*deep breath* IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!! nah-nah nah-nah, nah-nah nah-nah-nah, nah-nah nah-nah…


So, here we are then, the last week of the league. I’m going to whizz through the entries that didn’t make the top 30 this week because I have promised to look through a friend’s novel for them and I have been taking far to long over that already [and, in a very real sense and I can’t stress this enough etc, if you didn’t make the top 30 you can’t win the tournament so what do my thoughts about your choice matte anyway?].

The rankings this week were almost impossible as I liked or loved almost every song you recommended. I’m going to miss your suggestions if I don’t come up with a (slightly less time consuming) replacement for this competition. I’ll have a think. In the meantime, feel free to just randomly recommend stuff at me. My twitter profile is open 24:7.

I’m getting distracted. The point I was making was, you are all great and thank you very much for taking part in this tournament. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

Bonus points. There are thirty five available this week and I have decided to award them to the three people who I have (for want of a better word) bullied lightly each week. Adam Farrer, who managed to find a Tom Waits link every week, even when doing so was obviously costing him any chance of winning the competition, Fat Roland, who I sneakily convinced to nominate Molly Half Head in Britpop week among other crimes, and Plashing Vole, who I have trolled mercilessly because I love him unconditionally and know he wouldn’t take it the wrong way, I am awarding you all thirty five bonus points. I don’t think it will get you very much closer to the title, but it might begin to heal any hurt I have caused you over the last few weeks.

Anyway, let’s get the sorry-you-didn’t-make-the-chart list out of the way, then do the top 30.

Apologies to the following people. There are so many good songs here that didn’t make the cut. In fact, there was so little between a lot of these songs and the ones that made the chart that you have a right to feel hard done by. Soz etc.

  • Al Kennedy – Forgotten Souls by Mother Mother
  • Ben Andrew – Begging For Trouble by AFI
  • Bruno Di Gradi – Pollyanna by Green Day
  • Chris *Wear Your Dang Mask* – Gold by Claud
  • Dan – Ex-American Blues by Speaker Music
  • Dan Wiiliams – Dark days by Yard Act
  • David Hartley – Strong Feelings by Dry Cleaning
  • Desmond – Prosti by Ploho [worth pointing out that any Joy Division fans reading this should check this one out. It might be right up your street]
  • GLP – Road of the Lonely Ones by Madlib
  • Henriette Pleiger – Waiting on a War by Foo Fighters
  • Jacques le Singe – Send Me by Tirzah
  • James Beck – Long Legged Larry by Aesop Rock
  • Jeanette Greaves – Orwellian by Manic Street Preachers
  • Julie – You Am I by The Waterboy
  • Mark G – Telepatía by Kali Uchis
  • Mark Rose – Following the Sun by Super Hi & Neeka
  • Michael Conley – Hush Money by Lake Street Drive
  • Mike – Love Will Come by Maps
  • Neutron Thornburg – Nightfall by Plankton Wat
  • Nick Rayney – Hold On by Not Waving ft Marie Davidson
  • Paul Graham Raven – Fire at Static Valley by Godspeed! You Black Emperor
  • Pavel Kondov – 12 Things I Forgot by Steve Wilson
  • Phil Rhodes – Our Heads, Our Hearts on Fire by The Besnard Lakes
  • Rebecca H – Ten Degrees of Strange by Johnny Flynn
  • Richard Jones – Solstice by The Antlers
  • Sam Whyte – Human, for a Minute by Shame
  • Sex Police – Resist the Urge by Matt Sweeney and Bonnie Prince Billy
  • Sherri Turner – Wellerman by Nathan Evans
  • Skerret – Your Power by Billie Eilish
  • Slugger – Kebabylon by Arab Strap
  • Tom. – Deep State of Mind by Lùisa
  • Tom Glennie – Approach with Caution by Quakers ft Sampa the Great
  • Tom Mason – Love Story (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift

Commiserations to everyone who now can’t be The Best Music Recommender in the World. As for the rest of you…

The Top 30 songs of 2021 (so far)

(pssst. The scores are slightly different this week to increase the excitement and everything. Any song in the top 30 that I hadn’t heard before it was recommended will score double points.)

  • 30 – Nick – L’art et la magie by Poison Leather – Honestly, I didn’t love this song. But it was sufficiently different from everything else nominated that I felt I had to reward it, even if only a little bit. Two points (times two) equals four points which moves Nick up the leader board, but not to the top.
  • =29 – Picky Bastards – Chelsea Hotel #3 by Anna B Savage / John Power Jr – Voyageur du Temps by Ariel Kalma – I have put these songs together because while I can tell on a handful of listens that they are great I still need to do a fair bit more listening before I can really get a grip on them. They were both new to me, so it’s 2×2= four points each (which means neither of them will be champions this year – though John might have been if he hadn’t missed a few weeks of recommending being busy putting issue 2 of Wyrd Science together [back it on Kickstarter now, kids])
  • 28 – Graham Cox – End of the Road by Noga Erez – I liked this one. Three times two equals six points.
  • 27 – Fat Roland and Adrian Slatcher both recommended (There is) No Logic by Lonelady which is very 1980s but in a good way. four times two equals eight points.
  • 26 – Dan Edmonds – Orange Flowers by Anika Pyke – One of two songs this week that my streaming platform refused to accept exists. It does of course. I found it on Youtube. Very good it is too. Five times two equals ten points.
  • 25 – Sleepy – No Mutuals by Fake Fruit – Fake Fruit were on my ‘listen-to-this-when-you-find-time list’ but because I haven’t found time yet it is worth double points. Double six is twelve points. That isn’t quite enough for Sleepy to catch up the top five, but it has been quite the run and, had I carried the competition on for a few more weeks, one that might have ended in victory. The choices were always good.
  • 24 – Interestingly, the people who are at one, five and twenty four on the leader board all picked the same song – Mohabbat by Arooj Aftab – When I told them that it meant that victory was only possible for one of them, James Battisson changed his tune (as it were) but William Mallin and Mat Pringle stuck with it. You would have thought, given how much I have like their previous choices, that a song all three of them picked would easily win this week, but here it is at number 24 with fourteen points (2×7). Life, eh? Full of surprises.
  • 23 – James Battisson – Don’t Judge Me by FKA Twigs, Fred Again,,. Headie One – And while the extra two points (8×2= sixteen points) aren’t anywhere enough to lift James above Mat and William, he does have a moral victory, of sorts, I think(?), by finishing above them this week. Maybe? Anyway. All this means that Mat Pringle has extended his lead at the top of the leader board but that if David N Atkinson can get twenty eight points he will overtake him. START THE TENSION BUILDING NOW!!!
  • 22 – David N Atkinson – In Between by Hamzaa ft Miraa May – STOP THE TENSION BUILDING NOW!!! because even with the double point bonus it is only eighteen points for David. Victory was so close but he will have to settle for a silver medal.OR WILL HE?Because by my calculations, there are still three people who could win this year.START THE TENSION BUILDING AGAIN NOW!!!!!!!
  • 21 – Gout Mask Replica – Hard Drive by Cassandra Jenkins – I have heard this one, so it is only worth ten points, but that doesn’t stop the song being brilliant does it?
  • 20 – Sam Bail – Chemicals by SG Lewis – The perfect song for an end to lockdown (which, obviously, might not actually happen just yet, let’s wait and see, eh? The song will still be here when it does). Twenty-two points.
  • 19 – Em – Bloomsday by Samantha Crain – At the risk of sounding like I’m running out of ways to describe very good songs after a year of doing it, this is a very good song. Twenty four points.
  • 18 – Donna Morris – Rainforest by Noname – Also very good. Twenty six points.
  • 17 – Chris Bissette – AWOL by Every Time I Die – Ending on a(nother) high. He has opened up some doors to new music for me these last few weeks and no mistake, that Chris. I didn’t love everything he recommended but there were far more hits than misses and I have a whole pile of new bands to check out. Yeah, I’m very happy about that. Oh, yeah, and twenty-eight points.
  • 16 – Graham Watt – Love Ain’t the Same by Rita Ray – This song, which is getting thirty points, has a really nice 1960s/Motown-adjacent vibe to it. I loved it.
  • 15 – Plashing Vole – The Gesualdo Six perform Coronasolfege for 6 by Héloïse Werner – A piece written for the face (voice, eyes, teeth, etc) that is playful and beautiful. I’ll never listen to it again because the noise of teeth smashing together like that knocks me sick but there is no denying it is a fascinating piece of music worth every one of the thirty two points I’m giving it.
  • 14 – David Bruce – Solarised by Jane Weaver – which is great, but not the best song on the album (we’ll get to that later). Only seventeen points though, because I’ve listened to the album a few times already this year.
  • 13 – Jummo70 – Lady by Pom Poko – To win the whole shabang, Jummo70 needed to finish in this week’s top two with a song I hadn’t heard before. Thirteenth with a song I had isn’t quite enough. But it’s no disaster either. Eighteen points means twelfth over all which is not to be sniffed at imo.BUT THAT MEANS THERE ARE ONLY TWO PEOPLE WHO CAN OVERTAKE MAT PRINGLE NOW. SLOWLY REDUCE THE TENSION TO MANAGEABLE LEVELS PLEASE AND THANK YOU!!!
  • 12 – Adam Farrer – Even though I let him off finding a Tom Waits link this week, Adam only went and found one anyway. It’s funny. This time last year I would have bored you with stories about how I didn’t like Mogwai but then I heard the Zero Zero Zero soundtrack and learnt that I had made a huge mistake. They are actually good and their new album is good too. I have already listened to it, so it’s just the nineteen points, but you know, a nice end to the competition.For the record, when I saw Mogwai at a festival in 1998, or 1999, or 2000, or some year round about then, they were fucking ghastly. It’s not just me who has changed.
  • 11 – Tom A – Blue Vein by Lael Neale – Proof that lo-fi doesn’t have to be ‘no’-fi… or something… erm.. No. Sorry. That is a terrible joke. Please forgive me. I’ve been typing all day and my head hurts. It’s a great song. Twenty times two equals forty points.
  • 10 – Georgia Boon – Smiling With No Teeth by Genesis Owusu – Tim was wrong. This is great. I’m familiar with the album so I can’t double your score but twenty-two points is better than a kick in the Iron Maidens.
  • 9 – Marsha Adams – You Don’t Get Me High Anymore by Molly Tuttle – hadn’t heard it before. Loved it. Twenty-four points times two equals a massive forty-eight points!
  • 8 – Ben – Oni by Mammal Hands – I hadn’t heard it before, so the points are doubled, but it needed to finish first or second to get enough for Ben to grab the title. Fine margins and all that. Fifty-two points.
  • 7 – Nick Garrard – Hustle by Sons of Kemet ft Kojey Radical – You see, Nick. All you had to do to score well was pick better songs. Too late now of course, but what a finish! Fifty-six points! Am I using too many exclamation marks today!? I think I am! Way too many! Not everything has to be exclaimed, does it!!!!!!!!!
  • 6 – Dan Carpenter – Same Old by ENNY – In the end, the Dan/Dave Hartley rivalry was something of a damp squib. Dan finished twenty-four places ahead of Dave. When you’ve got it, you’ve got, I suppose. The sixty points he got this week helped, but even if Dan had recommended a Van Morrisson anti-lockdown song (and got minus ten points for his troubles) he still would have beaten Dave. Embarrassing for Dave, that. Sorry, but somebody had to say it.
  • 5 – Graeme – Another Life by Hadda Be – This is great, and the sixty-four points I’m awarding it makes Graeme the highest climber on the leader board, sneaking into the top 50 at the last. Very nice.
  • 4 – TB – Blimey by Genesis Elijah ft Harry Shotta – The biggest score of the day. Sixty-eight points. I flipping loved this song.
  • 3 – David Coates – The Other Black Dog by Genesis Owusu – I prefer this to the other Genesis Owusu song, slightly, so it gets a few more points. Specifically, it gets thirty-six points.
  • 2 – Nick Portnell – Stages of Phases by Jane Weaver – This is the best song on the album and, had I not listened to the album already this year, would have won Nick this year’s trophy (there is no trophy). But I had, so it only gets thirty-eight points (I say only. that is a lot of points.)Which means that Mat Pringle is this year’s winner. Congratulations! 
  • 1 – Arron Wright – Introvert by Little Simz – I’ve heard it already but so what? Little Simz just keeps getting better and better. Forty points. Bang.