Your Dang Mask* recommended Insomnia by Faithless

I hate Insomnia. In my opinion, “Make my way to the refrigerator / One dry potato  / inside, no lie / not even bread. Jam / when the light above my head went bam!” is the worst thing anyone has ever done to words. It is fucking grotesque. However, as I forgot to listen to Chris’ song last week (and we’ll get to the repercussions of that in a bit) I feel eliminating him this week would make me look a right boob. so I’m going to look past my hot take on one of the most popular bands in the history of recorded music and just let everyone through to the next round.

I’ve only eliminated two people so far. This whole groups thing is a disaster, isn’t it? If I haven’t whittled the total by at least ten people by the end of this farce I am going to have to bin off everyone who picked Deee-lite or something, aren’t I? Keep reading, I guess, if you are one of the twelve people who recommended it.

Group I

  • Ben Andrew recommended Ecuador by Sash
  • William Mallin recommended Dieuleul Dieuleul by Aby Ngana
  • Lenni Sanders recommended Renegade Master by Wildchild
  • David Bruce recommended LFO (Leeds Warehouse Mix) by LFO

Talk about a group of blummin’ death, eh? I’m giving everyone in this group ten bonus points for their choice except Ben Andrew, which gives you a clue as to who is going to be eliminated. Sorry, Ben. The draw was not kind to you at all and I have to start knocking people out the cup at some point.

Group J

  • Nick Portnell recommended Bombscare by 2 Bad Mice
  • Sleepy recommended Groove is in the Heart by Deee-lite
  • David Coates recommended He’s on the Phone by St Etienne
  • Fat Roland recommended Is There Anybody Out There by Bassheads

Nick Portnell had a good week last week but everything fell apart today. I didn’t dislike Bombscare but of these four it moved me the least.

Fats would have been professionally ruined if his choice hadn’t got him ten bonus points, but it did, so he can go back to work with his head held high.

Group K

  • Dan recommended Rockin’ Over The Beat by Technotronic
  • Jeanette Greaves recommended No Limits by 2 Unlimited
  • Leighton recommended Music Sounds Better With You
  • Dan Williams recommended Set You Free by N-Trance

Fuck it, I’m giving Dan Williams ten points for Set You Free. Nothing that euphoric should go unrewarded. What a vocal by Kelly Llorenna, eh? Smashing stuff. As for the elimination? I don’t think Rockin’ Over the Beat has aged especially well but Dan survives because Jeanette was out of her comfort zone this week and forced to rely on a song she remembered her nephew jumping up and down to as a toddler. Sorry Jeanette, that adorable cherub had terrible taste in music. If it is any consolation, my daughter used to enjoy bouncing to Donald Where’s Your Troosers, and if anyone had recommended that it would have been eliminated on account of it not being good too. Probably doesn’t help much. Just thought I’d mention it.

Group L

  • Plashing Vole recommended Tailspin by Trembling Blue Stars
  • Kieran Mahon recommended Renegade Master (Fatboy Slim Old Skool Remix) by Wild Child
  • Tom Mason recommended Things Can Only Get Better by D:Ream
  • Ben Thomas recommended Activ 8 by Altern 8

So we are all agreed, Tom is going home, yes? I’m not a huge fan of the Fatboy Slim remix of Renegade Master, and the Trembling Blue Stars song was a tad underwhelming (and several minutes too long) but bloody D:Ream? No thank you.

And as for Ben Thomas? Recommending the greatest ever band from my home county of Staffordshire? Well… You get ten bonus points for that. Of course you do.

Group M

  • Sherri Turner recommended Better the Devil You Know by Kylie Minogue
  • Subfuscous recommended Cowgirl by Underworld
  • Stephen May recommended Wannabe by The Spice Girls
  • Lil’ Vanni Byniaeth recommended Born Slippy by Underworld

Hot Take Alert: The Spice Girls were great but Wannabe is trash. Don’t bother at-ing me about this. I will take no questions. Stephen May is out of the cup.

Group N

  • James Battisson recommended Push The Feeling On by Nightcrawlers
  • Dan Parker recommended There But For The Grace Of God by Fire Island
  • Sal Page recommended the a video of the Quadrille Club dancing the beseda
  • Rebecca H recommended Music: Response by The Chemical Brothers

You may have noticed that one of these isn’t a dance song from the 90s. That’s right, there is no evidence on the dance video that it was recorded before 2010. Maybe it was. If it was, and you can prove it, let me know. Otherwise, sorry Sal, I’m afraid you are out of the cup.

Group O

  • Donna Morris recommended Fly Away (Hixxy Mix) by Visa
  • Sam Whyte recommended Voodoo People by The Prodigy
  • Chris Bissette recommended Mr Vain by Culture Beat
  • Tom Glennie recommended I Am The Black Gold of the Sun by Nuyorican Soul

Ten bonus points for the loveliness that is I Am The Black Gold of the Sun. A packet of Nurofen for me after having to listen to the (happy?) hardcore madness of that Hixxy Mix thing. Sorry, Donna, you are out of this year’s cup. You should have found an Aphex Twin remix of Flying Without Wings or something.

Funny song, isn’t it, that Flying Without Wings? I thought it was about hot air balloons for years, but apparently it isn’t. Life, eh?

Group P

  • Andy C recommended Sing It Back by Moloko
  • Mike recommended Packet of Peace by Lionrock
  • Justin recommended Groove is in the Heart by Deee-lite
  • Paul Graham Raven recommended Bad Things by N-Joi

OK, so I have worked out that because I have eliminated too few people to get to a useful 64 people for the next round I am going to be better off rounding up to 75. I still need to knock a couple of people out this round though, and as Bad Things ‘went on a bit’ (imo, though I had to find it on YouTube so I might have been listening to a remix) I’m going to start there.

Group Q

  • Kenny Fleming recommended You Got the Love by The Source ft Candy Staton
  • Skerret recommended Spin Spin Sugar by Sneaker Pimps
  • Weeman recommended Higher State of Conciousness by Josh Winx
  • David N Atkinson recommended In The Trees by Faze Action

Again, everyone goes through to the next round. By the way, I’m sorry I am sort of rushing through writing these. I have been caught off guard by the clocks going forward and clearing out the shit left in the garage by the people who lived in this house before us took far longer than I thought it would. I did find a Star Wars tazo though, so it’s swings and roundabouts innit.

Group R

  • Nick recommended Voodoo People by The Prodigy
  • Henriette Pleiger recommended Dancin’ Thru The Dark by Con O’Neill
  • Negative Neutron recommended Original Nuttah by Shy Fx and UK Apache
  • Rob Cutforth recommended Da Funk by Daft Punk then changed his mind and went with My Lovin’ by En Vogue because cup week got to him and he was overthinking things

You know what, sod  it, you all go through too. Ten bonus points for Negative Neutron though, because yes.

Group S

  • Tom A recommended Professional Widow by Tori Amos
  • Mat Pringle recommended Papua New Guinea by Future Sound of London
  • Mark Rose recommended Passion by Gat Decor
  • Slugger recommended Born Slippy by Underworld

Again, pretty solid all round. I am now completely resigned to the fact that groups of four was a mistake. I should have just done one against one. I was trying to save time. I funned up. Everyone through to the next round. Go on then

Group T

  • Tim Sleath recommended Something Good by Utah Saints
  • David Hartley recommended Firestarter by Prodigy
  • Daniel Carpenter recommended Belfast by Orbital
  • Desmond recommended Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit by Gina G
  • Scout Tzofiya recommended Last Train to Transcentral by KLF

OK, so I have worked out that because I have eliminated too few people to get to a useful 64 people for the next round I am going to better off rounding up to 75. By my calculations I only need to eliminate one more person and looking at this group there is one clear odd one out – Gina G. Without a doubt Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit is worth ten bonus points. As for eliminations? No. No. I don’t think so.

Which means one of the next group has to be eliminated. Soz in advance.

Group U

  • Graham Cox recommended Trip to the Moon pt 2 by Acen
  • Nick Rayney recommended Red Alert by Basement Jaxx
  • Tom. recommended You’re Not Alone by Olive
  • Steven Moss recommended Searching by Change ft Luther Vandross (remix by Graeme Park)
  • CSH_Picone recommended the Command and Conquer OST

An Original Soundtrack is not a song, so I had to just randomly pick a track from the Command and Conquer OST. The one I picked sounded like INXS playing the theme from the A-Team which, while far from unpleasant, didn’t quite push me toward the dance floor like the other songs did so, sorry, they have knocked you out of the cup.

So that’s that. By my calculations, eleven people got ten bonus points for the league and eleven people have been eliminated. We will return to the cup in a few weeks but next week it’s back to the league

A little bit of housekeeping

last week I forgot to add a recommended track to my list of songs to listen to. Chris *Wear Your Dang Mask* recommended Big Sad Eyes by The Immediate. I’ve listened to it now and I think it would have got fourteen points had I actually listened to it then. So I am going to award them now. Better late than never, yeah?

Next week’s category…

It’s a league week next week, and our category is NEW ENGLAND. Bands from, or songs recorded in or about Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and/or New Hampshire.