Hottest 100 2020

It’s that time of year again! Well, to be truly accurate it was that time of year again some weeks back when I put my votes in, but it’s that time of year when I get around to posting them on the Wyrmlog, so there!

Anyway, what I mean is that I’m posting my votes in the Triple J hottest 100 – the objectively (by which I mean subjectively) best 10 songs of the year, plus a few extras that didn’t quite make the cut. Here we go!

Alex the Astronaut – Lost: Alex has been kicking it out of the park this year, I probably could have filled up half my list with her songs. But I try to limit myself to one track per artist, so went with my fave. It covers the same ground as Ben Fold’s classic Brick but more thoughtfully and with a hopeful ending.

Come & Go [with Marshmello] – Juice WRLD: As a grumpy old contrarian I really didn’t rate Juice WRLD, and I have a deep seated puritan streak that limits my sympathy for anyone who kills themselves with recreational drug abuse. But this track really has something. Those guitar and drum loops are outstanding!

Walk my Way – Harper Bloom: A sweet little love song with a dorky but cute made-in-lockdown video.

Word of the Day – RAT!hammock: “Lately it seems everyone’s dreams are in half-time” is one of the best descriptions of the pandemic I’ve heard to date. There’s plenty of other good lyrics and an equally good tune, but it’s the trumpets cutting in towards the end that make this one really work for me. Another great lockdown video, this time tapping green screen technology for everything it’s got.

Flying – Last Dinosaurs: A upbeat yet mellow club track with a great baseline. Not a lot else to be said!

nostalgic (luvsick) – renforshort: renforshort has no truck with capital letters! That build to the chorus and the drop with the guitars make this one simply irresistible.

Bagi-la-m Bargan [Ft. Fred Leone] – Birdz: As with most white Australians I was bought up to idolize James Cook. This song is a much needed kick up the arse to remind us that his ‘voyage of discovery’ was the harbinger of genocide and dispossession that we’ve only barely started acknowledging and taking responsibility for.

Breathe Me – Stace Cadet & KLP: This cover of Sia’s original is simply incandescent. I don’t have words to describe it. Song of the year!

Fresh out of Love – E^ST: Lush and romantic but with modern hip-hop sensibilities. Or something like that. Damn good, anyway! A fine follow up to Talk Deep which I definitely would have voted for last year had it come to my attention in time.

WAXIT – Dennis Cometti: If you’re West Australian and you’re not voting for this call for succession then what the hell is wrong with you? A tongue in cheek celebration of everything great about WA and how the eastern states can take their NRL and Daylight Saving and plundering of our GST revenue and shove it!

The song that feels particularly appropriate this year, what with Clive Palmer trying to force open our hard border and the federal government backing him right up until the moment they realised they were courting statewide electoral annihilation for a generation in doing so, and ran for the hills. Also I could hardly not vote for a song whose clip features the beloved Bayswater subway – just down my street – in its natural state of having a truck stuck under it.

So there we have my ten picks. Songs that almost made it include Dance by Julia Stone, and Caught in the Middle by Alex the Astronaut.

Stay tuned for an update on how many of these even make it in to the countdown!

EDIT: And only about an hour after I posted this the Bayswater subway claimed another victim!

Hottest 100 2019

Continuing as I am with updating the Wyrmlog with all the things that were missed for the last almost-year of down time, we come to my votes in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2019.

There was actually some really good music in 2019. I’d actually say it was one of the best years since 2010, which is the last year I can recall having trouble paring down my list of songs to just ten votes. I ended up with a shortlist of eleven this time round, but since the previous almost-decade had me scrabbling to come up with ten decent songs, that’s not all at bad.

Posting my votes months after the actual countdown also gives me the advantage of being able to note where they came in the Hottest 100 – or indeed the Hottest 200, since that’s a regular thing now. Of course some of them didn’t come in at all because [people have no taste in decent music these days|I’m old and no longer with it] (delete as necessary).

So here we go…

Alex Lahey – Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
Came in at 117 which is dumb because it features the best saxophone content of the year.

Tones And I – Johnny Run Away
Came in at 26.

Cry Club – DFTM
Would have expected this to do better, but it didn’t get in at all.

Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
I felt like a terrible cliche voting for this, but it came in at number 1, so who am I to argue?

Grimes — So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth
Didn’t get in, clearly too subtle for the common palate

Lana Del Rey — The Greatest
Indulgent and Beatlesque but I can’t help liking it. Got in at 157.

Of Monsters and Men – Alligator
Nowhere to be seen despite being an absolute banger. Everyone who didn’t vote for it should be eaten by a gharial!

SOAK — Deja Vu
No sign of this one which is simply criminal.

Vampire Weekend — Harmony Hall
My second favourite song of the entire year. Placed at 109.

Peking Duk — Ur Eyez {Ft. Al Wright}
My absolute favourite song of the year! It didn’t show up at all conclusively proving that the youth of Australia have lost their way.

And finally the song that would have been my number 11 if they let us have a number 11…

The Naked and Famous – Sunseeker
Didn’t get in. People are dumb.

That’s it. I’ll see you in January for more complaining about the young people.

Hottest 100 Votes 2018

Blah blah, that time of year again, blah blah Triple J Hottest 100, blah blah too depressed to write anything approaching decent commentary, blah blah enjoy my questionable musical tastes ya filthy animals…

Hatchie – Sugar & Spice
1950s infused Shoegaze

Amy Shark – I Said Hi

Superorganism – Everybody Wants To Be Famous
Well, that’s certainly a Superorganism video…

YUNGBLUD – Polygraph Eyes

Grimes featuring HANA – We Appreciate Power
A hymn to that thing we’re not supposed to talk about…

Alex The Astronaut – Waste Of Time
Probably my favourite song of the year

Bec Sandridge – Animal

King Princess – Fell In Love With A Girl (Triple J Like A Version 2018)

The Beths – You Wouldn’t Like Me

Golden Features – Runner

Let us Rejoice

You know, as far as the Wyrmlog is concerned signing up to Twitter may have been a bit of a misstep. Now whenever I have an inane thought it quickly vanishes off into the Twitterverse in 140 characters or less, rather than sitting around in my head and fermenting its way into a blog post. I’ll have to see what I can do about this.

Anyway, it’s Australia Day. There’s a lot more talk this year about moving the date to something less upsetting to the Indigenous population, and consequently a lot more pushback along the lines of “why don’t they just get over it!”. As is standard practice the news bulletins roll out some Indigenous people who want to change the date, and then track down another Indigenous person (it’s usually a single person) to say why the first bunch of Indigenous people are wrong, and then round it all up with some vox pops. And thus the news cycle continues.

I’m quite sympathetic to those who want to change the date. I can’t deny however that this is partially because January 26th doesn’t mean anything more to me than a day off work and the Triple J Hottest 100. Yes, I’m Australian, and I’m grateful to be Australian. I’m proud of the many good things my nation has done, and I’m ashamed of the many bad things my nation has done. But I feel that way – and am aware of the good things and the bad things – every single day. I don’t feel the need to set aside a particular day each year for it.

Call me unpatriotic if you like, but I’ve always been suspicious of patriotism. To my mind, patriotism is only a few steps away from nationalism, and nationalism is only a few steps away from fascism. I’m glad to be Australian, and I’m grateful for all this country has given me, but I express that by being a good citizen and doing my best to make this country better, not by sticking temporary tattoos on my face and waving a flag.

So moving or not moving the date is a race I do not have a horse in. As long as I get my day off work I don’t really care.

Adding some extra excitement to this year’s festivities is the debate (if bomb threats count as “debate”) over an Australia Day billboard featuring (OMG!) Muslims. The original billboard in Melbourne was taken down after the advertising company received threats, but in a nice example of the Streisand Effect this has prompted people to put up many more copies of it all over the place. Which has pissed off the Islamophobes even further. As with all issues of religion and race this is, frankly, a complete clusterfuck, but I can’t help but feel good about anything that makes bigots so angry. Generally speaking if whatever you’re doing is pissing off Nazis then you’re doing it right.

But anyway I didn’t come to talk about any of that. Came to talk about the Hottest 100.

I finally got around to voting some weeks back, and present below my favourite songs of the year. As is standard these days someone has done some number crunching and come up with a list of predictions, so I’ll reference the predicted placing and (when it comes up) the actual placing for each of my votes…

Girlie Bits – Ali Barter
Predicted Placing: 36
Actual Placing: 58 (Boo!)

Without a doubt my favourite track of the year – which given its very obvious 90’s stylings shows just how old and out of touch I am. It’s a song about being a female artist in the music industry, and how everyone wants you to write nice, pleasant, girlie songs about love and flowers and things, as opposed to anything that really matters, and to always look pretty and/or hot while singing them. A fantastic song on every level.

Daughter of the Light – Urthboy featuring Kira Puru
Predicted Placing: 168 (which is a fucking travesty)

The second best song of the year (as far as I’m concerned) is Urthboy’s tribute to his mum. Go and read the lyrics. Excuse me, I have something in my eye…

1955 – The Hilltop Hoods featuring Montaigne and Tom Thum
Predicted Placing: 6
Actual Placing: 4

Third best song of the year. Of all my choices, I think this one has the best chance of being number one. It most likely won’t be, but I’d be utterly shocked if it didn’t get into the top ten. A great track celebrating small-town life in the Adelaide hills with downright amazing vocals from Montaigne in the hook.

Genghis Khan – Miike Snow
Predicted Placing: 24
Actual Placing: 15

A catchy and slickly produced song with easily the best video of the year.

Catch 22 – Illy featuring Anne-Marie
Predicted Placing: 48
Actual Placing: 23

I’m really hitting the Aussie Hip-hop this year aren’t I? Catchy, fun tune simply about having a good time.

Weatherman – The Panics
Predicted Placing: 200+

Incredibly lush, spooky song with lots of layered, echoey sounds building to something truly epic. Probably too subtle for the common palate.

Frankie Sinatra – The Avalanches
Predicted Placing: 23
Actual Placing: 28

The Avalanches finally released their difficult second album last year with this infectious pile of rap and samples. The video clip however is one of those arty ones where the song keeps getting drowned out by the sound effects. As a short film it’s not bad. As a video clip it’s a bit crap.

Take Me Dancing – Sløtface
Predicted Placing – 200+ (Ridiculous!)

The video for Take Me Dancing on the other hand is deliberately cheap and amateurish. A great little rock-pop song, somewhat reminiscent of Metric (Haley Shea really sounds like Emily Haines on this track).

At this point I’d run out of tracks I really wanted to vote for, so I just grabbed the first two that came to mind that I liked. There’s nothing wrong with them, but there are plenty of other tracks I could have voted for as well. In hindsight I do regret not voting for Sarah Blasko’s cover of Life on Mars – which is predicted to come in at 88.

I Know A Girl – The Preatures
Predicted Placing – 176

The Arrow – Urthboy featuring Timberwolf
Predicted Placing – 200+

So there we go. I wonder how they’ll all go…

Sitting, Watching, Waiting, Wishing

Once again as the Earth continues its appointed circuit around the star we choose to call the Sun, the time has come to select the ten best songs of the year and send them in to Triple J where they shall be completely drowned amidst millions of votes for some yodeling beardo strumming a banjo. But such is our lot to endure, so endure it we must!

I went into my selections this year with a few songs already picked out but wondering how I was going to fill up the rest of the list. As it turned out this wasn’t a problem – there were a surprising number of really good tracks hidden among all the dross. I even had to eliminate some, which is why there’s nothing from Chvrches or my future wife Florence Welsh.

So without further ado, here we go…

Bassically – Te Shi

The first time I heard this track I nominated it as my song of the year, and that hasn’t changed in the months since. It’s magnificent! If you don’t think so at first, turn up the bass and wait until it kicks in at about the 2:30 mark.

My opinion of the track is not at all hurt by it sharing a key four note sequence with Last Train to Trancentral.

Long Loud Hours – Urthboy featuring Bertie Blackman

Good hip-hop tells stories. I suppose bad hip-hop can tell stories too, but they’re generally about how the performer is better than everyone else due to their acquisition of money, jewellery, firearms and women, and are therefore not stories worth the bother of listening to. Urthboy though can usually be relied upon to actually say something interesting with his music, in this specific case telling the story of Lucy Dudko, the librarian who hijacked a helicopter to bust her lover, bank robber John Killick, from Silverwater Jail in 1999. An interesting twist in this modern age of redefined gender is that Urthboy sings Dudko’s part while Bertie Blackman takes on Killick.

Story aside the music on this one is really great too, with those distorted, off-beat notes that I suspect are being played in reverse. If Bassically hadn’t blown every other song away, this easily could have been my song of the year, and even if you don’t enjoy the music, you should be able to find some entertainment in the quite silly poses Urthboy pulls throughout the video.

Flesh Without Blood – Grimes

Oh no! Grimes has gone pop! It’s a disaster! Whatever shall we do?! Well if you ask me, stop whinging about your precious indie-cred and enjoy a fantastically structured, intricately layered pop-rock-alt track that’s catchy as hell. In addition to the music you also get to choose your favourite Grimes. Autocannibalistic Marie Antoinette Grimes? Scary angel Grimes? Cool Cuban Grimes? Crazy dance Grimes? Cave-dwelling goth Grimes? Take your pick!

Of course Grimes hasn’t completely abandoned her indie ways, so the only way you can hear the song on YouTube is a part of a short film double feature thingie. The second song is fine, but nothing to really write home about.

Pedestrian at Best – Courtney Barnett

I really couldn’t stand Courtney Barnett at first. This is mostly because her first single – History Eraser – is dreadful. It’s kind of ironic then that Pedestrian at Best is remarkably similar in style. It lifts itself out of the sub-Dylanesque mire of mumbled lyrics however with an absolutely vicious chorus that pulls the rest of the song together and makes the verses actually work. It’s great stuff! For all that the video is full of clowns (shudder!).

The Love Within – Block Party

Wub WUB WUB WUB Wub Wub wub wub. Wub WUB WUB WUB Wub Wub wub wub. There, you’ve heard 90% of the song, but somehow it works. Like Courtney Barnett’s effort the potentially inane remainder of the track is pulled together by a great chorus – a catchy, poppy affair that makes you want to jump up and dance.

Not that I’d ever do anything as undignified  as jumping up and dancing of course.

All the Day – Haerts

I love the rhythms in this. That’s really all I have to say. Umm, the band members met in Iceland – is that interesting? Hmmmm. Did I mention the rhythms?

Get Down – Jess Kent

Possibly the catchiest song of the year, if not the decade or indeed all of human history. And the video is the only use of Emojis I’ve ever seen that doesn’t make me want to go out and punch a millennial in the face.

Scud Books – Hudson Mohawke

I’m not sure what the title of this track means – if it means anything at all. But this is a great piece of epic Scottish ‘EDM’ – as I believe all the cool kids are calling it today.

Just a shame that the YouTube version appears to have had all the bass sucked out of it.

(Edit: Oh my! It means pornography!)

Something to Tell You – Tom Lark

I’ve been hanging onto this since the start of the year, wondering if enough good tracks would come along to push it off my list. They didn’t. It’s a sweet little pop song with the most ridiculously hipster video clip you’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if they were trying to be genuinely hipster, or made a parody of hipsterism so accurate that they Poed straight through and ended up firmly back in hipster territory. In any case, the song still stands.

Love me Badder – Elliphant

If I knew the precise definition of soul music I might suggest that this sounds kind of like it. But I don’t, so I won’t. It’s very good though, regardless of what other genres it may or may not resemble.

So there we go. The 10 best songs of 2015. I wonder what bearded hippie will take out number one this year?

Hottest 100 2014

Not live blogging the countdown this year, I’ve got better things to do with my time. But I am listening to it and can state with confidence that even without Taylor Swift it’s not a great year. Too much dull/shouty faux-gangsta rap, folky wailing and repetitive nauseous bollocks for my taste. But we’re only down to number 35, so maybe it’ll improve.

In any case, two of the tracks I voted for have come in so far. Here’s my full list along with the numbers they’ve come in as, which I shall update as appropriate.

Hopium – Dreamers {Ft. Phoebe Lou} – Number 82

First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining – Number 38

Banks – Beggin For Thread – Number 27

Sia – Chandelier – Number 9

Art vs Science – Create/Destroy

Asgeir – Torrent

Bertie Blackman – Run For Your Life

Bertie Blackman – War Of One

Sky Ferreira – 24 Hours

Megan Washington – My Heart Is A Wheel

Since I’m already complaining about how kids today don’t know good music when they hear it and how Triple J is nowhere near as good as it used to be, I suppose I should go full grumpy old man and mention the songs I totally couldn’t stand this year. There are two real stand outs – Grandma’s Hands by Meg Mack and Pickles from the Jar by Courtney Barnett. Both are actually decent tracks, but they played them so freakin’ much that every time I hear them I want to throw up. Needless to say, both have already turned up in the countdown, but hopefully this prove their last hurrahs before they’re shuffled out of rotation.

Hmmm, down to 30 and still no more of my choices. This could be bad…

So, four of my songs got in, and the winner was Chet Faker. Again. A bit much Chet Faker and way too much Alt-f’ing-J. Bah!

(I’ll do it all again next year though.)

Hottest and Warmest 100 Round Up

Well, I didn’t do a complete, song-by-song analysis of the Hottest 100 this year, but I did tally up the results, compare them to the Warmest 100 and worked out some numbers – mostly because I’m a terrible nerd and can’t help myself.

OK, so there were 15 songs that the Warmest 100 predicted to get into the countdown, but didn’t. The highest numbered failed prediction was Red Light Green Light by Dune Rats, which was predicted for number 70, but actually turned up at 133, 63 places lower.

This was the second worst prediction of the Warmest 100. The worst was No Waves by Fidlar, which was predicted for 81 and actually came in at 113 places lower at 194. Wow. Now that’s what you call a statistical anomaly!

The worst performance of a song that ended up in the countdown was Without You by Dillon Francis which was predicted for 37 and came in at 99, 62 places lower.

Of the 15 songs that weren’t predicted to come in, but did, the highest rated was Lanterns by Birds of Tokyo which ended up at position 22.

The average difference between predicted position and actual position was 18.32 places. If the songs that fell outside of the top 100 are excluded, this falls to 14.59. For the top twenty the average was 8.4 places, for the top ten 4.8 places, and the top five 4.4 places.

The song that most exceeded its prediction was Southern Son by Boy and Bear. Predicted for 92 it came in at 41, a full 51 places ahead.

Four songs came in exactly where predicted. White Noise by Disclosure (69), Arabella by the Arctic Monkeys (18), Strong by London Grammar (10) and Riptide by Vance Joy – taking out the countdown at number 1.

The songs I voted for came in as follows…

* Hey Geronimo – Lazer Gun Show Failed to Show
* Major Lazer – Jessica – 74
* Touch Sensitive – Pizza Guy – 38
* Chvrches – Gun – 37
* The Wombats – Your Body is a Weapon – 25
* Birds of Tokyo – Lanterns – 22
* Lorde – Tennis Court – 12
* Haim – The Wire – 11
* Lana Del Rey – Young and Beautiful – 7
* Daft Punk – Get Lucky – 3

Overall pretty good, and the Arctic Monkeys didn’t take out the top spot, so even better! 😀

Warmest 100 – 2013

Tomorrow is of course Hottest 100 day. As happened last year some clever souls have – despite the best efforts of Triple J to stop their fun – scraped the net for vote data and compiled a list of predictions, which can be viewed here.

Last year’s predictions were pretty accurate, as shown by my overly obsessive analysis. I have stuff to do this weekend, so I doubt I’ll be live blogging/live calculating as I did last year, but I’ll certainly be keeping an ear out for how well they do. I am mildly surprised that they have Royals by Lorde at number 8, I thought it was a good contender for number 1, but statistics don’t lie. Riptide by Vance Joy (whatever the hell that is) is the predicted number 1, so we’ll just have to see.

Concerning my own votes, three songs don’t make it into the prediction. I’m particularly surprised about Birds of Tokyo, but then it did come out early in the year and people have short memories these days…

Lanterns – Birds of Tokyo
Jessica – Major Lazer
Lazer Gun Show – Hey Geronimo

As for the rest of my choices they’re clustered around the 20’s, which is pretty damn good!

31: Your Body is a Weapon – The Wombats
29: Tennis Courts – Lorde
25: Gun – Chvrches
24: Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey
22: The Wire – Haim
19: Pizza Guy – Touch Sensitive
15: Get Lucky – Daft Punk

Roll on the countdown!

PS: Oh, so this is Riptide. Yeah, that’s not bad.

Hottest 100 – 2013

It’s that time of the year again when I vainly try and hold on to both any kind of musical relevance and my rapidly vanishing youth by voting in Triple J’s Hottest 100.

I went into assembling my shortlist without any great enthusiasm. Looking back, 2013 seemed like a rather flat year for music – I couldn’t think of any real standout songs. But once I trawled through the lists I discovered a surprising number of sleepers that – while not mind-blowingly awesome – were good, solid tracks. There were enough of these that I had some real trouble winnowing them down to only 10. Nonetheless after much girding of loins and grinding of teeth I produced the following list which has been duly submitted as of this morning…

Tennis Courts – Lorde

There’s an excellent chance that Royals by New Zealand’s own Lorde is going to take the number one spot, which is annoying as I can’t stand it. Tennis Courts though is a great song, and popular enough that may well come in at around the 20-30 mark (shame the video clip is so rubbish).

Young & Beautiful – Lana Del Rey

Does anyone actually like Lana Del Rey anymore? I’m certainly not a fan, apart from this song, and I can’t even explain why I like it so much. It’s certainly nothing to do with it’s association with The Great Gatsby, a movie that I haven’t bothered to see.

Lanterns – Birds of Tokyo

Lanterns is kind of embarrassing because its sounds like something written to capture the “Class of 2013” demographic. You know, like Friends Forever or Good Riddance. Sadly I’m a sucker for that kind of rubbish.

Jessica – Major Lazer

This song is a real sleeper. It didn’t do anything for me the first time I heard it, but then couldn’t get it out of my head. Smoothly insidious.

The Wire – HAIM

Oh Lord, how to pick just one HAIM track? They’re all so good! After much torment I narrowed it down to either The Wire or Don’t Save Me and The Wire got through by a hair’s breadth. Go and listen to HAIM everyone! Now!

Your Body Is A Weapon – The Wombats

The Wombats just keep on delivering – presumably via their backwards facing pouches. Who’d have ever thought that a bunch of cubic-poo producers would make such great music?

Lazer Gun Show – Hey Geronimo

This makes me think of good old Bill Shakespeare and his full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. But it’s really good sound and fury!

Pizza Guy – Touch Sensitive

A laid back electronic track that sounds like it escaped from the set of Miami Vice. The TV series that is, not the movie.

Get Lucky – Daft Punk

I really didn’t want to vote for Daft Punk, because everyone will be voting for them. But Get Lucky is fun and catchy, and as such I had no choice.

Gun – Chvrches

Chvrches were another group where I had problems choosing a track. Gun won my vote for no apparent reason – If I’d put my votes together tomorrow I may well have voted for Recover instead. Lots of twinkly electronic sounds to tickle the ears.

So there we are. Artists that just missed out on a place include Bliss N Eso, Horrorshow, Owl Eyes and Tiger Town. Better luck next year guys!