Faith in the Listening Public Restored!

A summing up of the best music of 2007, and the Triple J Hottest 100

(It should be noted that this entry has been modified and annotated through the day as the results have come in, so if there’s some weird inconsistencies, that’s why πŸ˜‰

Once again we find ourselves celebrating that most important day of the year, the Triple J Hottest 100! (Hmmm, I have a vague idea that there’s something else on today, something to do with the founding of a country. Austria maybe? I’m not sure…).

In any case this gives me a great excuse to post my list of the best music of 2007. And because this is the 21st century and we’re all Web 2.0 and such, I figured I’d link each song to that pinnacle of video excellence, Youtube!

(I’ll also annotate each song with where it came in the countdown – if it gets in at all).

So with no further ado, here’s the 10 songs I voted for – by default the 10 best songs of 2007…

Bloc Party – I Still Remember (Number 40, what!? Just 40!?) – As far as I’m concerned this track tied with Silverchair for the title of best song of 2007. An instantly recognisable guitar riff, a great tune and arrangement, and a clever video clip involving trains (remember the trains, they become important later). Bravo Bloc Party!

Chemical Brothers – The Salmon Dance (Number 21) – Fish rap. That’s about the only way to describe this. The video clip is one of the best ever made, with a beat-boxing blowfish and Busby Berkeley style fish choreography, and did you know that fish pay attention to the moon? Probably the third best song of 2007.

Decemberists – Yankee Bayonet (Didn’t get in, what’s wrong with folk rock I ask?) – A folk rock duet about the American Civil War. There doesn’t seem to be an official video clip, so here’s a live performance.

Jamie T – Sheila (Didn’t rate, even with the monkeys) – White rap wonderboy Jamie T and monkeys! Monkeys!! What more do you need to know!? (Oh, and Betjeman of course, how could I forget him?).

Joanna Newsom – Sawdust & Diamonds (Didn’t get in, too subtle for the common palate) – This is the kind of song that you either love, or hate. It drones on an on with bizzare lyrics about bells and wells and stairs and hares and taxidermy. But every now and then she jumps up an octave and it’s like a sledgehammer in your heart. Great stuff.

M.I.A – Paper Planes (Number 17) – A song that courts controversy because it features gunshots and M.I.A is the daughter of a leading Tamil Tiger. But it’s actually (or so she claims) about getting through US Border Control. In any case I don’t care because it’s got a great tune πŸ™‚

Muse – Invincible (Number 58) – An over the top love anthem with one of the best video clips of the year and an awesome, over the top guitar bit in the middle. Knights riding dinosaurs fighting robots baby!

The Shins – Phantom Limb (Didn’t get in, another victim of the great folk rock boycot of ’07) – A sweet song from the masters of whiney folk rock. The video clip features possibly the best school play ever with Aztecs, cannibals and Joan D’Arc.

Silverchair – Straight Lines (Number 2) – As far as I’m concerned this is tied with Bloc Party for the best song of the year. And the video clip features trains. You see! It all makes sense! Trains = Kickarse song! Rocking. πŸ™‚

Vampire Weekend – Mansard Roof (Didn’t get in, I suspect Argentinean involvement!) – A late but extremely catchy contender with lyrics that seemingly make no sense at all. Unless maybe there are a lot of mansard roofs in the Falklands…

Here Endeth the Votes. Now we’re onto the songs that still rocked, but I had to cut from my list because Triple J limits you to just 10. Bah!

Architecture In Helsinki – Heart It Races (Number 19) – A Caribbean influenced song that I didn’t like at all the first time I heard it, but which seriously grew on me. The video clip is just insane – the band dancing around Mexico wearing muppet suits – but what do you really expect?

Clare Bowditch & The Feeding Set – When The Lights Went Down (Number 90 but deserved much better) – A really catchy song with an extremely slick video clip. In fact it’s probably the slickest Australian video clip of the year.

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – Thou Shalt Always Kill – Another one of those songs where some guy just rants and rants about things. But it’s got a good beat behind it, and I agree with most of his points (although what’s he got against the OED?).

Dizzee Rascal (Feat. Lily Allen) – Wanna Be – I’ve always enjoyed Dizzee Rascal’s work because he has such a ridiculous voice. He’s like Shaggy, except that you can actually understand what he’s saying most of the time. He’s also got a good ear for backing music, as this piece shows. Throw in Lilly Allen and a bunch of lyrics totally deriding the gangsta lifestyle and you’ve got pure musical gold (but apparently no video, so you’ll have to put up with a karaoke vid put together by someone who can apparently neither spell nor type).

DJ Eurok – This Is DC – A hard hitting piece of hip-hop about corruption, racism and other such problems in Washington DC. Not available on Youtube, no doubt due to censorship by the Man.

Feist – 1234 (Number 34) – A simple, yet catchy tune with “whoa-oh-ohs” and expert choreography.

Hilltop Hoods – Recapturing The Vibe (Restrung) (Number 26) – Like many other acts before them (or at least Metallica) Adelaide hip-hoppers the Hilltop Hoods got together with a symphony orchestra and re-recorded a bunch of their tracks, including Recapturing the Vibe. The end result is fairly awesome – although the only clip I could find of the full recording (including the sort of overture thing they put on the front) is some home made Kingdom Hearts thing.

Josh Pyke – Fed And Watered – Josh Pyke is really rather good. It’s a shame I couldn’t squeeze any of his songs into the pitiful 10 JJJ allow us. Not only does this song feature the lyric “They can keep you around like a head on a stake, I guess the industry found a use for my namesake” (get it?) but the video clip features the coolest race day ever.

Josh Pyke – Lines On Palms (Number 79) – Another great one from Josh Pyke, with a fairly awesome video clip. I seem to recall hearing somewhere that it was all actually done with strings and cardboard cutouts, not with CGI, which makes it even more impressive.

Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby (Number 13) – Nothing special to say about this one, it’s just a good, old fashioned rockin’ track.

Kenneth Bager (Featuring Julee Cruise) – Les Fleurs – A strange song about filthy hippies featuring some woman from Twin Peaks. I like it just for it’s weirdness frankly. Hmmm, would you believe I can’t find it on Youtube? What is this!? The Middle Ages!?

M.I.A – Jimmy – Bollywood/Tamil cheesy disco. How could I not like this song? πŸ™‚

Missy Higgins – Steer (Number 53) – I wasn’t hugely keen on this one until I heard a live version that JJJ recorded. I had a look to see if I could find that performance on Youtube, but couldn’t, so here’s a live version from Rove. I find that Missy’s work always sounds better live – studio production seems to kill it somehow.

Muse – Knights Of Cydonia (Number 1! By an incredible 13 votes out of 700,000!) – This one is so crazily over the top that you can’t help but like it. Epic silliness with an epically silly video clip to match.

Puscifer – Queen B – Dirty funk with an incredible, chess based video clip. Youtube rates it as “adult content” (not without cause) so you need to log in to see it.

Red Jezebel – Kicking Deadly Sins – A catchy rock tune from Perth’s own Red Jezebel.

Regina Spektor – Better – Well this is one of my favourite songs from the last year, but as far as I’m concerned it came out in 2006, so I cut it to make room for some more recent tracks. But if they’d let us vote for 11 rather than just 10 songs, this would be a shoe in for number 11. (The eternal optimist that I am, I put my faith in the listening public and trusted that enough other people would vote for it. I was wrong but she did get in with two other songs so that’s OK πŸ™‚

Reverend And The Makers – Heavyweight Champion Of The World – Great song about how pathetic life really is. A bit like the musical version of Fight Club (that is the book more than the movie).

The Shins – Turn On Me – As far as whiney folk rocks goes the Shins are pretty good. This was only just edged out of my main list by Phantom Limb, but it’s just as good – although all the oiled wrinkly flesh in the video clip tends to overpower the music (not in a good way!).

Soko – I’ll Kill Her (Number 9) – I can’t seem to find an official clip for this one, so the one I’ve chosen will have to do. As songs go, it’s pretty strange – the homicidal rantings of a dumped French stalker – but it’s so crazy I like it. This probably says far more about me that it does the song πŸ™‚

White Stripes – You Don’t Know What Love Is – A good old fashioned rock and roll song from Meg and Jack, with a video clip shot in Iceland. Or maybe Finland? I forget to be honest, but somewhere cold and rocky anyway.

The Bumblebeez – Doctor Love (Number 93) – Fat (or maybe even “phat”) funky rap with a video clip full of fat (phat?) men with interesting tattoos.

Bloc Party – Flux (Number 48) – I head somewhere that this was originally written for Kylie Minogue, but can’t find any confirmation of it anywhere, so it’ll have to remain a supposition. In any case the chorus allegedly features the line “We were hoping for some romance”, but it sounds a lot more like “We were hoping for some Romans”, which is a much more entertaining lyric. Throw in a video clip featuring Cthulhoid monsters and a giant Cylon, and you’ve got great entertainment all round.

And so there we go. Hours (or at least minutes) of listening pleasure!

Of course we can’t sum up the year without mentioning the worst music as well. Not listening to commercial radio I no doubt missed the most aurally offensive stuff, but there was still a few songs that really put my teeth on edge (I’m not going to link to Youtube versions – why should everyone else suffer as well as me?)

If You Keep Losing Sleep – Silverchair (Number 30) – I think Daniel Johns had this really great idea for the beginning of a song, then couldn’t come up with anything to put after it. So he just kept on playing the intro over and over while singing things like “badaba-daba” and “Oo-oo-oo-oo!” over the top. I can’t think of any other way such a monstrosity as this could see the light of day. The video clip is just as bad – the basic idea seeming to be to shove as much weird stuff and special effects (smoke! electricity! blue mascara!) in as possible to try and distract from how awful the song is.

Foundations – Kate Nash (Number 101, which means it just missed out on the countdown, ha ha!) – Have you ever had the kind of friend who gets drunk, and then tells you all about their latest break up in excruciating detail while breathing beer fumes in your face and blocking the way to the bathroom? Well neither have I, but I don’t need one now because I’ve heard this song. It’s a drawn out, boring as hell story that no one wants to hear, yet Kate Nash seems driven to put it all to music – possibly because no one would listen otherwise. She’s got quite a nice voice and I’ll keep an ear out for anything else she records, but this track makes me want to gouge my eyes out with cocktail swizzlers.

So, in the end mighty Muse stole the crown from favourites Silverchair by a mere 13 votes. That’s 13 votes out of about 700,000 – or 1.7 thousandths of a percent! The result managed to totally gobsmack me three times, first when Silverchair came in second, second when they announced the 13 vote difference, and finally when they revealed the winner was Knights of Cydonia. I was literally walking around with my jaw hanging open in amazement.

Best Hottest 100 result in years! πŸ˜€

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