Friday, 31 May 2019

TSP's Video Classix: Redux

In the days before YouTube made everything available on any device you liked anywhere on the face of the planet we went out of our way to download and highlight the world's most bonkers music videos. Years of lost posts mean that only Snooker Loopy, Tusk, Life at the Outpost, Safety Dance and Pour Some Sugar On Me survive.

My collection of screenshots for posts that no longer exist suggest that there was also coverage of 911 Is A Joke, A View To A Kill, Body Movin', Boys Light Up, Breaking The Law, Doin' The Do, Fairytale of New York, Goonies 'R Good Enough, Greg! The Stop Sign, Hit The North, Hot For Teacher, I Know What Boys Like, I Like To Watch, Just, Kick It, Let's Dance, Long Hot Summer, Love is a Battlefield, Make a Move On Me, Owner of a Lonely Heart, Pleasure and Pain, Private Eyes, Rise, Sabotage, Save Your Love, Sex Over The Phone, Sexx Laws, Someday, The Look of Love, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Touch It, Turbo Diesel and You're The Voice plus multi video retrospectives covering Falco and Madonna. What a rich tapestry. And more importantly what an indication of how much time I had on my hands 15 years ago.

Anyway, after 10 years on the sidelines I've been inspired to revive this segment after discovering a video so bonkers it's a wonder it took me until 2019 to see it.

Like most people of my vintage the only thing I knew about Ozzy Osbourne beyond his appearances as a shambling reality TV figure was that he once took a piss on the Alamo and chomped the head off a bat while on stage. Then about two months ago a chance encounter with a classic hard rock show on digital radio made me realise that his off chops 80s output speaks to me in a way I'd never expected. And so, here we are with 1986's The Ultimate Sin, a music video with more giffable reaction shots than anything I've ever seen in my life.

In a none-more-80s scenario the video is a parody of Dallas. The Young Ones did likewise two years previous, but even they didn't spin off into the same strange and mystical areas as Ozzy.

And here's your CEO, looking for all money like a 45 year old divorced housewife at a country and western bar.

Sadly he receives unfortunate news over the phone. I think from the remainder of the video that they're telling him his missus has carked it but who would actually know. Chemicals may have been involved.

Here he is looking even more like your Year 8 geography teacher Mrs. Rottencrotch.

For the rest of the video it appears that watching footage of his own performances is the only thing that brings poor old Ozzy any joy.

Christ only knows what's going on here but it's not the last we'll see of her.

Back at the office, where Ozzy is channelling the level of interest and personal fulfilment we all get from our work.

Actually I'm not sure he even knew there was a video being filmed.

Oh, here she is again. Appearing as a stern, ghostly apparition at the end of a boardroom table filled by people found in a casting call for 'corporate yes men'.

This makes Ozzy incredible happy. Which is why the rest of the video makes no earthly sense.

Kids, when your school careers counsellor asks where you want to work I expect you will answer OZZY OIL.

So he legs it out of the office, dives into a limo and drives off like he's trying to avoid Casper the Attractively Stern Ghost.

And settles in for another viewing of his own live performance with the face of a man who's just realised the wife has gone out and he can have a Cape Schank...

... possibly while thinking about this face.

Then, in the most rushed ending (but, it must be said, far more satisfying) cinematic ending since No Country For Old Men we skip to Ozzy poolside, where his further enjoyment of himself live is ruined by old mate turning up in the crowd. This time she hasn't got red devil eyes. Is there a director's cut we can consult to understand why?

This displeases the man so greatly that he takes the portable TV and like any good rock star lobs it into the pool.

The spook in red appears in the flesh at last, provoking Ozzy to stalk her like he's just snorted a line of ants...

... and lob her into a pool. Does water kill a ghost? Wouldn't she just pass through the water and come back to haunt him later?

And after a salute that even the ponciest military wanker would have to admire...

... a horse has a nice lie down (or dies, we can't be entirely sure) and that's the end of play. What's all that about? Christ only knows.

Friday, 22 March 2019

TSP's Presidential Candidate Sweep Spectacular

Picking a candidate to go for in an election that doesn't directly affect you is an underrated sport. So, with about 325 contenders already announced for the Democratic Presidential nomination we're giving you the chance to take sides via the wonders of a random draw.

Even if you a) don't give a rats about the politics, or b) are on the other side and hope they all burn in the fiery pits of hell, this will help you take an interest in the contest that will be on everyone's lips for the next 18 months.

So, in what will likely be our last blog post of 2019, the TSP team invite you to take the challenge by Monday 1 April.

To keep it to candidates who may conceivably make it to the first ballot we'll initially take the first 20 contestants, and put anybody after that on the standby list to get a real wacky contender. Enter below. Winner receives bugger all.

The field:

@supermercado99 - Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren
@demondwayne - Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris
@BennCC8 - Joe Biden, John Hickenlooper (ELIMINATED)
@staroflorida - Beto O'Rourke, Pete Buttigieg
@sjhross - Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker
@bookshopaddict - Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro
@notjunior - Jay Inslee, Andrew Yang
@JRRivett - Marianne Williamson, Terry McAuliffe (ELIMINATED)

Saturday, 19 January 2019

TennisMania 2019

Tennis could do with a rev up, so instead of nonsense like Fast Four let's improve it by introducing a professional wrestling atmosphere.

The following pay per view extravaganza will be held on the Monday night immediately after the Australian Open finishes. In fact, why not just cancel that tournament now and play this instead.

Main Event

Loser leaves the Davis Cup

Lleyton Hewitt vs Bernard Tomic 

It's been threat, allegation and counter-threat from both sides of this red hot sporting feud. Now we settle it with a five set match to the death. No super tiebreakers, no injury time outs, no code violations. The loser is banned FOREVER from taking part in, or attending, Davis Cup matches.

Fresh from his challenge match earlier on the card, special guest umpire Nick Kyrgios will be in the chair for this one. Does he call it straight down the line, favour one of the competitors, or get bored and walk off?

Semi Main Events

The Woodies Collide

Mark Woodbridge vs Mark Woodforde

They did their finest work together, now we discover who the real leader of the team is, as the Grand Slam legends go into battle for the right to be the one true Woodie.

Name the Stadium Match

Margaret Court vs Rennae Stubbs

TennisMania Commissioner John Alexander has put the naming rights to Margaret Court Arena on the line. It's personal freedom vs the word of God, as Margaret turns to divine intervention to try and keep her name up in lights against persistent critic Rennae. Is Margaret game to shake hands if she loses, or is she afraid of 'catching The Gay'?

Preliminary Contests

Winner Takes All One Off Grand Slam Winner Challenge

Pat Cash vs Mark Edmonson

The 1976 Australian Open against Wimbledon 1987. The winner goes home with both titles.

Handicap Match

John Newcombe, Pat Rafer and Tony Roche vs Mark Phillipoussis and John Fitzgerald

The feuds and bitterness over the Davis Cup scene of the early 2000s were never sorted out. Until now.

Tag Team Doubles Extravaganza

"Fiery" Fred Stolle and Sandon Stolle vs Mark Kratzmann and Andrew Kratzmann

Families go to war. Who will become a dynasty?

Ripped Shirt Match

Andrew Ille vs Wayne Arthurs (w/ Peter Tramacchi)

The flamboyant Ille vs straightlaced, Glen Iris product Arthurs in a match where the first man who has to remove his shirt loses. The eminently sensible Arthurs has vowed that he will never been tearing his shirt off in public, but we'll see which man cracks first in the searing heat of a Melbourne summer. Arthurs will be accompanied by his manager and former doubles partner Peter Tramacchi.

Mixed Company Wooden Racquet Match

Rod Laver and Evonne Goolagong Cawley vs Ken Rosewall and Wendy Turnbull

Stars of the past collide in this nostalgic battle played in whites under genuine 1960s rules. Winner must do a graceful leap of the net to commiserate with his opponent.

20 Man Over The Top Legends Battle Royale

Carsten Ball, Darren Cahill, Scott Draper, Josh Eagle, Matthew Ebden, Roy Emerson, Richard Fromberg, Sam Groth, Chris Guccione, Paul Hanley, Alun Jones, Brydan Klein, Todd Larkham, Peter Luczak, Marinko Matosevic, Wally Masur, Jamie Morgan, Peter McNamara, Paul McNamee and Peter Tramacchi

No tennis, just manly grappling as these stars of the past occupy one half of the court and try to eliminate their opponents by tossing them over the net.

Six woman, losers must de-hyphenate match

Siobhan Drake-Brockman, Dianne Fromholz Ballestrat and Jo-Anne Faull vs Kerry-Anne Guse, Michelle Jaggard-Lai and Judy Tegart-Dalton

Which three competitors will be forced to drop part of their name? International guest Zina Garrison-Jackson and Brenda Schultz-McCarthy will be guest commentators.

Reinstatement Match

Nick Lindahl vs Simon Youl 

Lindahl is serving a seven year ban for trying to rig a match in Toowoomba, and as he's petitioned to be allowed back into the sport, Commissioner Alexander has announced that he'll be reinstated if he can beat 80s champion Youl. The Tasmanian and former World Number 80 has returned from retirement to stand up for the integrity of the game.

Silly Name Smackdown

Destanee Aiava vs Storm Sanders

Loser must adopt a realistic first name.

Women's Survivor Series team challenge

Liz Smylie (c), Alenka Hubacek , Rachel McQuillan and Annabel Ellwood vs Jelena Dokic (c), Evie Dominikovic, Trudi Musgrave and Anne Minter

Two teams of four battle for bragging rights in an elimination format

Respect Match

Thanassi Kokkinakis vs Stan Wawrinka

The Australian was alleged to have famously engaged in hanky panky with the Swiss star's girlfriend. We sort that controversy out, with the two to play until one admits that he respects his opponent. The girl in question will go home with... whoever she wants.

Hair vs Hair Celebrity Challenge Match

Nick Kyrgios vs Dawn Fraser (w/ Roger Rasheed and Andrew Johns)

The loser will be shaved BALD in the middle of the court. Will Dawn lose her grandmotherly locks, or is Nick's barnet in danger? Will Dawn's entourage of Nick haters tip the balance in her favour?

Battle of the retired TV hosts"Male Model from Mudgee" Ken Sutcliffe vs Bruce McAvaney

Bruce always had a higher profile with Australian fans due to his role in the home Slam, but the discerning tennis lover was hanging out for Ken's Channel 9 led coverage of the international slams. And if you wanted to know what was going in tennis between the slams then stiff shit buy a magazine.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

TSP's Hottest 100

NB: if you're on a 90s speed internet connection this page is likely to take until the second Bicentennial to open.

Politically Cory Bernardi is a bit of a kent, but I suspect he actually holds the sort of high respect for gimmickery that I admire in a person. Which is where his rival Hottest 100 countdown comes in. There's no better - and more shameless - gimmick than doing something specifically designed to annoy people, then sitting back and watching carnage unfold.

The suggested playlist he uploaded to Spotify was given the boot so quickly that I can't even find the full list to pass judgement on it. I can only assume no real thought went into it, and he just added any Australian track he could find to make a point. This led to the bloke out of Savage Garden threatening to get 'the publishers' in, as if putting your track on Spotify isn't an open invitation for anyone to put it on a playlist.

The irony of the 'businesses should be able to discriminate' crowd being discriminated against wasn't lost, but it's a bit harsh on the people who are looking for a spot of light entertainment as they shelter in place at the prospect of same-sex marriage ripping society to bits. Presumably while also fanging for the new series of Married At First Sight to come on.

The only mistake he made was not to put ads on the voting page, losing the opportunity to make money out of everyone coming along to yell "HA HA COP THAT YOU PRICK!" while voting for Yothu Yindi. Maybe Triple M will do that for their Australia Day countdown, the one that's made people upset because they're shelving their usual January 26 playlist of political lectures and self-immolation.

Instead of deleting the top 100 songs of political party leaders, the process should be encouraged. In fact it should form part of the election campaign, lose one debate and instead have all the big hitters come on and justify their list. Nobody's going to believe anything on Malcolm Turnbull's list after the AC/DC debacle, so what better TV would you ever see than him having to explain how I'm So Excited (The Bum Dance) by Sara-Marie and the Sirens got to #58? Which is 46 places lower than it got to on the actual Australian singles chart you sick freaks. Bill Shorten comes across the sort of guy who'd have picked The Theme From Burke's Backyard before recent revelations.

And so, because I'll be standing on the Depressed Melbourne Fans/#fistedforever Alliance ticket in the next Senate elections (but more importantly because countdowns make me randy) here's my apolitical contribution to the collection of Australian Hottest 100s. Play it on whatever day of the year you like.

House rules
  • Nobody ever reads the rules, but let's be quite clear - this is my personal 100 and should not be confused with sales, critical acclaim or your own favourites. If you don't like it do a Cory and organise your own damn countdown
  • For the sake of variety, a maximum of five songs are allowed from the same artist. It's ok if they appear under different bands, or as solo artists. Otherwise the pool will be so small that I Hate Cats by Rodney Rude will finish top 10
  • Initially I stamped 'NOT AUSSIE ENOUGH' on Dragon and Crowded House. Then it turned out they were both in the ARIA Hall of Fame so they're back in. No hard feelings.
  • Spoiler - Savage Garden will not be calling to complain, and if you've come looking for Horses close the page and go boil yourself in oil
  • For those of you keen on diagnosing problematic scenarios, you'll notice this collection is stacked with male artists. Direct your complaints about toxic masculinity to PO Box 999 in your capital city and I'll send you several pieces of A4 paper (single sided only because my printer is shit) containing my top 100 songs by women of all nationalities.
Have at it:

100. Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls - Dumb Things (1987)

These days if you turned up with an all-white male backing band called the Coloured Girls you'd be in significant trouble. But don't let that - or a close association with the long forgotten Young Einstein - put you off, this is a great tune with a memorable chorus. Also recommended, the bit where he howls the word "howling". It's the simple things.

If you're into that sort of thing there's also a Yahoo Serious-free version of the video which appears to be done for the US market and should have been strangled at birth. It must have worked, the song charted higher on the Billboard Modern Rock chart than it did in Australia.

99. Men At Work - Down Under (1981)

Familiarity breeds contempt. But even taking the cultural impact off the table you can't fight nature, this is just good clean pop fun. The courts say the melody was nicked from Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree, to which we ask how come Iggy Pop never cleaned out Jet for racking the tune of Lust For Life lock stock and fucking barrel? And that's the last you'll be hearing of Jet for the next 98 entries.

98. Divinyls - Sleeping Beauty (1985)

Public perception suggests every Divinyls track featured Chrissie Amphlett screaming her head off with her knickers on show. We'll get to all that eventually. This track still heavily implies a legover has happened (or is currently in play), but in a far gentler way than their other greatest hits. Several years later all subtlety was thrown out the window and they just called the song I Touch Myself.

97. Ratcat - That Ain't Bad (1990)

Their brief run was effectively out of fuel by the end of 1991, but at least it generated two singles worthy of consideration amongst the best. They racked up a #1 album soon after, before putting the feet up and disappearing into the background again.

Unless I'm completely making it up the 1991 TV Week Logie Awards had some sort of musical category, and that I was inspired to buy a stamp, lick an envelope and write in to vote for Ratcat. Several years later TV Week implemented a voting system where you had to type in a number off the front of the magazine. The problem was they didn't bother to randomise the numbers, so you just had to go into the shop, write one down, then add a digit every time. Cease and desist letters were sent by the publishers, and urban legend suggests somebody was put on by the magazine just to weed out votes for Hot Dogs off Big Brother. Then they discovered how to make a motza off SMS voting and laughed all the way to the bank.

96. Hoodoo Gurus - Tojo (1983)

Always reminds me of that Cyclone Tracy movie where the guy innocently rings up from interstate, asks what Santa brought for Christmas, and gets the immortal reply "A BLOODY CYCLONE!"

95. Flash and the Pan - Walking In The Rain (1979)

The Grace Jones version is way better, but she can't even claim a tenuous link to Australia so the original will do for now. Warning - if you like your songs full of action you're shit out of luck here, it doesn't really go anywhere.

94. Faker - Hurricane (2005)

From the 'randomly seen on Rage while flicking through the channels' file. I'd have probably kept going the first time I heard that wonky first line, but the video shot in the State Library (my second favourite Melbourne building behind the Arts Centre fact fans!) kept my interest and by the end I'd gotten right into it. That's how wonky this countdown is, if it had been filmed in any other library I'd have pushed on and likely never listened to it again. Let me tell you, realising that this is from a full 12 years ago makes me feel SO OLD. The first time I heard the name Chet Faker I just assumed it was this guy. Apparently not.

93. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Stagger Lee (1996)

Forget Nick clubbing in Kylie's head and disposing of the body in a pond, this was the standout of the thrilling Murder Ballads era. Well, thrilling if you were 15 and keen on gratuitous violence anyway. It was a version of a hundred year old song, but dripped with menace like nothing else on offer at the time. Suffice to say you could only get it via Triple J, because commercial radio wouldn't touch this sort of thing with a 10 foot bargepole.

To prove that nothing good comes of festivals, watch Nick do it at Glastonbury in 2013 in front of a bunch of gurning fucks waving flags and a plastic shark on a pole.

92. End Of Fashion - Oh Yeah (2005)

Another one I picked up at random in an era where I was doing my best to avoid new music. The singer has an incredibly punchable face, the opening line is probably the worst in this list and to begin with the music is a bit Pixies - Where Is My Mind, but it gets better. It's all tip and no iceberg as the best work is done in the chorus, but it's a great chorus so ultimately balance is achieved.

91. Tina Arena - Heaven Help My Heart (1995)

Surely only a tiny percentage of the listeners to Martin/Molloy had even the remotest interest in the music. You'd sit there doing the international gesture for 'get on with it' at the radio whenever they spun Meredith Brooks, Merrill Bainbridge, Alanis Morisette or asked the time-honoured question "What If God Was One Of Us?" Well he wouldn't had stood for the Nicki French version of Total Eclipse of the Heart, that is for sure.

Err, anyway, occasionally one of these female demographic focused tracks would hit the spot (I've decided that the shouty Mother Mother by Tracy Bonham deserves another look 20+ years on). I'd never have admitted it to my classmates lest they wrap me up in a carpet and roll me down a hill, but this was a great pop song.

90. Cold Chisel - Home and Broken Hearted (1978)

My first exposure to the extended Chisel catalogue was that greatest hits album with a cover that looked like Piss Christ by Andres Serrano. This wasn't on there, so I didn't hear and appreciate it until years later. It's rough as guts, but once you tune into the lyrics the story sticks together perfectly across three and a half minutes. Chisel got better, but this is the best of their 70s stuff.

89. You Am I - Rumble (1998)

A rare music video where Tim Rogers looks like he can be bothered. This song was one of the reasons that I let myself be talked into spending New Year's Eve 1999 at the Falls Festival. My then girlfriend's dad was a security guard, so a side-door was MYSTERIOUSLY left open to allow us gratis entry.

Research suggests they were only third on the bill behind the Violent Femmes (fuck me, what is this country's obsession with them?) and The Tea Party, but if they weren't the headliners I certainly stopped paying attention when they finished. It was not a great crowd to be in with an apocalyptic computer meltdown looming, two guys climbed on top of a giant tent and almost double bounced each other off, then some dickhead who'd failed his Illegal Fireworks licence test tipped them over and they fired horizontally into the crowd. In the end the only Y2K issue was going to work at Video Planet in Tooronga Village the next day and discovering the fax machine had necked itself.

88. Midnight Oil - Dreamworld (1987)

It's a fair guess that Peter Garrett hanging shit on everyone even marginally aligned with the right of politics would not have featured prominently in the Cory Countdown. In this one Pete accurately predicts Docklands by warning of apartments being built on every square foot of free land.

In this case I can understand where Cory and the Conservatives (shit band name) are coming from. It's hard to completely remove yourself from the politics of songs. But in the case of the Oils the songs are so good that even if they occasionally bash you over the head with the message only the most wound-up ideological warrior wouldn't be able to turn their political views off for four minutes and enjoy the experience.

87. Little River Band - Playing To Win (1984)

No interest in LRB's glory era (or when everyone started suing each other), but you can't argue with the #1 song on the ARIA 80s Footy Highlights countdown. If you're lucky you might see brief snatches of Robbie Flower roaming the wing, but it's more likely to feature endless Essendon vs Hawthorn footage. In fact it may just have been this package (coming to you courtesy of National: The Big Entertainer) featuring Jacko squaring up to a nonplussed Danny Hughes. Meanwhile, could they not have given John Farnham a more flattering microphone? It looks like he's singing into a giant Pollywaffle.

86. Spiderbait - Monty (1995)

I never understood the national obsession with Spiderbait, and can't properly explain why this still appeals to me now. Maybe it's the memories of being 14 and seeing a video with two robots kicking shit out of each other.

85. Lynne Hamilton - On The Inside (1979)

Technically TV themes shouldn't qualify, but a) it was released as a single and went to #4, and b) is from my favourite Australian TV of all time so cram it with walnuts detractors. Evokes memories of my top five inmates - 1) Rita Connors, 2) Bea Smith, 3) Sandy Edwards, 4) Helen Smart and 5) Queenie "Hello chickens!" Marshall

84. The Birthday Party - The Friend Catcher (1981)

By the time Murder Ballads came around Nick Cave could sing a song about killing somebody and you knew it was an act, but at this abrasive stage it sounded like all he wanted in the world was for the opportunity to knife somebody in a dark alley. Christ only knows what it was all meant to mean, but it's like taking a wrong turn and accidentally walking into the house from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

83. Weddings, Parties, Anything - Monday's Experts (1993)

Reputedly a 'Melbourne thing', but perfectly nails the worldwide phenomenon of arseholes who don't have any solutions before something happens and know how it should have been done after.

82. The Whitlams - Melbourne (1997)

"In love with this girl, and with her town as well" is such a great line. I loved this song, and the album, at the time. Have cooled on both but it's still a worthy contender.

81. AC/DC - Jailbreak (1976)

This one's for you Bon fans. And the next one isn't.

80. AC/DC - Who Made Who (1986)

Your views may differ, especially if you were around at the time, but I prefer the post-Bon version of AC/DC. This track correctly identified a dystopian future where artificial intelligence goes rogue and fucks us all up years before Terminator 2: Judgement Day. You can have Bon if that's what you want, but to be it's all about a Geordie in an Andy Capp style cloth hat screeching as if his larynx has been crushed in an industrial accident.

79. Custard - Apartment (1995)

As lo-fi as all buggery, but gives me warm nostalgic feelings. Best listened to without the video, you couldn't expect them to put on a Spielberg production with a rock bottom budget, but it is so cheap and nasty that it makes me angry.

78. The Sports - Who Listens To The Radio (1978)

Not nearly as many people as 40 years ago. The performance on this one is crucial, there's another version and I wouldn't rate it anywhere near my top 100. From the same lead singer who later brought you the "I feel better, so much better now" Medibank jingle.

77. INXS - Baby Don't Cry (1992)

Of everyone in this countdown INXS wouldn't be my #1 act, but they had the most singles that were in contention. There was the hits, but also plenty that did rock all on the charts and have all but been forgotten. My familiarity with their obscure releases came too late to be of any benefit to Michael Hutchence, when he died Rage played every INXS video they had on file and I taped it to watch again and again, discovering a new appreciation for different tracks every time.

This was nowhere near their best received song, only reaching #30 on the charts and totally passing me by at the time, but now I rate it amongst their best. Meanwhile in reference to the video, even when he's wearing a suit that looks like the David Jones logo how desirable is Michael Hutchence? It would be awkward if I went back in time and retrospectively turned for him given that I was 16 when he died, but still...

76. The Choirboys - Run To Paradise (1987)

There was a very brief time in the mid 2000s where I'd be seen 'out', and gee whizz didn't pissed people love singing along to this? They'd go off for the opening and the first few lines like the crowd at a wedding when Loveshack comes on, hush up on the bits about rampant drug addiction, then come back in for the chorus. Now I just stay home and compile obscure top 100 lists.

75. Mark Of Cain - LMA (1995)
This will officially mark the only time in your life where you'll read a countdown that has Tina Arena in the same half of the draw as rough as guts shouty rock produced by Henry Rollins. You can only assume I got this off Triple J, where in god's name else would I have heard it?

74. The Easybeats - Friday On My Mind (1965)

The earliest song to qualify for the list, and the only one of two contenders from the 60s. You can have your Billy Thorpes and Daddy Cools, they don't do a cracker for me. At the risk of having my house fire-bombed, when it comes to Vanda and Young I prefer Flash and the Pan, but it's impossible to deny that this stands up to anything the British or Americans were doing at the same time.

73. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Into My Arms (1997)

There's something to be said for music to throw yourself into the sea to, even if you're not currently considering filling your pockets with rocks and jumping in. Starting with the funeral of Michael Hutchence (shortly after the surprise intervention of 'serial pest' Peter Hore from an upstairs balcony), it's become the key song to not hear playing because you're the one in the box.

72. Cruel Sea - Better Get A Lawyer (1993)

Even though this only went to #29 on the charts I do remember it coming out. Even at an age where you don't yet fully understand why people would need a good lawyer you knew somebody had done something they shouldn't have.

71. The Loved Ones - The Loved One (1966)

Not sure if they achieved the complete musical turducken by also calling their album The Loved One(s), but that's not important right now. I suspect in the 60s this was the sort of gritty, sleazy vocal that would have caused parents to throw their kids' records out the window like a discus.

70. INXS - Bitter Tears (1991)
Another of the 90s INXS collection discovered via late night VHS recording, and again one that was practically ignored by the punters at the time. It barely scraped into the top 40 but is ripe for re-evaluation now. Unlike Custard they had no excuse for releasing such a low budget community television quality music video in support.

69. Silverchair - The Greatest View (2002)

By this point the Chair had money to sink into ritzy production, but the bloom was off the rose. Nevertheless this was a great lead single from an otherwise meh album.

68. The Whitlams - I Make Hamburgers (1994)

At the risk of going a bit Cory, you'd get hauled over the coals for releasing this now. Good luck getting Triple J to play something about a guy shagging everything that moves, complete with the sort of bouncing bed spring noises that used to come from the flat above us when I was old enough to know what that meant. There would be petitions.

67. Hoodoo Gurus - What's My Scene (1987)

Another one that you don't think much about because you've heard it played everywhere from pubs, to NRL ads for more than 25 years. Not even my favourite Hoodoo Gurus track, but the iconic chorus deserves to be more than background music

66. Boom Crash Opera - Dancing In The Storm (1989)
This completely passed me by at the time, presumably because I was busy buying Cassingles of the Technotronic Megamix and Ride On Time by Black Box. It wasn't until a good 15 years later when a politician got in trouble for using it without permission that I heard it for the first time. Singalong chorus surprisingly not a favourite of shithouse pub cover bands.

65. Divinyls - Boys In Town (1981)

The sound of a country town where many dubious things are going on but everyone (including the police, because they're involved in most of it) is turning a blind eye. Outsiders not welcome. Possible cousin marriage. Not to be underrated - the fluorescent light tube mic stand in the video.

64. Midnight Oil - Hercules (1985)

With a hundred songs to get through, I'm comfortable in just saying that the highlight of this is how he sings "SAAAAAAAAAABMARINES!" The lowlight is the epilepsy inducing video - you have been warned.

63. Skyhooks - Women In Uniform (1978)

Skyhooks never did it for me - perhaps it's residual anger after they released the rock bottom Jukebox In Siberia right in the middle of my most productive Cassingle purchasing period - but this is undeniably good. It achieved to such a high level that Iron Maiden (with some shitbox early lead singer) covered it really badly two years later.

62. Hoodoo Gurus - Death Defying (1986)

Nothing promises a good time like the lines "all my friends are dead, or they're dying". Video also features a guy in an LA Dodgers cap, which is great news if I can ever be bothered updating my long abandoned Sports merchandise in music videos blog. That would see Hoodoo Gurus go into the Dodgers section alongside Dr Dre, Eazy-E and Ice Cube.

61. Mr Floppy - Get A Dog Up Ya (1993)

The greatest Australian phrase. In music form. Seemingly exists only to taunt 'Billy'. Like TISM with additional soundbytes from infomercials.

60. TISM - 40 Years - Then Death (1987)

Speaking of TISM, there are strict instructions that this is to be played at my funeral if I die anywhere around 40. If I defy expectations and go longer I'll have to take another look at the playlist.

59. The Birthday Party - Dead Joe (1982)

The suggestion is that this is a tribute (of sorts) to Nick Cave's father Joe who died a few years earlier. It sounds more to me like the narrator has come across the horribly mutilated body of an automobile accident victim. Did his father die in a car accident? I'm not reading the autobiography to find out.

58. You Am I - Heavy Heart (1988)

Like Karl throwing Homer an umbrella back when The Simpsons was good (post idea: rate all Simpsons episodes from the start until it became unwatchable) this gets me right there every time.

57. Australian Crawl - Errol (1981)

To be fair this is bogan stuff, but enough time has passed that the slop of today would have no idea who Errol Flynn was so it's ok to like it again. Aspiring to be like one of this country's maddest international rooters is a noble enough pursuit (if you ignore all that), but it's just such a joyful track that they could be singing about anything. Double that with a music video that is just "the lads pissfart around in Surfers Paradise" and it's a winner all round. You suspect fornication may have taken place in or around the video shoot.

56. Kylie Minogue - Did It Again (1997)

She's had bigger sellers, but hands down the best song and video Kylie has ever done. The Minogue multiplier gimmick in the video is also a winner. For the record #1 Sex Kylie (isn't that right Michael Hutchence? Michael, open this door right now and answer me), #2 Indie Kylie, #3 Cute Kylie.

55. Australian Crawl - Things Don't Seem (1981)

Proof that the lyrics of a song need not be in any way comprehensible to make it a success. Popular music's first interactive experiment, where you could make up your own words and it didn't detract from the experience.

The very first thing I ever searched for on the internet was the lyrics to Smells Like Teen Spirit, but for many years I never even bothered to work out what was going on here. It felt better not to know, and to just assume James Reyne had a medical emergency mid-recording. Apparently Australian Crawl was massive in Brazil, presumably because they thought he was singing in an obscure local dialect.

53. Hunters and Collectors - Do You See What I See (1988)

Maybe the connection with the AFL Grand Final ruined it for me, but I can't stand Holy Grail. This, on the other hand, delivers the goods from start to finish and couldn't be ruined by heavy association with sporting events my team will never participate in.

52. Baby Animals - Early Warning (1991)

I failed to properly appreciate this in 1991. Until the mid 2000s when it came on at the arse end of a Music Max Top 100 Songs To Mow Your Lawn To (or something similar) countdown and I realised it was a fair belter. Unless I imagined it there's also a rancid US market version of the video that should be avoided at all costs.

51. Ian Moss - Tucker's Daughter (1989)

More divisive than the date of Australia Day, but I'm into it and it's my countdown so there. I'm not surprised Mr. Tucker would be antsy about the relationship, she appears to be about half Mossy's age. Video also contains barely covered norgs, which would have been welcomed on television in the late 80s.

50. Grinspoon - Just Ace (1997)

Triple J's commitment to playing music that sounds like it was recorded in a basement occasionally delivers something worth listening to. About once every five years by my calculation. At 1.46 this never wears out its welcome. Shockingly it was only when searching for the clip to embed above that I discovered he says he "had a go kart" not "had a good day". Which makes significantly less sense. If I was going back 20 years there are myriad other things I'd want to tell myself aged 16, but Jesus H Christ I wish I'd listened closely enough to pick that up sometime since.

49. Something With Numbers - Apple of the Eye (Lay Me Down) (2006)

For a time in the mid 2000s I'd tape the Rage play-through of the Triple J Hottest 100 and scan it to confirm my suspicions that 95 of the songs were actually piss. This was a notable exception, and I played the bejesus out of it for a couple of years before completely forgetting it existed until now. Don't be put off by the lead singer looking like Ben Brown and dancing like he's just stuck a fork in the socket. The top YouTube comment also suggest it was the Big Brother eviction song in 2007, but none of us are perfect. Bonus feature in the music video - the lady from the Ford ads getting it on.

49. The Ferrets - Don't Fall In Love (1977)
I have no explanation as to why I like this so much, I suspect it's because of the way the guy says "NO TIES!?" Part of the charm is that it sounds as if it was dashed off carelessly in an afternoon, and in researching this post (no really) it turns out they recorded it in three hours for a B-Side. Fun fact - Molly Meldrum took a year to produce the album before the band gave up and finished it themselves. Then when it was time to release it he hadn't organised an album cover. If that saga was covered in that Molly mini-series I might go back and watch it.

48. Tumbleweed - Hang Around (1995)

A rare success from the unsuccessful "Adam listens to Triple J" era, as I tried to convert from giant nerdlinger to being on the pulse of what the other kids were into. Didn't work, and when Bullet With Butterfly Wings by the Smashing Pumpkins lost to Wonderwall in the Hottest 100 I gave up and went back to listening to Gold 104. Also, the video has a low budget giant chicken so they knew exactly what I liked.

47. Divinyls - Pleasure and Pain (1985)

Nobody does facial expressions in music videos like this now, because everyone would unmercifully rip the piss out of them for it. I don't know why, even if she is dressed like a student at Maritime Secondary College it's still a spectacular performance. It's all about how the performers sell it. This track drips with sleaze in a way that doesn't force it down your throat (as it were) or heavily wink to the camera about how great it is to be controversial. Which is quiet the achievement given that at one point she's upskirted while crossing a walkway.

46. Australian Crawl - The Boys Light Up (1980)

The sound of drunken Australian anarchy. I can appreciate that connection having missed the early 80s due to being a toddler, but simultaneously understand how to some this would trigger bad memories. Like when people say they can't take Chisel because all the local fuckwits used to sing Khe Sanh, this is the soundtrack to an era where even ordinary men were probably committing sexual assault at a rate now only seen amongst Hollywood producers, and the locals headed out for a spot of minority bashing after a night on the turps. Still, taken in isolation it's a fantastic track. The lyrics are practically meaningless, but it thumps along like a night that's likely to take in several dozen drinks and a reading of the riot act.

45. Madison Avenue - Reminiscing (2001)

The four single, one album Madison Avenue glory era is probably best remembered now for the singer trying desperately trying to drink water while performing a Rock Eisteddfod style medley of hits in her underwear at the ARIA Awards. They should be remembered for this instead, a rare example of a cover slaughtering the original. It was their lowest charting single (albeit at #9, which still represents an impressive career strike rate of 100% top 10 hits), the only one that didn't chart overseas, and the last thing they ever released. Not sure we needed any more Don't Call Me Baby but this was good.

44. The Go-Betweens - Cattle and Cane (1983)

The subtle art house movie of Australian music. The first time I didn't like it, but knew there was something there that meant it deserved repeat listens. Every time another bit of the puzzle unlocked until I really appreciated it, even though it meanders around and never really gets anywhere. Maybe you have to live in the bush to properly understand it? That's not going to happen, so #44 will have to do.

43 .Silverchair - Tomorrow (1995)

Part of my fascination with this was how Daniel Johns and The Other Guys were barely older than me and producing stuff that sounded like the apocalypse was coming. And what was I doing, trying to visualise Year 8 homeroom teacher Miss King in the buff. A'la Smells Like Teen Spirit the lyrics are completely meaningless and only there to complement the sound, but what a sound it is. Two years later at the same age the 'Chair were when this was released my greatest achievement was using PKZIP DOS commands to span a game across several floppy disks for sharing with classmates. Haven't done all that much more since. The countdown will now take a short break while I suffer a midlife crisis.

I think 23 years later I'm safe to admit 'buying' this album with a Target gift card thieved out of somebody's letterbox. It's not big, it's not clever, and if that person tracks me down I will gladly buy them any ARIA Top 40 album of their choice.

42. The Hitmen - I Don't Mind (1981)

In the complicated family tree of Australian music I'm lead to believe that The Hitmen were an off-shoot from Radio Birdman, and you can see the connection in this track. As what I suppose you'd call "surf rock" it's worth 2.39 of your time. The video is also required viewing for a) the mystified butcher holding up a steak, b) the kid crying over a birthday cake and c) the blue whale dress.

41. AC/DC - Big Balls (1976)

When it comes to the Bon era some may prefer Long Way To The Top or Jailbreak. Not me, I want the single-entendre song about testicles. Shows where my life is at.

40. Regurgitator - Blubber Boy (1996)

I absolutely could not take anything else they released, but this is a beauty. There's nothing complicated about it, just one of those songs that actually benefits from sounding like it was recorded in somebody's garden shed.

39. Radio Birdman - Aloha Steve and Danno (1978)

It's certainly apt to call this surf rock, given that it's about Hawaii 5-0. One of those tracks that you can appreciate as a good tune 30 years later, but which must have levelled people when it came out. But not many, the album it was on did nothing and they split up shortly after.

38. INXS - Suicide Blonde (1990)

80s INXS is more popular and commercially successful, but I have a sneaky love for their 1990 - hotel debacle catalogue. This is the confident sound of a frontman at his peak, with anything (and I mean ANYTHING) he wants at his fingertips. It would later go tits up, but for now Hutchence can do no wrong.

37. You Am I - Purple Sneakers (1995)

There are generally two reasons to feel a twinge of embarrassment when listening to a song. One is because it's so god damn awful that you feel bad for everyone involved, the other is because the narrative tells a perfect story about somebody feeling miserable. This is most assuredly the latter.

36. TISM - Let's Club It To Death (1990)

The adage "funny don't draw money" is usually correct, and indeed it's not like this stormed the top of the singles charts but nobody mixed comedy and songs that were actually worth listening to like TISM. If it was Who Farted? by The Vaughns you would ask for every remaining copy to be melted and poured down the throat of the person who wrote it, but they kept the balance of gags and music subtle enough to be at least critically successful. Well, #86 on the album charts successful anyway.

35. Living End - All Torn Down (1999)

The first wave of Green Day-lite Living End songs didn't do a cracker for me, and to be fair nothing after this has either. Which makes this wistful (!?) track about new developments replacing old buildings even better. Impressively it came just two years after they were doing videos causing chaos in schools, but nothing of its ilk has followed in the 19 years since.

34. Disco Montego featuring Katie Underwood - Beautiful (2002)

Where one of the members of TV pop fly-by-nighters Bardot runs in the top 35 of an all-time Australian songs list. With good reason, this is the best Australian pop tune of the 2000s. And for the record the 1999 version of me has just called in to point out that Katie was the top act in Bardot by so far it wasn't funny.

33. The Go-Betweens - Spring Rain (1986)

The Go-Betweens are like The Fall, a band who I discovered a handful of great songs from, expected to fall in love with the entire back catalogue, and was left non-plussed by most of it. This - one of only two charting singles, reaching the lofty heights of #92 - is one of the best, nothing over the top about it, just a nice pop song. As an added bonus enjoy The Go-Betweens and Andrew Denton in a syrup, doing one of the worst segments in Australian TV history.

32. The Hitmen - Pay Up Or Shut Up (1982)

Criminally not even a single off their second (and last under that incarnation of the band) album. This may be the only time it's ever considered in the conversation about great Australian tracks but I will go to war to argue that deserves a place.

31. Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls - To Her Door (1987)

In recent years there has been a movement to be ironic about Christmas things. Die Hard is suddenly the greatest Chrimbo movie ever, and everyone falls about for How To Make Gravy on December 21. What rubbish, this is the heartfelt Paul Kelly reunion song you want. Even if the song is non-committal on whether Jack pulls it off and gets the family back together but you'd like to assume he does - especially after spending a year in rehab. That's some ring-a-ding-ding commitment to getting clean, let's hope the first time the kids start screaming for money to play the pinnies he didn't get depressed and hit the piss again.

30. Redgum - I Was Only Nineteen (1983)

Ever since I can remember Khe Sanh has been the popular pisshead selection war song, but at least for all the problems the narrator of that track has he's not still wandering the jungle waiting to be blown to buggery by a Viet Cong booby trap. He's guy is off to Hong Kong for a spot of relaxing sex tourism, this is the legitimately affecting masterpiece of the genre. It was only years later that I discovered Mick Molloy's "Channel 7 chopper" gag on The Late Show was a reference to this.

29. Midnight Oil - Short Memory (1982)
I'm open to either side of politics if they can successfully answer the eternal question "what's in it for me?", but this is the sort of anger that a right-wing artist could never manage to pull off without going over the top and making a Rex Hunt of themselves. See for example any 'patriotic' country track released in the wake of 9/11. As with all Midnight Oil songs, if you don't like the politics turn your brain off and enjoy it for the tune.

28. TISM - The TISM Boat Hire Offer (1990)

Another Hot Dogma album track, with more where that came from. What an album it was, and this is a perfect opener. Key line - "Bon Scott would be alive this week if he just went fishing from Mordialloc Creek"

27. Dragon - April Sun In Cuba (1977)

I'm still not comfortable with a native New Zealand band that later relocated to Sydney getting a start, but who am I to argue with the Australian Recording Industry Association? Substances may have played a part in the production of this track and/or video.

26. Painters and Dockers - Nude School (1987)

I don't recall being aware of any music in 1987, but this seems like another example of something other capital cities would have looked down on Melbourne for. Which is fine, especially for the magic visual of a drum kit with the word PORK written across it. It got to #29 nationally so somebody interstate must have supported it.

YouTube also tells me they performed it on the 1988 Good Friday Appeal telecast. Given that the song compares the map of Tasmania to a muff (in the grandest Australian tradition), amongst other crimes against decency it probably led to the switchboards melting down with people complaining rather than offering to donate. In the interests of the family audience they kept their clothes on this time, though if they'd gone starkers we might have got Good Friday footy a lot earlier.

25. INXS - Need You Tonight (1987)

Considering how many of their songs I had to cull from the shortlist on the five artist rule, it's a surprise that this is (*spoiler alert*) the highest charting INXS song. If you'd asked me to do this 15 years ago I suspect it would have been #1, but I've cooled off on it since. Still a great track, and a video where Hutcho's sex god credentials are boosted by the rest of the band coming off like the biggest nerds in music since Cliff Richard. Maybe that was the point? Didn't stop at least one of them getting it on with a supermodel later, so there was obviously no lasting damage.

24. Crowded House - Don't Dream It's Over (1986)

Not in any way a song about Australia, but in 2001 it was ranked the second best New Zealand and seventh best Australian song, so I guess while it qualifies for the top 25 here it can't sit in the Senate. It's a great track, but I'm not entirely sure how it made it to #2 on the US singles chart, because it's not nearly bombastic enough for that market. Maybe because it's one of the few successful music videos to feature ironing.

23. Flash and the Pan - Hey St. Peter (1977)

The least attractive band in Australian history, but we won't hold that against them. Unlike some of the songs in this list that have a beauty in being stagnant for a couple of minutes, this is all go from beginning to end. From the spoken word verses, to chorus, piano solo and a bloke playing the drums dressed as a bishop Flash and the Pan (or Flash 'n The Pan depending on who you were listening to) did it all.

22. Divinyls - Science Fiction (1983)

In which the only thing likely to get in the way of a leg-over is the threat of coming nuclear oblivion.

21. The Birthday Party - Release The Bats (1981)

Rattles along for 2.5 minutes without a second wasted. The terrifying sound of being chased down a dark alleyway by roaming mutant thugs in an apocalyptic post-nuclear wasteland.

20. Beasts of Bourbon - Chase The Dragon (1991)

The violent sensation of a being punched in the back of the head while simultaneously undergoing a surprise fully body cavity search.

19. AC/DC - Back In Black

The title track of an album that went boffo despite the perceived handicap of a replacement lead singer. 22 million purchasers could be wrong, but not in this case. The opening sounds like bad news is about to occur, before shifting to iconic vocals that have become an entrance song classic across all mediums of entertainment. Bon who?

18. Divinyls - In My Life (1984)

Not their strongest track musically or lyrically (says me, whose greatest musical achievement was dropping the thing you hit the bass drum with during the Grade 6 school production and having to improvise by hitting it with my hand. Nobody noticed) but it escalates to greatness purely based on Chrissy's balls-and-all manic performance, especially the last 50 seconds when she goes right off. You don't need the video to get the effect, but it certainly helps.

17. Cold Chisel - Bow River (Live) (1982)

It's rare that the live version is ever better, but if somebody gives you the studio version of this as a gift ask them if they've kept the receipt. The band themselves know the truth, labelling the live performance as the 'official' music video. Like most of the great Chisel songs the vocals are a joint effort between Ian Moss and Jimmy Barnes, leading to a frantic finale when Barnesey declares he'll "piss all my money up against the damn wall". Also features class leading harmonica, an instrument that in the wrong hands is almost as offensive as bagpipes.

16. Midnight Oil - King of the Mountain (1990)

This is a great track, but the best thing about it is reading the various kooky theories people have about what it means. Enjoy this page, where somebody goes to a ridiculous level to analyse every single line as if songwriters don't just often put things in that sound good and mean fuck all. After his ridiculous theory that it's about the crowds at Bathurst and/or Peter Brock (as if Garrett would give a rats about them) somebody offers a far more realistic claim about a footrace up a mountain in rural Queensland.

15. TISM - Greg! The Stop Sign (1995)

From never having heard of TISM (and really, as a kid why would you have?) to ravenously trying to collect their entire back catalogue within a couple of years this was the song that started my most rewarding musical relationship. (He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River opened the door to the mass market, but if this hadn't followed straight after I might have put that down as a novelty song on the same level as The Reefer Song and moved on.

I couldn't agree more with this review that refers to it as "thrillingly bizarre". I've got no idea where I first became aware of it, it only made #59 on the singles charts, so it's not like the weekly top 40 was forced to play it under sufferance. And I suspect if it was on Video Hits it would have been an edited version that didn't show a dog lapping away at vom. However I found it, what an eye opener to hear a song referring to classic Victorian topics like TAC ads and the Dandenong line (sure, that's not even a real line but you know...) It inspired me to spend my limited finances on a copy of Machiavelli and the Four Seasons and the rest is history.

14. Cold Chisel - Saturday Night (1984)

Like Collingwood, Cold Chisel are probably the greatest unit in their field since Federation but have been dragged through the mud by dickhead fans. Now that a new generation has updated their three slabs at a BBQ singalong from Khe Sanh to Horses (*spit*) there may be some hope for rescuing Chisel's reputation yet.

From the snatched pisswreck conversations at the start ("Well if you don't like it what are you just standing there for 20 minutes for?"), to the startlingly unusual mention of "l'esclavage d'amour" and Barnsey casually joining the Mardi Gras parade like he's Ferris Bueller - what more do you need to understand the magic of Chisel? Even if the music doesn't float your boat you'd have to be wilfully obtuse to still want to debate their bogan status after listening to this.

13. The Go-Betweens - Streets of Your Town (1988)

Songs can achieve greatness in many ways, but in this case it's the way you're plugging along like it's the jolliest thing recorded since Shiny Happy People until a casual mention of "battered wives" temporarily takes you aback. Then it goes back to being a cute love song as if nothing had ever happened. As a single it couldn't draw money with paper and a box of crayons, but has been quite rightly rehabilitated as theme or background music for practically everything made since.

12. Dragon - Rain
Underrated track with one of the great instrumental intros and a killer chorus. I always thought for reasons unknown that this was about somebody with anorexia, of which there is absolutely no proof at all in the lyrics. Tell your friends that's the actual song meaning and see if you can poison the well to the point where my point of view is considered correct.

11. Midnight Oil - Blue Sky Mine (1990)

The other half of the big two from the Blue Sky Mining album, and proof that you can in fact write a heavy handed political song (complete with randomly appearing SLOGANS in the video) that is a bona fide musical classic too. Purists will disagree, but to me this is their best work.

10. The Whitlams - No Aphrodisiac (1997)

Not even remotely to everyone's taste, but certainly their most successful period. It led to an ARIA award or two, and if I recall correctly Gough Whitlam presented one of them, surely alerting the other nominees in advance that they were going to lose in the biggest awards night fiasco until Madison Avenue.

This is a song that rewards patience, it's only in the last 90 seconds when the narrator gets the horn and goes off on one about sexual shenanigans and his "video set-up" that it escalates from reasonably good to magnificent. Never before has an Australian song sounded more like a middle-aged suburban swingers party organised through the classified ads. Which is how I assume people used to set that sort of thing up before the internet came along and kicked things up a notch.

9. Cold Chisel - When The War Is Over (1982)

Further proof that despite what people in singlets who drove utes thought, Chisel were so much more than what they've been stereotyped as. It is made by the duelling vocals of Ian Moss and Jimmy Barnes, and has a genuine emotional impact on me. So there.

8. Boys Next Door - Shivers (1979)

25 years later they'd have had to battle accusations of being emos, and would probably have been chased down the steps of Flinders Street Station by a baying mob, but by 1979 standards it's remarkable. Sometimes the opening line is just there to get you to the good bits, in this case he just comes right out and says "I've been contemplating suicide" and everyone goes "Pardon? What what was that?" Rowland S Howard wrote this at 16 - and though he reportedly meant for it to be played for laughs - it's significantly more clever than what I was doing at that age, mostly playing Championship Manager 96/97.

As a kid I only knew the Screaming Jets version, where the opening line is delivered in the fashion of a pub rock cover band from Rowville and things don't get any better from there. It wasn't until years later - surprise, surprise during a random late night viewing of Rage - that I saw this definitive version and understood that it was a great track which had been mangled beyond recognition.

7. Max Sharam - Coma (1995)

She came, she dropped one popular album and I seem to remember appeared in one kooky interview on Martin/Molloy then was off. This is the best of what was left behind, all sitars and ethereal Kate Bush style weirdness. In 1995 I was packed off to Norfolk Island for a holiday with my aunt, and fully intended to buy Max's album with the provided spending money. Of course what I didn't take into account was that islands in the middle of the ocean didn't tend to have a Brashs. Instead I bought a watch that could also control televisions with and tormented the piss out of my geography teacher.

6. AC/DC - Hells Bells (1980)

Lead singers are not like footy team coaches or Pippa from Home and Away, changing them very rarely ever ends well. As discussed earlier, hardcore AC/DC fanatics may have passionate/violent views about the merits of Brian Johnson vs Bon Scott, but imagine going out and finding a replacement for an iconic singer who's just carked it, then recording what is still the second biggest selling album ever at the first. Talk about setting yourself up for the future.

This is the first track on the album, and unless you were desperately clinging to the past you could not have asked for anything better. It doesn't go straight in full hard rock mode, noodling away with actual bells and slow moving tension for 90 seconds before really kicking off. After all that time the opening lyrics shouldn't have any impact, but the lines "I'm a rolling thunder, powering rain, I'm coming on like a hurricane" are the perfect bridge between that ominous opening and the actual screeching to follow.

5. Crowded House - Mean To Me

Lucky the ARIA Hall of Fame committee got Crowded House in, because it would have been criminal to have to exclude this on international eligibility rules - even if it is about somebody going from America to New Zealand and having a shit time, with no discernible connection to Australia. The whole thing is brilliant, but the best bit is the cold opening where it just goes straight into the lyrics without any warm-up.

4. The Saints - (I'm) Stranded (1976)
Never before has a singer sounded so bored in front of a wall of sound and it has come off so well. Given its lofty ranking this is obviously in no way a criticism, and in fact it makes the song so good. By the time I got around to hearing this practically everything had been done, but it must have blown the hats off people's heads when it came out. Meanwhile, you can't beat a music video where the singer has to finish his ciggy before stepping forward to the microphone.

3. TISM - Life Kills (1990)

For enthusiasts only. An album track buried deep at the end of Hot Dogma, an album that the band hated the production on. It was so unpopular internally that they later pissed about with the running order and track listing for their box set album collection. I don't know why, it's always been my clear favourite. Especially this, which I first heard in the late 90s after going on a post-Machiavelli and the Four Seasons TISM back catalogue binge. For many years its lyrics guided my life philosophies, which is probably why I was so deadset on dying alone and childless until I was 30. The line 'life's just death made retrospective' still affects me in strange ways now.

2. You Am I - Berlin Chair (1994)

The musical equivalent of a film that nobody watches in cinemas (it reached a grand #73 on the singles chart on release) but becomes appreciated as a classic years later. It's also a mainstay of these sorts of lists (though I bet Cory didn't rate it), and why not?

The shaky legged bloke in a disco suit at the start of the video has become an icon (has he ever been tracked down for comment?) but even if it didn't sell squat on initial release there's a tragic gulf in class between the clip - seemingly shot in a high school gym with the basketball ring just out of shot - and the quality of clip. There is a US version, unfortunately it features some bullshit Beatles gimmick and a semi-interested Tim Rogers so shaky disco man comes out on top by default. Meanwhile, between the release of this song and the advent of mass-market internet how many people knew a Berlin Chair was a real thing?

1. Cold Chisel - Choir Girl (1979)

The French bit in Saturday Night might by the prime evidence against Chisel being a purely bogan enterprise, but this is the exclamation mark on the last page of the brief. Don Walker set out to write a hit single about abortion and managed to slip it all the way to #14 on the singles charts, via airplay on two Sydney radio stations owned by the Catholic Church. Not until The Shamen got kids across the country singing "E's are good! E's are good!" would anyone pull off such a heist on the Australian listening audience.

Once you know what the subject is there's no hiding it in the lyrics. In fact it's so blindingly obvious that it really must have been a simpler time if people didn't notice. But the lyrics are secondary - especially to the person who wrote the YouTube comment "this whole time I thought it was quiet girl" - to the production. From the piano at the start, to the backing vocals it all just hangs together perfectly.

It's also hard not to enjoy the video, with Jimmy Barnes dressed like the pilot for Miami Vice, breaking into a broad grin when he delivers the serious line "one nurse to hold her", as Steve Prestwich plugs away on drums in a blue singlet like he's just ducked off from the wharf to participate. Later the video switches to the entire band singing in a defensive 2-2-1 formation, with Don Walker and Ian Moss at the back, Prestwich and Phil Small in the midfield and Barnesy leading the line as the target man up front.

There is not a finer Australian track, and in the spirit of this country's most cherished tradition I'll punch on to defend it.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 tweets of the year

... ironically being announced for once on a completely different medium. It was the year Twitter lost its mind and doubled the character the limit, instantly turning it into the sort of tedious slog that you used Twitter to get away from. As such any tweet of longer than 140 was disqualified from contention.

First, the ongoing achievement award to @Jizzlobberz for the animated GIF of the season. Dear Americans, I hate to be the one to say but you may have elected a terracotta fuckwit:

And now the top 10:

10. A tweet for all seasons

9. A sensible, sane and rational reaction to beating West Coast at Subiaco

8. The first of a surprise ham double


6. A rare appearance from a celebrity. Bonus points for the moral outrage in the replies.

5. Now see, did this need more characters? No, it's perfect as it is.
4. Enough said
3. The most watched Twitter video of the year

2. Pure genius
1. And once again, @Super70sSports captures the title. This time with a late breaking classic tweet. Thank you and goodnight twitterists.