Every year in the lead up to Australia Day, Australians vote on the best songs played in the preceding year. Much like political elections, participation is mandatory and non-voters face life imprisonment, so voters spend hours researching their choices and weighing them up against objective metrics and qualitative analysis as well as consulting oracles like their local streetpress and erasers with “Yes” and “No” written on either side. The person whose top ten perfectly aligns with the Hottest 100 is then elected Australian of the Year.
12:06 - I was making a vegemite sandwich and missed #100. Is Gotye on yet?
12:10 - This is a song about fucking a guy with a beard.
12:12 - Kanye in the Hottest 100 two years in a row. Bogans spotted waving their Southern Cross tattoos in the air nationwide, aggressively shouting “That shit cray!” A sociologist titles his next book “Watch The Throne & Australia: The Death of Tall Poppy Syndrome in 2012”
12:15 - Sarah Howells didn’t censor herself when back-announcing, giving white Australia license to finally use the one word they were definitely already using anyway.
12:17 - “Yuck, this is horrible, what is this?” “Foo Fighters.”
12:21 - “We love music!”
12:25 - The Strokes followed by Grouplove at 96 and 95. Very much indifferent. There are four radios tuned to different stations in this house and none of them are the station that I actually work for. Classic Rock FM is playing outside. “Ya Mum isn’t much of a J fan.” “Sorry Jakey.” What a sweetheart.
12:29 - The Wombats, innit.
12:33 - “Keep listening to the countdown to see if there’s any more Fooeys!” Yeah, what’re the chances?
12:34 - “What’re you hoping gets into the countdown?” “Aw, Skrillex’s new one.”
12:36 - I listened to an accumulated five minutes of Triple J in 2011 meaning that I read more about it than I listened to it. One of those minutes was spent trying to figure out how they were playing “Call Your Girlfriend” when almost nobody I know has any idea what Robyn is.
12:40 - Jamezzz Blake. Should listen to Cloud Nothings.
12:47 - Sarah Howells is from Perth, the Adelaide of Canberras. is jjj tryin to stay relevant to ‘the real australia’? is triple j a ‘national tastemaker’ or ‘just a fun-lovin country gal who loves a bit of fun’?
12:50 - The Beastie Boys’ “Make Some Noise” at #90. Preemptively sort of makes up for the next 88 tracks being Illy.
1:02 - Phil Collins at 87.
1:08 - Seeker Lover Keeper with “Light All My Lights” at 86 featuring handclaps over an organ line and breathy female vocals, scoring the perfect trifecta of songs that insipid floral dress-wearing indie girls and terrifyingly gaunt indie boys putting on an air of progressiveness go fucking mental for.
1:12 - “I want a night without gang-rape.” What happened to Mumford & Sons? Did they find a sense of humour and become Cosmo Jarvis & the “Gay Pirates”?
1:16 - “Prett- prett- pretty good.” - Cosmo Jarvis doing a coked out impression of Larry David on the phone. He said he has a “lame-ass show” and he’s being really self-deprecating. Probably gonna be #1 next year especially with that anecdote about biting his toenails.
1:17 - There’s no difference between 90% of Aussie hip-hop. 360 might as well be Pez might as well be Illy might as well be Horrorshow.
1:22 - I’ve often felt like The Kills should do it for me but they don’t. Alison Mosshart can try to dress like Noel Fielding as much as she wants and it won’t make their flaccid rock any more exciting.
1:35 - Glad PNAU made it up there even though it’s a pretty bland track. Nick Littlemore is one of the greatest things to happen to electronic music in Australia, if only for “Pony”.
1:40 - Mum made me a ham and cheese sanga for lunch so I took out the bins for her. Top bloke.
1:47 - Tom & Alex promo has been the lowlight of the Hottest 100 so far. I’ve taken their promise to have Bluejuice on the show tomorrow morning as deliberate antagonism.
1:58 - I don’t know about the US but dubstep is massive among the yoofs here. Surprising that Skream & Example aren’t higher than #75
2:03 - The fuck is this Lewi McKirdy sketch? “That’s sex magic, baby!” Good grief. I guess when it’s illegal for you to show ads you’ve gotta fill air time somehow. God forbid you play more music.
2:05 - I forgot about Drapht! 360, Pez, Illy, Horrorshow, Drapht. Have you ever seen them all in the same room together? Ask yourself why not. A song called “Bali Party” might be the most Australian thing on the entire countdown. Get ya Bintang beaters out for the girls, ay.
2:08 - Oh thank god, it’s Skrillex.
2:14 - Flight Facilities took a 53 spot slide down to #72 this year. No disco revival for Australia, apparently. Here’s a photo of Bangs repping Flight Facilities because why not?
2:18 - All hope for an enlightened future has evaporated as Adelaide DJ Luke Million’s “Arnold”, a remix featuring soundbites from Arnold Schwarznegger, has placed on the list. Close off the Murray now so Melbourne can secede from the rest of Australia. Alternatively: shut down Adelaide.
2:32 - Is there a quota for how often triple j presenters have to mention their names? Is it somewhere in the vicinity of five times a minute?
2:44 - The second Bon Iver track on the countdown, “Perth” at #66.
2:46 - Zan Rowe went to the trouble of spelling out the word “triple” for listeners and spelled it “t-r-i-p-l.” Followed by Kasabian’s “Re-Wired”. Might take a nap.
2:51 - Owl Eyes at #64 with “Raiders”. The best artist to come out of Australian Idol.
2:54 - As forewarned: more Foo Fighters. “Rope”. Make your own jokes about hanging myself here.
2:58 - “GIMME SOME ROPE / I’LL MAKE A NOOSE” There.
3:03 - “Black Water Rising” by Stonefield at #62. Radiohead at #61.
3:29 - Nothing remotely interesting has happened in the last half an hour except for Lewi McKirdy and Zan Rowe reminding everyone to stay safe. Did you know Tom & Alex are gonna be counting down the top ten? I might not listen.
3:30 - At Pyramid I was walking around in a suit at about 3am on the night before New Years Eve and some kids said “Is that Alex from Sparkadia?” so I just said “Hey guys,” and kept walking.
3:40 - Architecture In Helsinki, bloody legends. Weird to interview, but.
3:50 - Bon Iver’s third song reveals that the most songs that’ve been on the same countdown from one album was courtesy of Wolfmother. Good lord. Kimbra in the studio.
4:09 - I wonder if this warm indifference is a result of aural Stockholm Syndrome. I’ve been beaten and broken and now I’m starting to think Art vs Science’s contentious new material is sort of fine. Might’ve been the two Boy & Bear songs at #50 and #49 that softened my defences.
4:18 - “Whatever, I’ve got a corporate gig in Frankston anyway.” SHOUTOUT TO FRANGA.
4:25 - Kickball Katy’s given me the strength to persevere.
4:27 - The Kooks! Wildcard entry, are the Kooks. My mind is bending because I genuinely thought they’d been left in 2006.
4:41 - There’s been a warning for Tropical Cyclone Iggy. Searchin’ to destroy.
4:42 - Browsing Reddit while listening to Florence + the Machine. “Black Rock”? Really?
4:51 - The Strokes, “Under Cover Of Darkness”. See: The Kooks.
4:56 - The Doctor just announced that, across Australia, 1,378,869 people will be executed for not getting even one song they voted for in the Hottest 100.
5:01 - Mess + Noise have already written history. Reckon James Unlimited is shit out of luck.
5:15 - Illy told the crowd at Pyramid on NYE to vote for “Cigarettes” in the Hottest 100 and apparently they did because it’s #35. Super. Congratulations on getting another year of co-signs from the worst group of subhumans this country is becoming unfortunately notorious for, Illy.
5:23 - Gotcha with “I Feel Better” at #34. Played this on a lot of early morning train rides.
5:25 - Triple J playing “You Just Like Me ‘Cos I’m Good In Bed” in the background of a promo explaining the history of the station. Meanwhile on Twitter, I thought this guy had a point:
Until he said “CHILDISH GAMBINO FOR TOP TEN.”
5:27 - Annnnd here’s Kanye and Jay-Z with “Otis” at #33.
5:37 - #31 is “It’s Nice To Be Alive” by Ball Park Music, only three years too late for the Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist soundtrack.
5:39 - Calvin Harris’s “Bounce” at #30. Shouts out to Bebe Zeva for tangentially infiltrating Australian culture.
5:55 - Example at #27 with “Changed The Way You Kiss Me”, or Hey, it’s that song I always heard while not making out with girls at awful parties last year.
5:59 - It’s The Wombats again, innit. So Wombats, you ever have a wank on a bus?
6:07 - Kimba and then The Wombats again. Think they’ve just played the same song three times. One time my cousin Jermaine had a wank in KFC.
6:37 - Polaroids of Androids have thrown in the towel for the minute; I went and had a shower. Tom and Alex, widely thought of as the most annoying radio presenters in the country, have taken over for the top 20 starting with Bluejuice and followed by Nero. On the topic of year-end lists: I find ‘em interminable. They’re a good chance for publications to shine a light on quality music that might’ve gotten lost in the end-of-year cycle but there’s so many of them and so often they’re so similar. Pazz & Jop as a concept is not wholly superfluous but it’s tedious to read and by the time it rolled around this year I’d already stopped caring about what other people thought was popular in 2011.
6:43 - The Wombats. “Jump Into The Fog”. Is this a joke? Have I been “punk’d”? Is Justin Bieber about to jump out from between my mattresses and yank off my towel for MTV?
6:54 - triple j explains the definition of “hipsters.” See this thing Dick Clark said and how it relates to Australia’s delay on memes.
7:06 - Hard to believe it’s been 7 hours. Foster The People take #15 and #14. This is more the boring and easy fare I know and expect! The only truly shocking thing that could happen from this point is a placing by Bangs.
7:11 - “Amazeballs” - Tom or Alex
7:18 - Architecture In Helsinki take #12 with “Contact High”, a song I listened to hundreds of times in the morning while eating breakfast last year. Good breakfast song.
7:30 - We’re into the top ten and surprise surprise it’s the best and I mean worst but certainly much-discussed genre, Aussie hip-hop. Hilltop Hoods with “I Love It”. I quite like Sia generally, she’s the embodiment of the word ‘exuberant,’ but I don’t really get what she’s doing here.
7:36 - The Jezabels. Deservedly well-recognised; they feel neither over nor underrated, which is unreal.
7:42 - 360. :(
7:44 - San Cisco! :) Jordy is an adorable little dude and “Awkward” is killer.
7:50 - Lana Del Rey and “Video Games”. Still haven’t listened to her album yet.
7:56 - M83 with “Midnight City” take #5. If any of you are going to see them in Melbourne next week, message me and we’ll hang out.
8:02 - Boy & Bear again.
8:10 - Matt Corby, doing well for himself. I may’ve spoken early when I said Owl Eyes was the best thing to come outta Australian Idol because I’ve seen both of them live and Corby was just as beautiful and enchanting, but had the benefit of an enclosed venue (the Palace Theatre.)
8:17 - The Black Keys take #2 with “Lonely Boy”. I wrote this review after a long night out on the town ended with ten of us sitting upstairs at the station, listening to El Camino on the day of its release.
8:23 - In a move surprising to absolutely nobody, Gotye takes #1 for “Somebody That I Used To Know”. And it’s hard to fault: of course there’s the issue of over-saturation but its popularity doesn’t make it a worse song, and even though Wally de Backer apparently had a hard time finishing the song, all that effort clearly paid off.
And that’s it for another year, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that nothing controversial happened and finally go back to playing Skyrim. Nina Las Vegas just kicked off her Hottest 100 House Party mix with “Contact High” so I need to go find something to drink, but I’m glad we all get to share these eight and a half hours discussing the most important music from last year, by which I mean I got to shout at nobody about what’s good and shit about Aussie music taste. RIP 2011, if this year hadn’t started with Cloud Nothings, Craig Finn and Sleigh Bells, you’d be sorely missed.
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