Readers Recommend returns with a new topic: songs about overturning the odds

Reader power has triumphed, and RR returns this week in a slightly new format with a new host

You spoke, we listened. Well, strictly, you told us exactly what you thought of our decision to end Readers Recommend in no uncertain terms, and we listened. So this is where we take our slice of humble pie, served with a side order of whipped humility, and sprinkled with powdered shame, and announce the return of Readers Recommend.

As RR regulars know, the slot has been through different iterations during its lifespan. Would it survive the loss of Dorian Lynskey? Yes it would. Would it survive the transition from being an editorially produced column to something put together by readers? Yes it would.

And now it’s taking on a new format. The basics are the same: every Thursday you will be asked to nominate your favourite songs on a particular topic in the comments. A week later, a playlist of those songs will appear. RR will once again appear on the Guardian’s music site.

What’s different now is that we are combining the two into one piece: at the end of each new playlist, you will find the topic for discussion over the following week. We’ll be keeping the same deadline, so for this week’s topic, you have until 11pm on Monday 15 February, at which point one of you will pick the playlist [EDIT: this week sonofwebcore is taking the reins as guru], write the accompanying piece and set the next topic. So many subjects have been covered over the years that we would welcome you looking at the news and setting subjects that reflect what’s happening in the world. It’s not compulsory, naturally, but we think it might be worth a go.

The second thing that’s different is the curator. We know how much you adored Peter Kimpton, but sadly there is no way we can continue RR unless it is done by someone on Guardian staff. So we have a new curator, Matthew Holmes, and in future his colleagues in our community team. I trust you will make Matthew and co as welcome as their many predecessors. Whoever wants to compile next week’s playlist and set the topic for the week after should email Matthew at by midday on Monday 15 Feb.

The third change is that we’d like to learn a bit more about you and what you love. So each week, alongside RR, we’ll be asking you to tell us more about the songs you’ve nominated through our GuardianWitness page. We want to hear the stories, see the photos – of gigs, of moments, of your record sleeves – that you associate with the songs you have nominated. Each week, the Witness assignment and the RR blog will launch at the same time and the stories you tell us may also feature in some other format or form part of longer features on the website. All you need to do to contribute images or video is click the blue ‘Contribute’ button at the top or bottom of this article – remember though the usual format remains in the comments.

What we’ve come up with isn’t the same as before, we know, but it took account of the suggestions you sent in to me, and incorporated the community team’s ideas about how they wanted to make it work. We hope you’ll enjoy it, and we’re sorry in advance to those we might upset.

So without further ado, here’s the topic for next week, and it’s one to reflect your campaign to restore RR: songs about overturning the odds.

RESULTS: Readers recommend: songs about overturning the odds – and a new theme

Finally, here’s a reminder of the guidelines for RR:

• Tell us why it’s a worthy contender.
• Quote lyrics if helpful, but for copyright reasons no more than a third of a song’s words.
• Provide a link to the song. We prefer Muzu or YouTube, but Spotify or SoundCloud are fine.
• Listen to others people’s suggestions and add yours to a collaborative Spotify playlist.
• If you have a good theme, or if you’d like to volunteer to compile a playlist from readers’ suggestions, please email
• There’s a wealth of data on RR, including the songs that are “zedded”, at the Marconium. It also tells you the meaning of “zedded”, “donds” and other strange words used by RR regulars.
• Many RR regulars also congregate at the ’Spill blog.

To contribute text, pictures or video through GuardianWitness, click the blue button below


Michael Hann

The GuardianTramp

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