This year’s triple j hottest 100 reflected the meager regard triple j holds for its founding principle of exposing and promoting all types of Australian music, etc. I could write pages about it – I’m sure we all could – but there’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said. Instead, here are six great Aussie songs by great Aussie acts that didn’t make the top 100, accompanied by some ramblings about why they should have:
Apparently it was folly of me to assume that a song as articulate, honest and internationally renowned as Courtney Barnett’s Avant Gardener would by default make the top ten… or even the top 100. Or that it would at the very least beat San Cisco’s version of Get Lucky. What was I thinking?
The three-chord chronicle of a Monday-morning anxiety attack follows Barnett’s unintended journey from her bed to her front yard, ‘half way down High Street’, and then into an ambulance; with lyrics so sharp that they act as eyes to the listeners as the song unfolds. The story touches on something that we’ve all likely experienced before, either personally or vicariously through a friend or relative – and yet it still remains an uncommon subject for a song. Barnett conveys the trauma of an anxiety attack in a manner that is neither dismissive, fantastical or hyperbolic of the situation. It’s a song you could describe as laid back yet highly eventful, out-there but unassuming, a bit worrying but also a bit hilarious. It even made it onto a big fancy Pitchfork list.
You could not find a dud track on King Gizzard’s Float Along/Fill Your Lungs LP even if you tried – and yet the Melbourne darlings didn’t manage to sneak a single song into the top 100 (or 200 even). The album’s lead single Head On/Pill, a sixteen minute corker, follows pretty much no lyrical direction. As an example I provide to you the song’s opening line; ‘Just yesterday I sat across from my legs, they were connected to me’. Cool story man.
But I wouldn’t be writing this if it weren’t for the plain and simple fact that the song sounds great. It is just a great sounding song. Period. The song and album mark King Gizzard’s transition from a testosterone-coastal-footy-club-like-surf-band, capable of writing garage ditties that generally failed to meet the three-minute mark, to a sophisticated seven-piece psychedlic rock band with almost unthinkable potential. It’s milestones like this that triple j should be celebrating.
I’ll keep this one short. The Drones; one of Melbourne’s most respected, most revered, most consistently strong and longest lasting bands… were never going to make the countdown despite releasing a bloody solid album in 2013. And we all knew it.
Over the past year Pond have been all about cock rock and footy anthems. There’s footage of them jamming backstage somewhere to Jailbreak, they regularly vocalize their love of beer (and footy), and there’s pretty much an on-stage guarantee of either sports gear, flannies or thongs. How much more Australian can a band get without actually having Bon Scott as a member?
And yet, the hard rock extravaganza Giant Tortoise didn’t get Australia’s vote when it came down to it – despite them selling out a nationwide tour, receiving plenty of rotation on triple j, and even gracing the stages of Falls Festival, a.k.a. ‘the three day long hottest 100 party’. Sure, Hobo Rocket wasn’t their strongest album, but the day the hottest 100 concerns strong albums will also be the day that pigs fly. So if ever there was a formula to scoring a spot on the list, these guys followed it like a textbook. You’d at least think that the unjustifiably high affiliation with Tame Impala they’ve become accustomed to, bestowed upon them by the very triple j listeners who didn’t vote for them, would score them a spot.
But no. Just. I don’t even… Just no.
The only negative thing about having Water Damage on your iPod is that you’ll probably end up listening to it every single day, resulting in jealousy from the other files on your iPod – most of which will become less and less relevant as Water Damage gets better with each listen. It’s simple, it’s gorgeous, it’s a singalong and it’s full of Aussie accents. In other words it’s the kind of thing triple j would spin regularly in an ideal world.
One thing that Australia has lacked since Delta Goodrem’s retirement from music is solid pop songs from young, beautiful and musically talented blondes. And that’s why this song should have made the top 100.
Just kidding. Besides the part about Asta writing an airtight pop song. I Need Answers was her first release after winning triple j Unearthed High in 2012. As well as having a really great melody, the track is full of gorgeous synths, Asta’s haunting and highly unique voice, and second to none production. The lyrics are pretty basic; ‘It’s the right time honey, I’ve packed up all my money’, but the rest of it compensates. What’s more is that it perfectly fits the ‘triple j’ synth-pop archetype (although quite a bit above par) – and yet somehow still missed out on the list.
But then, she only turned twenty this month. I’m kind of scared at what the future holds for Asta Binnie if she’s already writing pop songs this good.
So there you have it. Six bloody rippers that triple j and its listeners joined forces to hide from you.
1. I hold no dislike for San Cisco. They are mentioned purely for comparison’s sake.
2. This list is 56% more Australian than the actual hottest 100 countdown.
3. This list list is biased slightly towards Melbourne. Sorry.
By Niamh Crosbie