The Triple J Hottest 100 is usually a complete farce. Most of the time the song that wins is either shit or was released a month before the voting starts and wins via the bandwagon effect. I don’t even listen to the station - and I haven’t since 1997ish - but I always fire up for the 100 just to see what sort of shonky “recorded in somebody’s basement” music I’ve missed in the last year.
The 2004 list of contenders is here.
My #1 selection for the year was undoubtedly “DUI” by Har Mar Superstar but I’ll whack in honourable mentions for “Irish Blood, English Heart” and “First of the Gang To Die” by Morrissey, “Take Your Mama” and “Comfortably Numb” by the Scissor Sisters, “Float On” by Modest Mouse, “Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do” by Goldie Lookin’ Chain, “Jolene” by the White Stripes, “TKO” by Le Tigre, “Smile Like You Mean It” by The Killers, “I Predict A Riot” by the Kaiser Chiefs, “Strasbourg” by The Rakes, “Message From A Big Day Out Portaloo” by TISM.
(UPDATE - Add “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by the Beautiful South to that)
That’s thirteen songs I can think of from this year that I liked. Of course two of them are covers, two are comedy numbers and half of them aren’t even on the Triple J shortlist but that’s the price you pay.
“Diffident Strokes” by TISM is on the list but it didn’t do much for me. And there’s a shitload of the newish Kings of Leon album that I haven’t listened to enough times for it to sink in yet.
I think it’s fair to say that with the lack of a bandwagon song of the moment that Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” will win by a mile. Other potential top ten finishers include the horror that was Spiderbait’s “Black Betty”, Missy Higgins questionably naff “Scar” and some other shit that I’ve never heard before. Possibly by the John Butler Trio - the posterchildren of the “We’re quite alternative actually. SMASH THE STATE! Now where are my Nike shoes?” university crowd.
Previous winners are as follows
The real winner: “Asshole” - Dennis Leary
My selection: “Ain’t No Love (Ain’t No Use)” - Sub Sub (#41)
The verdict: Plenty of decent options to be had. For some reason the people who did vote managed to find a space for the shithouse “Dreams” by Gabrielle and “Mr Vain” by Culture Beat.
The real winner: “Zombie” - The Cranberries
My selection: “Laid” - James (#12)
The verdict: Again a shitload more potential selections backed up behind a pissweak number one. Just try and guess what I would have voted for…
The real winner: “Wonderwall” - Oasis
My selection: “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” - Smashing Pumpkins
The verdict: The absolute mother of all countdowns. Clearly the best year of the 90’s. Have a look - massive. #1 is contentious though. I didn’t even think it was the best song on the album - and then the idiots who run Triple J went and played a comedy cover of it at the end anyway. In a kitchen in Glen Iris the 14 year old Adam cracked it.
The real winner: “Buy Me A Pony” - Spiderbait
My selections: “Popular” - Nada Surf (#48)
The verdict: And indeed I cracked it so much that looking back on this list I’ve never heard half of them - including the winner. And any countdown that finds a place for Babylon Zoo @ #16 is a bit of a farce.
The real winner: “No Aphrodisiac” - The Whitlams
My selection: Same as #1. Second place would go to “Ashes To Ashes” by Faith No More @ #31
The verdict: The first and last time I’ve ever picked #1. The rest of the hundred is fairly rank though. The fucking Sunscreen Song continues the proud history of #16 as the token “they’ll look back on that with shame” entry.
The real winner: “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” - The Offspring
My selection: “Music Sounds Better With You” - Stardust (#73)
The verdict: The comedy song gets up again. The rest of it isn’t terrible, and there’s a few highlights in there, but the rotten top 10 ruins it for me.
The real winner: “These Days” - Powderfinger
My selection: “Sexx Laws” - Beck (#53)
The verdict: And thus the bandwagon Powderfinger era begins. And hasn’t this version just got the late 90’s zeitgeist (what a word) written all over it? Killing Heidi, Korn, Macy Gray, that shithouse Bevan ’song’, The Living End. Where are they all now?
The real winner: “My Happiness” - Powderfinger
My selection: “The Time Is Now” - Moloko (#45)
The verdict: Two in a row for Australia’s softest rocking “rock band”. The “MIA” action continues with Limp Bizkit (remember them?) and Wheatus (nobody remembers them). There are decent tunes scattered right across the list but they’re buried up to their necks in slop like Green Day’s “Minority”
The real winner: “Amazing” - Alex Lloyd
My selection: “Last Nite” - The Strokes (#11)
The verdict: I’d listen to one of the top ten by choice. And it wasn’t #1 that’s for sure. In tribute to my even more vicious than now rejection of contemporary music at the time I have never heard more than a quarter of them and probably would have known about four or five at the time.
The real winner: “No One Knows” - Queens of the Stone Age
My selection: N/A
The verdict: A record surely never to be beaten - there’s not one song in there that I like. There are several that I’d tolerate but none that I’ve ever actually vote for. A dark year for me musically - lucky I was busy listening to Gold.
The real winner: “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” - Jet
My selection: “Danger! High Voltage” - Electric Six (#28)
The verdict: My god I hate that song. No really. Not only is it a total rip from “Lust For Life” and/or “A Town Called Malice” but Jet are the most annoying Australian ‘rock’ exports ever. I don’t even know why I hate them - I just do. The look, the songs. Argh I just loathe the entire operation. The only thing that could have made this result worse was if the Cat Empire ran second. Thankfully they were confined to 6th and sanity prevailed. There were enough decent songs amongst the 100 to save a total wipeout but please note the double Powderfinger + Butler Trio showing for proof that complete hippies are running this thing.