Chart for stowaways – May 2021

May saw some reissues piling into the album chart – here’s the chart for 22 May:

  1. Erasure – Chorus
  2. The Human League – Octopus
  3. The Future Sound of London – Cascade 2020
  4. New Order – Education Entertainment Recreation
  5. Pet Shop Boys – Discovery
  6. Air – Le Voyage Dans La Lune
  7. Air – Love 2
  8. Pet Shop Boys – Concrete
  9. Erasure – Tomorrow’s World
  10. Voodoo Child – The End of Everything

Stowaway World Cup – Week 4

Well, what a week that was. If you cared, which you probably didn’t.

Throughout May, we’ve been playing the Stowaways World Cup, an entirely pointless contest in which we pitted 32 of the most-mentioned artists on this blog against one another, based on a mixture of randomness and their past credentials, with a very unhealthy dose of biased refereeing.

There were disappointments right from the start – Sparks could have easily progressed to the latter stages, but never managed to win a single game. The Beloved repeatedly lost their only player due to fouls (that was, in retrospect, a little unfair, so the rules were changed for later rounds). Even Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark failed to progress beyond the group stages due to performing slightly less well than Röyksopp.

The group of 16 saw surprises too, with two group winners and blog stalwarts being knocked out by group runners-up. By the last few matches, the finalists were increasingly closely matched. Erasure suffered a run of games ending with penalty shootouts, Pet Shop Boys, who had had a fairly clear run to the final, snuck an extra goal in at the end of extra time, and won the final, taking away the not-coveted Stowaway Cup. For the record, these were our final top four:

  1. Pet Shop Boys
  2. Erasure
  3. Depeche Mode
  4. New Order

Which is a pretty respectable result. We’ll take a short break on this blog now, but we’ll be back in a week or so with the regular schedule of posts.

Stowaway World Cup – Semi-Final 2

In the second semi-final, Pet Shop Boys take on New Order. Both have won all their games to date, so this really is a battle between two giants. Each has particular strengths and weaknesses which could make all the difference in this game. Let’s see what happens in the first half.

  1. 3+5. No goal.
  2. 6+4. Goal for worst performance in previous games. So much for dice throws – this seems to have come up nearly every game since it was introduced after the group stages. In this instance, it does little good – neither team has had any particular struggles, so the referee rules that this is no goal.
  3. 6+4. That’s a foul. 4+4. The referee was a bit confused, so no penalty.
  4. 1+2. No goal.
  5. 1+6. No goal.

For the first time in the last couple of rounds, the game is scoreless at the halfway point. There was a bit of fumbling during the second and third rolls, but nothing much happened otherwise. Hopefully there will be a bit more offensive action in the second half.

  1. 1+6. No goal.
  2. 1+3. No goal.
  3. 5+1. No goal.
  4. 6+3. Goal! Finally! Goal for most innovative recording. That has to be Blue Monday, so New Order take a very late lead. 0-1.
  5. 2+6. Goal for percentage of members who have remained. Pet Shop Boys equalise. 1-1.

So, after a couple of late goals, we’re still on level pegging. Maybe extra time can help decide this one.

  1. 4+2. Goal for most single releases. Pet Shop Boys have 65, while New Order have just 44. So PSB lead 2-1.
  2. 2+4. Goal for quality of last album. Little could ever top Music Complete, so New Order equalise. 2-2.
  3. 2+1. Goal for most charismatic performer(s). There’s one more goal chance after this, but it might be the decider. The referee is struggling, as neither has a lot of onstage presence. He rules no goal.
  4. 3+6. No goal.

There’s little change in the score after extra time, so this match goes to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

  1. Pet Shop Boys: 1+2. No goal.
  2. New Order: 6+5. No goal.
  3. Pet Shop Boys: 3+1. Goal! 3-2.
  4. New Order: 6+6. Goal! 3-3.
  5. Pet Shop Boys: 1+5. Goal! 4-3.
  6. New Order: 4+5. No goal.
  7. Pet Shop Boys: 3+1. Goal! 5-3.
  8. New Order: 6+1. No goal, and New Order can no longer catch up.

So that’s it, decided by penalties. Pet Shop Boys advance to the final to play Erasure, and New Order take on Depeche Mode in the decider for third and fourth place.

Stowaway World Cup – Semi-Final 1

Now we reach the first of our semi-finals, where former labelmates and bandmates Depeche Mode meet Erasure. Depeche Mode struggled to second in their group, but then walked through the group stages and quarter finals, while Erasure were the strongest performer overall in the group stages, but have struggled with two penalty shoot-outs in both of their last two games. The referee may have to make some awkward decisions about Vince Clarke‘s allegiances between the two teams, since he’s been in both. So let’s see how the first half shapes up:

  1. 1+1. No goal.
  2. 6+1. Goal for best song. There are plenty of contenders, but maybe that’s Enjoy the Silence or Ship of Fools. Depeche Mode sneak the edge. 1-0.
  3. 4+4. No goal.
  4. 3+6. No goal.
  5. 6+4. Goal for worst performance in previous games. This one again! Technically Depeche Mode have a loss, while Erasure have a healthy portion of near-draws. 2-0.

So at the end of the first half, Depeche Mode have snuck two goals ahead, but each by the narrowest of narrow margins. What will happen in the second half?

  1. 1+4. No goal.
  2. 2+5. Goal for best artwork. It’s time for Erasure to sneak in a close goal. 2-1.
  3. 6+6. No goal.
  4. 2+5. Foul. 2+6. Erasure equalise with their penalty! 2-2.
  5. 4+2. The last-minute deciding goal. Goal for most single releases. Depeche Mode have 55, while Erasure have 54, but also 7 EPs, at least three or four of which were big hits with radio play for at least one of the tracks. If you need a tie-breaker for this goal attempt, we can also discount Vince Clarke‘s early work for Depeche Mode, so Erasure clinch a late victory. 2-3.

So Erasure are our first finalists, and we’ll see them again on Sunday. Depeche Mode will be back on Saturday to try to steal third place from the loser of tomorrow’s game.

Stowaway World Cup – Week 3

After the relative excitement of Erasure versus Kraftwerk yesterday, this seems a good time to take a quick breather. The last week has seen us work through the group of 16 and half of the quarter finals, so we now know half of our semi-finalists. We’ve had a number of shocks and surprises, and there are two quarter finals left:

  1. Pet Shop Boys versus Air, which will be played tomorrow
  2. David Bowie versus New Order, coming up on Wednesday

So this is what the semi-finals look like right now:

  1. Depeche Mode versus Erasure, which will be on Thursday
  2. Pet Shop Boys or Air, versus David Bowie or New Order, on Friday

Hopefully Depeche Mode‘s match against Erasure won’t involve another penalty shoot-out, as Erasure‘s last two games have been thrilling, nail-biting, events. Would have been, anyway, if this contest were actually of any interest to anybody.

Saturday will see the battle for third and fourth place, and the all-unimportant final is this Sunday. So let’s enter the last week of this “thrilling” competition, and see how it all pans out.

Stowaway World Cup – Quarter Final 2

Our second quarter final pits Erasure against Kraftwerk. Both were runaway successes in the group stages, with Erasure being the only team to manage not to concede a single goal, but then in the group of 16, Erasure crept through on penalties, while Kraftwerk managed a decisive win. So let’s see where the first half takes us.

  1. 2+4. An early goal. Goal for quality of last album. Easy score for Kraftwerk. 0-1.
  2. 6+1. Goal for best song. The referee rules that to be Ship of Fools versus Radio-aktivität, and then, after much deliberation, awards it to Kraftwerk. 0-2.
  3. 6+6. No goal.
  4. 3+6. No goal.
  5. 3+4. No goal.

So, at the end of the first half, Kraftwerk seem to be looking strong, leading 0-2. But anything could happen in the second half

  1. 5+1. No goal.
  2. 2+5. Goal for best artwork. Very tough – both have some fine examples. The referee rules that Erasure takes the edge. 1-2.
  3. 6+4. Goal for worst performance in previous games. That’s easily Erasure‘s nail-biting last match, but could this be going the same way? 2-2.
  4. 3+4. No goal.
  5. 3+2. No goal.

Erasure dominated the second half, taking us into extra time.

  1. 3+3. No goal.
  2. 6+6. No goal.
  3. 3+6. No goal.
  4. 3+1. No goal.

Here’s a shocker! Erasure end up deciding their game with penalties again, for the second game running. They win the toss, and go first.

  1. Erasure: 2+1. No goal.
  2. Kraftwerk: 4+3. No goal.
  3. Erasure: 6+2. Goal! 3-2.
  4. Kraftwerk: 2+6. Goal! 3-3.
  5. Erasure: 2+2. Goal! 4-3.
  6. Kraftwerk: 4+1. No goal.
  7. Erasure: 1+2. No goal!
  8. Kraftwerk: 6+4. Goal! 4-4.
  9. Erasure: 6+2. Goal! 5-4.
  10. Kraftwerk, who need this goal to stay in the game. 5+1. Goal! 5-5.

So, all is equal at this stage. Sudden death commences.

  1. Erasure: 2+6. Goal! 6-5.
  2. Kraftwerk: 4+6. Goal! 6-6.
  3. Erasure: 2+3. No goal.
  4. Kraftwerk: 1+4. No goal.
  5. Erasure: 4+4. Goal! 7-6.
  6. Kraftwerk: 5+6. No goal.

Finally, after extra time and sixteen penalties, Erasure are carried through to the semi-finals on a wing and a prayer.

Stowaway World Cup – Group of 16 – Games 3 & 4

Game 3: Erasure versus Goldfrapp

The winner of Group C and runner-up of Group D take one another on in this Mute Records local derby.

  1. 6+6. No goal.
  2. 5+1. No goal.
  3. 5+3. No goal.
  4. 5+1. No goal.
  5. 3+3. No goal.
  6. 3+2. No goal.
  7. 5+2. No goal.
  8. 3+2. No goal.
  9. 4+6. Right at the end of the game, a goal attempt. Goal for most weeks on UK album chart. 1-0.
  10. 6+4. Another attempt. Goal for worst performance in previous games. Goldfrapp equalise, 1-1.

So, for the first time, we enter extra time.

  1. 4+1. Goal for most weeks on UK single chart. 2-1.
  2. 5+3. No goal.
  3. 2+4. Goal for quality of last album. Both were fairly iffy, to be honest, but the referee thinks Goldfrapp‘s was marginally better. 2-2.
  4. 5+1. No goal.

Penalties! OK, so Erasure won the toss, so will go first. As with fouls, if the dice add up to an even number, it’s a goal.

  1. Erasure: 4+3. No goal.
  2. Goldfrapp: 3+5. Goal! 2-3.
  3. Erasure: 1+4. No goal.
  4. Goldfrapp: 6+3. No goal.
  5. Erasure: 3+1. Goal! 3-3.
  6. Goldfrapp: 4+3. No goal.
  7. Erasure: 3+3. Goal! 4-3.
  8. Goldfrapp: 3+6. No goal.
  9. Erasure: 4+4. Goal! 5-3.

Goldfrapp can no longer win. So, after nail-biting extra time and penalties, Erasure win 5-3.

Game 4: Kraftwerk versus Massive Attack

The winner of Group D and runner-up of Group C in a potential battle of the bands.

  1. 3+1. No goal.
  2. 1+1. No goal.
  3. 4+4. No goal.
  4. 6+2. Goal for best album. Sorry Massive Attack, but you let in a belter here. 1-0.
  5. 2+1. Goal for most charismatic performer(s). Massive Attack equalise. 1-1.
  6. 2+3. Goal for highest number of views of a post on this blog. That would be the Beginner’s guide to Kraftwerk, with 345 views. 2-1.
  7. 4+6. Goal for most weeks on UK album chart. Kraftwerk‘s limited chart success shows, as they let in another equaliser. 2-2.
  8. 5+6. No goal.
  9. 6+5. Goal for most impressive haircut. The referee awards that to Ralf Hütter for his pre-fame long hair. 3-2.
  10. 6+2. Foul. 3+4. Crucial penalty for Massive Attack, but an odd number, so no goal. Kraftwerk sneak a win, 3-2.

Stowaway World Cup – Week 2

So, we reach the end of the group stages, in this entirely pointless competition. There were a few surprises. Group A saw Jean-Michel Jarre and Madonna and Yazoo advance. Group B was led by Kylie Minogue and Depeche Mode, while Sparks crashed out without a single win. Group C was led by Erasure and Massive Attack, and Group D by Kraftwerk and Goldfrapp. Group E saw The Beloved knocked out, with Pet Shop Boys and I Monster leading the pack. Group F was led by Air and Röyksopp, with OMD and Enigma knocked out. Group G was led by David Bowie and The Human League, and Group H by New Order and The Future Sound of London.

So those are the Group of 16, with some tricky games coming up this week, and at the end of this week we’ll also enter the all-unexciting quarter finals. So it’s a good time for some tweaks to the rules for the remainder of the competition.

Going forward:

  1. You need an outright win – no more draws. We’ll have 4 throws of extra time, followed by penalties.
  2. 6+6 is no longer a foul. Instead, a repeated throw is a foul, but only if it was going to be a goal attempt. If it’s a pair, we’ll ignore it, but if not, the foul was committed by the higher-scoring side (left = left team, right = right team). If the sum of the dice is even, it’s a scored penalty.
  3. To reduce the number of goal chances, any double throws are no goal from now on.
  4. Most of the goal-scoring categories will change to a new set of spurious deciders.

Stowaway World Cup – Group Stages – Games 33-36

Game 33: Jean-Michel Jarre versus Little Boots

  1. 6+3. Goal for highest number of mentions on blog. Early lead for Jarre. 1-0.
  2. 4+2. Goal for most years between first and last hit. 2-0.
  3. 3+4. No goal.
  4. 4+3. Goal for highest number of remixes of another artist. 2-1.
  5. 5+1. No goal.
  6. 1+1. No goal.
  7. 5+1. No goal.
  8. 5+3. No goal.
  9. 6+3. Re-roll. 3+2. No goal.
  10. 2+1. Goal for most charismatic performer(s). Very tough, especially at this stage in the game. I think Little Boots clinches this one. 2-2.

Game 34: Depeche Mode versus Kylie Minogue

  1. 4+2. Goal for most years between first and last hit. Interesting. Depeche Mode can boast 1981-2013, while Kylie has 1988-2021, so a very slight goal for Kylie. 0-1.
  2. 6+4. Goal for highest number of search engine results. This is so close (15.6-15.8 million) so I’m going to rule no goal.
  3. 5+6. No goal.
  4. 3+2. No goal.
  5. 5+3. No goal.
  6. 1+5. No goal.
  7. 1+5. No goal.
  8. 3+4. No goal.
  9. 5+2. No goal.
  10. 2+4. Goal for quality of last album. Depeche Mode‘s wasn’t great, and I haven’t heard Kylie Minogue‘s, so this has to be no goal. Kylie wins 0-1 in a shock result, taking the lead in Group B.

Game 35: Erasure versus Shit Robot

  1. 3+6. No goal.
  2. 4+2. Goal for most years between first and last hit. Erasure take a lead 1-0.
  3. 4+3. Goal for highest number of remixes of another artist. Since Vince Clarke chose to play for Erasure, he takes a clear goal here. 2-0.
  4. 2+1. Goal for most charismatic performer(s). Andy Bell FTW. 3-0.
  5. 6+5. Goal for funniest band picture. Tough. Honestly, it could go either way, but since it’s unlikely to change the result of this game I’ll call this no goal.
  6. 1+5. No goal.
  7. 3+6. No goal.
  8. 3+3. No goal.
  9. 4+5. Goal for number of UK hit albums. 4-0.
  10. 1+3. No goal. Erasure win comfortably, confirming the lead of their group and knocking Shit Robot out of the competition. 4-0.

Game 36: Goldfrapp versus Bent

  1. 1+2. No goal.
  2. 4+1. Goal for highest debut position on UK singles chart. Astonishingly, Human and Swollen tie at number 87 (just two weeks apart in March 2001), so no goal.
  3. 5+6. No goal.
  4. 5+3. No goal.
  5. 1+6. No goal.
  6. 4+5. Goal for number of UK hit albums. 1-0 to Goldfrapp.
  7. 3+6. No goal.
  8. 1+4. No goal.
  9. 5+2. No goal.
  10. 5+3. No goal. Tight win for Goldfrapp there, 1-0, but I think this unfortunately means that neither progresses to the group of 16.

Stowaway World Cup – Week 1

So we reach the half way point of the group stages, and we’ve already had a lot of surprises. I’m sure you won’t have missed them in all the excitement, but just in case, here’s a recap.

Group A

The group is currently firmly led by Jean-Michel Jarre, with the Delerium / Front Line Assembly / Conjure One supergroup as runners-up, but any of the teams could still qualify.

Group B

Depeche Mode are well ahead, and after two disappointing losses for Sparks and a surprise win for Kylie Minogue, the latter currently looks likely to sneak into the group of sixteen.

Group C

Erasure have a strong lead, with Saint Etienne just holding onto second place, but with a game in hand.

Group D

Kraftwerk lead with two strong wins, and Hot Chip are currently holding onto second place after drawing against Goldfrapp in their first game.

Group E

Pet Shop Boys are leading, and after two dirty games from The Beloved, I Monster currently hold the runner-up spot.

Group F

Big surprises here. The favourites are currently right at the bottom of the table, with Enigma in first place, Air in second, and Röyksopp and OMD in third and fourth.

Group G

David Bowie is comfortably leading, with The Human League in second place.

Group H

New Order lead, with The Future Sound of London in second.