The Best Music Recommender in the World – 2021

The Final 2021 Leader Board

Sorry this looks a bit of a mess. It’s quicker to cut and paste a spreadsheet than it is to write these out every week. There have now been over one hundred entrants this year. If you don’t see yourself in the Top 100, keep recommending those songs until you do.













*100 of Adam Farrer’s points are reliant on him nominating something by Tom Waits every week. The first week he fails to do so, those 100 points become minus 100 points.


These are the winning picks from each week of the competition. The best of the best of the best.

  • Week One: Album: Double album – David Hartley – Soul Music by Special Request
  • Week Two: Song: recorded by somebody over 60 – David N Atkinson – We Have All the Time in the World by Louis Armstrong
  • Week Three: Album: Scotland – Geisterhaus – Rip It Up by Orange Juice / Rebecca Holland – The Esteemed… by Orange Juice
  • Week Four: Song: The 1980s – Sal Page – Party Fears One by The Associates
  • Week Five: Song: Valentine’s Day – Chris *Wear Your Dang Mask* – God Only Knows by The Beach Boys
  • Week Six: Song: Yorkshire – Georgia Boon – Midnight Cowboy by John Barry
  • Week Seven: Song from a musical – Julie – Non-Stop from Hamilton
  • Week Eight: Song: New York – Dan – New York City Boy by Pet Shop Boys
  • Week Nine: B-Side – Donna Morris – All I Want Is You by Take That
  • Week Ten: Ireland – Fat Roland – Gravity Calling by Solar Bears
  • Week Twelve: New England – Al Kennedy – Now They’ll Sleep by Belly
  • Week Thirteen: Sweden – Mat Pringle – Pengar by Mikael Ramen
  • Week Fourteen: Britpop – David Bruce – Meched Yn Neud Gwallt Ei Gilydd by Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci
  • Week Fifteen: The Oscars – Sam Whyte – Treat Your Mother Right by Mr T / Plashing Vole – The Biggest Aspidistra in the World by Gracie Fields
  • Week Sixteen: Punk – John Power Jr – Miziki Ya Fula by Fulu Miziki
  • Week Seventeen: Michigan – James Beck – Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) by Frank Wilson
  • Week Eighteen: Eurovision – Henriette Pleiger – Discoteque by The Roop
  • Week Nineteen: The best song of 2021 (so far) – Arron Wright – Introvert by Little Simz


OK. New Year, (slightly) new rules. I have had to finesse things slightly. I wanted to improve (or at least bring some sort of logic to) the scoring system. Hopefully I’ve achieved that. And (if I’m being honest) I wanted to slightly reduce my work. So, in 2021 we will be doing alternate ‘album weeks’ and ‘song weeks’. This will give me slightly less to listen to but we will still have a round every week, which is the best of both worlds imo.. Lastly, we couldn’t just go round the alphabet again, so I’m approaching things slightly differently next year.

  • Scoring. Each week I will set a category and you will recommend stuff. I will then make a Top 30 out of your choices. No. 1 will score 40 points, No. 30 will score 1 point.
  • As you will have noticed, this means not everyone will score points every week. I think this will make things more exciting as, in theory, it will result in people climbing up and slipping down the rankings more freely.
  • Points will be awarded by the quality of the recommendation, not the quality of the album. I realise this is a bit nebulous (and that is part of the fun of course) but, in a nutshell, if I ask you to recommend an album by a band from Liverpool, recommending The Beatles won’t score highly. Not because I don’t like The Beatles (I do), but because it’s a bit too obvious. Infuriatingly (for you) I won’t necessarily reward the most obscure choices either. Go with your heart, recommend things you love, and you won’t go far wrong.
  • Bonus points. Each week there will be a set amount of bonus points available to people who didn’t make the Top 20. I might award these to choices that were great but didn’t quite make the cut, or especially bad choices, or choices that made me laugh, or almost anything really. Bonus points will be awarded completely at my discretion and there will be no appeal process. Soz and that.
  • In no way whatsoever are bonus points a hastily drawn up fudge that I had to come up with after writing the number of the week on the drawings I have done for each category and then realising I had numbered them incorrectly. Anyone who tells you that is a liar.
  • Categories. A lot of the album weeks will be based around place. However, I want you to interpret that as loosely as you like. So, for example, if the category was Japan the following albums would all be admissible…
    -Solid State Survivor by Yellow Magic Orchestra (Japanese band)
    -Viva! La Woman by Cibo Matto (Japanese-American band)
    -Gorillaz by Gorillaz (fictional band member, Noodles, is Japanese, and was voiced by Haruka Kuroda)
    -Made in Japan by Deep Purple (Recorded in Japan)
    -Lost in Translation soundtrack (soundtrack of a film set in Japan)
    The categories aren’t supposed to trick you and there are no wrong answers. If I find a suggestion too tenuous for the Top 20 (for example a recommendation of Back in Black by AC/DC for best classical symphony might be stretching it a bit) there is a good chance they will pick up bonus points. Just recommend something you love and let me worry about everything else.
  • (There will be no ‘Japan’ or ‘Classical symphony’ categories by the way, in case you were wondering.)
  • The competition will start in January. The deadline for the first category is Wednesday the sixth of January and the first category will be DOUBLE ALBUMS.
  • The easiest way to get a recommendation to me is via Twitter but I will also accept e-mails, text messages, comments on this page, and just walking up to me on the street and telling me. (Though if you insist on doing the latter, please keep your distance and wear a mask, ta.)