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Triple J's Hottest 100: hot enough for ya?

The Triple J Hottest 100 is eternally doomed to receive a hammering from the peanut gallery, but if you can get over the fact that the Countdown differs slightly from what’s on your own iPod, you might actually enjoy it.

It’s a time-honoured tradition that every Australia Day we gather round the radio with the barbie sizzling away in the background, smiling like kids from a Vegemite commercial as the Triple J Hottest 100 Countdown begins. Just as fine a tradition is the Big Whinge on January 27, when we all suddenly remember how much better music was back in the day, accuse Triple J of selling out and call for the head of that most Terrible Tune Tyrant, Richard Kingsmill. There’s nothing like the Countdown for building up the hopes of a nation, before leaving a large percentage of it scratching their heads and pontificating to anyone within earshot about how they would have done it better. And, inevitably, it’s our national youth radio station that cops the brunt of the abuse when we feel our Hottest 100 was merely lukewarm.

The complaints are the same every year and can be sorted into a handful of categories along the lines of: “Triple J has become too mainstream”; “Triple J is full of hipster rubbish”; “the Countdown gets worse every year”; “not THESE guys again!”; “I don’t know a single one of these songs”, and “I hate music these days, you Gen Y kids suck”. The irony, of course, is that each year these complaints are made by people who are a year older than they were last year, and are therefore exponentially more likely to complain about anything, especially “young people’s music” …

This year’s count, despite its many highs, provided enough ammunition for those in the mood for a whinge. Hearing San Cisco’s uninspired, some might say opportunistic cover of Get Lucky at #39 was a spoiler when everyone knew the Daft Punk original would be right up the top (it was #3). The top 20 was somewhat disappointing in its lack of diversity, with Lorde and the Arctic Monkeys appearing three times and Daft Punk twice. And we should all take a long hard look at ourselves for allowing possibly the worst song (and definitely the worst video clip) of all time, Kanye West’s Bound 2, to slip in at #59. But the biggest talking point will surely be the surprise winner and, more to the point, the mega-hit that fell just short.

In 20 years of Hottest 100s there had never been a female solo artist at number 1, and this year looked the most likely to break that trend. However, after eight-and-a-half hours of anticipation, Lorde’s nine-week-US-chart-topping, win-all-the-awards Royals was pipped at the post by Vance Joy’s ultra-catchy ukulele sing-along, Riptide. It’s a result that’s sure to disappoint those who were hoping to see a female winner for the first time, but not one that should be looked on negatively. Even though she didn’t get the #1 spot, Lorde (pictured above performing at yesterday’s Grammy Awards, where she won Song of the Year) is the musical wonder story of the year, coming out of nowhere to release a critically acclaimed debut album and an ARIA-winning song before her 17th birthday. She’s also the most awesome feminist symbol the music industry has seen for a long time: a super-smart, poetic lyricist who relies on her musical talent, not her ability to get naked and lick hammers, for success. And up against this overnight superstar backed by a tidal wave of public support, one man with a ukulele stood tall and still, somehow, managed to claim first place. Surely that’s a victory for the ages, isn’t it?

It wasn’t just at the top of the Countdown that fine young artists made waves. Some of the other big winners were Sydney electro-smoothies RUFUS, British DJ brothers Disclosure and the hauntingly beautiful London Grammar, all of whom made the Hottest 100 for the first time and were rewarded with multiple entries. Other highlights included I Spy at #75 (an upbeat acoustic romp by the hitherto unknown Mikhael Paskalev), Bloc Party’s first entry since 2006 with Ratchet at #36, and Retrograde, the stunning ballad by British soul-electro star James Blake, which came in at #13.

For all the inevitable complaining – some of it justified, most not – the Hottest 100 really is an institution worth celebrating. It’s the most accurate indication of what contemporary music Australians actually like, not just what the pop music industry wants us to listen to. In fact, it’s The World’s Biggest Musical Democracy (I know this is true because it’s printed on the back of the Triple J t-shirt I bought a few years ago). Regardless of whether or not they like the songs that make it to the Countdown, music lovers should be excited at the opportunity to have their say.

Triple J is an easy target for criticism because it has the almost impossible job of fostering Australia’s up-and-coming music scene while also playing enough big-name artists to keep people listening. Considering the very limited taxpayer funding it gets, it does that job pretty bloody well. If you listen to the nightly specialty shows or one of Triple J’s alternate digital stations – Unearthed and Dig Music – you’ll realise what a vast amount of music the station actually exposes, especially compared to any of its commercial rivals. The Australian music scene would be a shadow of its current self if it weren’t for Triple J. So next Australia Day, instead of wasting our energy with snarky comments about how shit everything is these days, let’s just agree to grab a few beers, turn on the radio and spend the afternoon in the sun listening to some music and thinking about how good we’ve got it.

66 responses to “Triple J's Hottest 100: hot enough for ya?

  1. One word….DISAPPOINTING! Especially the top 10…I almost fell asleep – PEKING DUK were the only decent entries….really? Did that many people vote for 3 Chet F aker tunes…I like some of his stuff….yawn!! As for Taylor Swift being outed, thank god! But all it does is promote that talentless slag…gutted Triple J! Last year – amazing – this year a pile of steaming…….Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still listen as day to day you guys are wicked, but just soooo disappointed!!

    P.S. Some of you twats writing need to get a life…you think you know it all…umm guess what, you don’t!

  2. well i am 58 and still love listening to jjj. it is the only station which plays new music .some i like some i hate but at least this keeps music evolving and gives musitions the insperation to experiment and use their creative talent. if it wasn’t for jjj we would all be still listening to a boring oldies 70,s mix. Please remember jjj there are still some oldies who love what you do please don,t forget us. jjj rocks!!!

  3. I have recently “gone off” listening to triple J because of the amount of “americanism” language (dude, dueschbag, guy/s) & other foreign comments added in the presenter’s talking! sometimes I wonder if I am in Australia? For good sake, you people on this home grown radio show, lets keep it very Australian & promote aussie customs as radio is one way of getting the message across to our wide audience.

  4. Correction, that verse from Cohen isn’t pure IP, as the syllabic count alternates from 8/9 with stresses ranging from three to four. It is at least metrical and mostly constructed of Iambs ,but there are at least two trochaic substitutions which I can identify with my very limited understanding of scansion.

    1. No, that just shows you understand music theory – I think, since I have no idea what you’re talking about. But the crap you’re spouting is not the same as appreciating music, or being able to create it for others to appreciate.

      ‘It is objectively shitty music because it is not technically remarkable, innovative, or interesting.’
      ..not technically remarkable – in your opinion.
      ..not innovative – in your opinion.
      ..not interesting – in your opinion.

      Therefore subjective, therefore you lose, both in your arguments and your ability to appreciate the diversity of the music scene.

      You are a sad, sad individual. So full of contempt and hate for the aspects of a diverse, magnificent, corrupt and arbitrary art that you cannot control.

      Limited understanding of scansion? Limited understanding of humanity, perhaps.

  5. Nice way to quote mine me, Gavin. Your point is moot since you misrepresented my earlier post, in which I describe that Mr Bungle is one of the best Pomo acid-jazz fusion bands ever put together. And they were. That’s a pretty far way off the the broad umbrella description you ‘Quality music’ that ‘I (sic) should listen to’. Those are your words, not mine. I would never suggest that any particular form is better than any other, but rather that certain projects can be excellent executions of particular modes of music. Can you understand this? For example, I might also say that Mogwai have produced some of the best post-rock, or that blind willy Johnson wrote some of the best emotive bottleneck slide blues based Music in History. I might say the same thing about the Charmels being the most underrated of motown groups in history, and one of the most heavily sampled. Lets see if you can spot the similarity:

    You see, despite the fact that it offends your ego, I have forgotten more music and more about music than you have ever known. So when I hear words like ‘fresh’ and ‘original’ tagged to describe music that is anything but and is instead derivative, re-hashed, recycled, deck-shuffled garbage, you’ll have to forgive me if my opinion of the person who described it as such doesn’t amount to much.

    And you know what? It is ok for youth to talk about music that way, because for them, it is all those things, because the haven’t yet learned about the chain of influence. But at in your 30’s, you should have moved beyond that, and if you haven’t, then your interest in music superficial. And I have no problem with that either, but please—stay out of critique, because all you know is what you like.

    And since when does consumer participation stand as the benchmark of integrity or quality ? When you drink a coke, do you say ‘This is as good as beverages get’? By that logic, PSY is the best musical artist in History. Your argument is fallacious and absurd.

    If you want a technically based argument, I can do that too–but what would be the point? It would be like trying to explaining particle physics to a penguin.

    Mr Bungle is deliberately nonsensical because it was created as postmodern project; it isn’t meant to be a manifesto, it is meant to be ridiculous. Lorde isn’t an example of this, she is just shit.

    If you’re asking me to cite an example of intelligent lyrics, I’d probably quote this from Leonard cohen::

    And Jesus was a sailor
    When he walked upon the water
    And he spent a long time watching
    From his lonely wooden tower
    And when he knew for certain
    Only drowning men could see him
    He said “All men will be sailors then
    Until the sea shall free them”

    This is clever, and it is in Iambic pentameter.

    If you want a more recently producing Artist, I’d probably have to go with somebody Like Joanna Newsom.

    Instead of accusing everybody who has a deeper knowledge of music than yourself as being a pompous highbrow dickwad with a god complex, why not go out and learn something; get a bit of culture about yourself and earn your right to an opinion. Music did not begin in your generation.

  6. Ben,
    no doubt they have heard it if they tune in to triple J. I’m not saying that people can’t like what they like. What I am saying is that sometimes music is objectively shitty–you already accept this, as you provided an example of objectively shitty music with your comment about the human league. I also agree with this distinction. Triple J plays objectively shitty music most of the time. It is objectively shitty music because it is not technically remarkable, innovative, or interesting. What is played on JJJ is the fifty shades of grey of music; a banal commodity which has nothing to do with the Artistic exercise and everything to do with dramaturgy and identity and the creation of new niches of disassociation in the name of scene. In two years, nobody will remember who was even on this years hottest 100, and in 3 every copy end up in the recycling bin or landfills all around Australia. You can take that to the bank. Moreover, none of the the supposed musicians who seep this banal sludge have anything interesting to say about anything. Whoever cannot understand that the below example (Lorde) is trite to to the tune of deodorant commercials cannot be made to understand anything. And you know it.

    There’s nothing I want but money and time
    Million dollar bills and a tick tick tick tick
    There’s nothing more cruel than only nine lives
    A limit in spite will do the trick trick trick trick

    We can leave the house lead the party let the people know
    Go drown the colors of our minds and watch the cars go

    There’s nothing as fun as coming untied
    And running with the kids in the park park park park
    There’s nothing that’s hurt like letting you go
    It’s like a bird eyes in the dark dark dark dark

    We can leave the house lead the party let the people know
    Go drown the colors of our minds and watch the cars go

    It’s not about just being out with all our people
    Cause we can get in trouble just by going free throw
    And now I’m letting you know and now I’m letting you know
    And now I’m letting you know and now I’m letting you know

    I have no interest in listening to radio marketed for children and children with acne who get are accompanied to linkin Park concerts by their parents.

    1. You’re so right, again Mr Starling. Don’t know how you do it!

      The lyrics you recommended are so much more meaningful. So cutting edge, so different that well…..only 19,000 listens since 2011. But at least it’s the right people listening to it. People who understand. People who play instruments….

      So for all the uneducated out there, read below, follow Mr Starling’s advice and listen to the correct definition of quality music. Then you will understand.
      Mr Bungle: Air Conditioned Nightmare:

      Inside of me today
      There is no one
      Only asteroids and empty space
      A waste

      …They’re looking through the windows at me…

      Get me out of this air-conditioned nightmare
      Rots your brain just like a catchy tune, yeah
      You will hate life more than life hates you

      Happiness is your illness in an air-conditioned nightmare

      …Burn all your mementos of me…

      Walkin’ on air
      Up from the wheelchair
      I’ll find the suicide
      That I deserve

      Walkin’ on sand
      Forgotten where I am
      But it’s so comfortable
      Here in the sun…

      I only see rainbows
      Now that the bandages are gone
      Through my window, there

      From the skyscrapers
      Down to the submarines

      Birds and fairies
      Atop the rolling hills of hell

      These words are sledgehammers
      Of truth
      That pound the iron heart
      Of sin

      Bloody smiling
      My wet dream is drying up…

      Where’s my rainbow?
      Where’s my halo?

      There’s my halo!
      I feel smarter already.

      BTW, you actually mean ‘subjectively’ shitty music, as it’s expressed in opinionated, not factual terms. Which, of course, entirely negates your whole argument and just emphasises your god complex.

      Mr Bungle, Air-conditioned nightmare 19,000 listens
      Lorde, Royals 42,000,000 listens
      Just an observation.

  7. Before Triple J started broadcasting in our city 18 years ago, we had a choice between an old timers station and a commercial station that would play two songs which were crap and the next 10-15 minutes would be ads about erectile dysfunction and selling tyres. It was a breath of fresh air then and is still one of the best on air. If you don’t like it Mr Starling then don’t listen to it. You’re comments are over the top for sarcasm and snobbiness.

  8. So we all have opinions it seems.

    A few here are just a little too attached to theirs for mine. But what would I know?

    I the words of 1998 Unearthed winners the Tenants – “You shit me to tears!”

    ps. Came in at #3 in 1999’s list.

  9. John,

    it’s always fun to use latinate words, but verily, try to use them to construct a sentence which makes sense, please. As it stands, I am unable to identify whether your post is flattering or derisive. I’m going with B. As for being angry, I’m not sure what to attribute this to, but suspect it might be learned response, an idiosyncratic reaction to yet another example of the combination of idiocy and entitlement which seems to be the dominant and prevailing cultural mores expressed by the average Australian. That, and I don’t mind a scrap, TBH.

    1. Mr Starling,

      Could you please send me a list of the music I must listen to, along with some instruments I could learn to play, in order to hold a valid opinion? I never realised I needed an Music Opinion Licence. Turns out all these years I’ve been going around talking about the music I like without the requisite qualifications! It’s mortifying.

      In any case, I like the look of that cushioned bubble of smug supremacy you’re huddling in atop your ivory tower, and I’d like to join you. It’s ever so vexing being down here with average Australians, who have the temerity to not only enjoy listening to music, but to then express their enjoyment of that music! THEY HAVEN’T EVEN LISTENED TO MIRROR MAN ON VINYL FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE! IT’S LIKE THEY THINK THEY’RE PEOPLE!

      Cheers again and thanks for the enlightenment.


  10. The ageist arguments are rubbish. New fresh good music is nothing to do with age and maybe that’s where the whole gig has lost it’s way. As a community radio listener there were many notible absences from the 100, the Drones, Dick Diver, Neko Case, Laura Marling, The Bamboos, i could go on for ages really. My sons are 19 18 and 12 and i ws the one listening while they kept saying, this is shit mum, and they have young awesome, Aus music and internationl GOOD music.
    More Oz music please and if you want to litsten to that sexist American crap, there are plenty of commercial stations that play it. Oh and i quite like Daft Punk…

  11. I wish people would stop circlejerking over Lorde. She is just another big label funded and manufactured pop star, who is suddenly grabbing attention now after being under development for 4 years.

  12. Andrew, I’ve got a headline for you: You’re an old man.Who is more cliche–myself, for having moved beyond the facile collation of surfaces that is the music played on JJJ, or yourself, a 52 year old man attempting to appear of the minute via writing in the lexicon of your teenage children?

    What you also seem unable to grasp is that JJJ is not representative of the Australian or International music scene; its airwaves are dominated by a form of neo-folk synth rock that is derivative, boring, and artless. I listen to everything from Slayer to phillip glass to charlie christian to fantomas to squarepusher to django rinehart to elliot smith to mono. I can find something like from virtually any generation and genre of music to like–apart from the genre which is played ad finitum on JJJ, the particular classification of which I have already articulated.

    The problem with people like you is that you simply haven’t consumed enough music to know what is good, and you do not play an instrument. This immediately invalidates any opinion you might have about the subject, as you have neither a technical, nor cultural, nor historical understanding of music. You believe you are entitled to an opinion irrespective of how much knowledge you actually possess about a given subject simply because you have an opinion. Well let me pop that bubble Andrew; nobody gives a shit what you think when you can’t qualify your argument with anything beyond your suburban dad home-brewed wisdom of “My kids listen to it so it must be good”.

    Go appendix the rear glass of your canyonero with a new my family sticker, mow the lawn and stfu, please.

    1. A veritable lexicographic oral suppository appears to be working its magic on you Mr Starling. Why are you so angry? It’s music and everyone has their own opinion even if you think they need to pass some sort of entrance exam to qualify. Chill the hell out.

      1. Perhaps a nice cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down?
        Might do him good before he busts something important in that massive musical brain that contains all the valid opinions in the world.

  13. A little off topic, but I think it’s about time JJJ implements a weighting system to their top 10 votes. Without a weighting system, it’s entirely possibly that whatever song is selected as no. 1 isn’t actually everybody’s favourite song that voted. For all we know, that particular song may be no. 10 on everyone’s list, but because everyone voted for it, it is deemed to be no. 1. I think voters should be able to asign 2 votes (or points) to the song that they deem to be their no. 1 song for the year, with the remaining 9 songs getting a single vote only.

    I find it hard to believe that the largely uninspiring Riptide was deemed to be the best song of the year. Yeah it’s catchy, but geez, it lacks the true musical genius of say Vampire Weekend’s Hannah Hunt.

    Possibly the worst result since Mumford & Sons, yet I’m not suprised.

    PS. Great fanboy article.

  14. “And please, don’t try to claim Lorde as having substance as a music artist.”

    Only a person with ideological blinkers would not be able to hear it, Dan.

    For crying out loud, it is original, interesting, melodic, complex, what do you want? Head banging death metal???

  15. My goodness, there’s a lot of mid-life crisis whiney prat boys and girls in here, aren’t there. “Oh it doesn’t accord to my tastes, therefore they have sold out.” Pah-lease!

    ” It is music for angsty teen hipsters, and if you’re in your 30′s and your tuning in to triple J, you’re a moron.”

    Thanks, was that Mr Starling, uber-critic.

    I’m 52, and have enjoyed got into JJJ’s top 100 more of recent times, in particular because I have a 16 year old and a 14 year old. Compared to times gone by, JJJ is playing better music than it has in much of its history. It has always been bedevilled by seeking to shock and annoy and be oh so cool more than to actually promote interesting, quality music, but if it’s charter is to support local bands and break new music, well they are doing that better than any other radio station, by light years.

    Sure, you can whinge and bitch all you like about where your favourite song came. Get over it. I suggested to my kids that London Grammar’s ‘Strong’ would be in the top 20, that ‘Royals’ would be in the top 5 and possibly number one, but that Riptide was the most likely number one. It’s good music folks, even if you don’t like it. Complaining that any of those 3 (or Daft Punk’s get lucky, or Matt Corby’s ‘Resolution’) weren’t interesting, divergent, quality songs, just tends to show you up as being a little left out of the loop. Sure, I can’t stand much of Daft Punk, but who really can, without being on drugs.

    Of course some good bands missed out, sure, San Cisco’s like a version was ridiculously highly placed, while Illy’s like a version mash up should have been much higher, but you know what. I think you sort of missed the point. It was a day of going through a pretty damned good collection of songs from the year, regardless of how they were placed.

    Let me respond to Mr Starling’s vitriol. If you are in your 30’s and complaining about the top 100, you have become the cliché that you thought you were oh-so-cool and would never be seen dead with. Life has moved on.

  16. Another dull 100 voted by unemployed career students, JJJ lost the plot many many years ago…but the real tragedy is that the once great DIG radio is now run by JJJ and just plays rubbish….On the plus side, i can at least get internet radio these days and can listen to some great stations from around the world

  17. Funded station with agendas telling young people whats cool whilst also not featuring other artists who don’t meet the needs of the agenda. Pretty simple. Will play Macklemore but not Beyonce, I like neither artist but whats the disparity there? Oh… the fact that JJJ consider 1 act alternative and playable and not the other. Please people stop believing that Richard Kingsmill’s biast opinion means anything just because he talks on an “alternative” station, he rates some woefull acts, really musically inept acts that struggle to stay in tune. Keep listening to your Ipod, your better off :)

  18. I think you’ve missed the point. The diversity in the music market is the problem. The youth have a small barrel of fish to pick from. I thought the hottest 100 was a huge letdown but knew for me, it would be and it has been for a while. The music played seems so generic and hyped with little substance; fly by night. Possibly a reflection of society as a whole. Its pretty sad. If you wish jump on Ms. Razer’s bandwagon, at least write something different. And please, don’t try to claim Lorde as having substance as a music artist.

  19. Sorry to blow most of the arguements away here, but at 46 I still only listen to the JJJs, and have heard every hottest 100 they’ve had. Sometimes you just don’t like the songs that others do, I didn’t like the top 5, but that’s not because of my age, Lorde is awesome, but was flogged to death, daft punk I just don’t like and the others don’t do it for me. However I voted for covered in chrome (highest) and smiles don’t lie (second highest). The others were scattered through the top 200 mostly. Was stunned when horror shows kick it on the wild side didn’t make it, but shit happens. I read the other day that some artist had to change his style to be played on JJJ, bullshit! Maybe his original stuff was just crap. I’ve heard many different artist in the years jjj has been national, and to say its only hipster, alternative is wrong, the kings of Leon being a prime example. Elton john making hottest 100 ever another. Anyway enough ranting from an old man, I’ve learned you never please all the people any time, so keep up good work and I’ll be listening next year once again.

  20. Don’t listen to it, coz it’s crap, but here’s the problem with the author & with the whining voters. Lorde had 3 songs in the top 20, right? Simple, she suffered from “Brownlow syndrome”. Theory is too many good players in 1 year. Fact is, they all sounded the bloody same & for her to win a Grammy, on top of Gotye, the world must think our music is shit.
    Sidenote: the claim that Vance Joy was the 1st VFL player to have a hit? Wrong, Mark Jackson did it in 1985, on gor higher on the charts.

  21. The reason it’s called the ‘Hottest’ 100 is that JJJ borrowed from the original and best ‘Hot’ 100 concept which is organised by Australia’s first FM station 4ZZZ. The top 100 songs for each year are played on New Year’s Day – Lorde came in at 32 with Tennis Court, Get Lucky at 27 – no high rotation bias in this list.

    1. Yeah you’re right. It really is a true reflection without bias, so the best band in the whole world for last year The Flangipanis came in at #1 and those hipsters that all the young people are talking about the Cosmic Psychos were in the top 10.

  22. The least terrible hottest 100 in years, with far more women than usual, but still far too few (less than 20 by my reckoning, which is significantly less than the ARIA top 100 for 2013. And then there’s the almost complete lack of ethnic or racial diversity beyond Daft Punk being French – again, there’s a lot more diversity on the ARIA chart!

  23. I do find it interesting that when Triple J has done it’s Hottest 100 of All Time and the Hottest 100 in Triple J’s history, the lists are absolutely dominated by 90s rock. Very little rock appears in the countdowns now. I have read here and there that the music industry is not supporting rock and bands anymore as they are more expensive, harder to control, less reliable (as they can break up), and so on and so forth. If that is true, it’s a real shame. It seems that the taste for good rock is still strong – but bands aren’t being fostered in the same way that they used to be. Anyway, all interesting!

  24. I was wondering when the gun (you know, the one that is pointed at everyone’s head unless they listened to a certain station) appeared? Certainly these days, with all the choice of conventional radio, your own music selections, online radio, podcasting etc, why is it that – even with more choice – people feel compelled to complain about something they don’t like? It’s just silly. If people took all the time and effort they put in to complaining about something into constructing their own online radio stream, perhaps the world would be a better place?

    Need I mention that this count down should be widely accepted and appreciated, as they were just shy of 1.5 million votes…?

    1. Even if 1.5 million votes represents the wishes of 1.5 million Australians, who cares? Would it really matter if they actually got every Australian to cast a vote every year? I don’t believe anyone is so fickle that they consistently purchase music or other media simply because its popular.

      The personalities of the musicians that I’ve known (across a range of different styles, so I’m not referring to a particular subcultural tendency) give me the distinct impression that they find these sorts of polls to be alienating.

      If it’s not for the benefit of the musicians then who does it serve? The base instincts of the music fans, beating their chests that their particular favourite songs are indeed the ‘hottest’?

      Anyone inclined to vote in these sorts of polls may possibly be the kind of people whose tastes ought to be given the least credence.

      I do like your DIY online radio suggestion. However, I hasten to add that it’s not only those who complain about the poll that could benefit putting time into that sort of activity. The mewling voters would also do well to give us more than their votes: build your own radio station, or better yet, build your own songs.

  25. Triple J is garbage–and so is the Australian music industry for that matter. I resent the fact that I am expected to listen to Australian music well, just because I’m Australian. I think not.

    Try to understand, please, that JJJ is YOUTH radio. It is music for angsty teen hipsters, and if you’re in your 30’s asnd your tuning in to triple J, you’re a moron. At least when I was an angsty teen hipster music wasn’t just totally homogenised, infantile soulless piffle generated by lackwits with a pirated version of Audacity. Dress it up all you want, but 90% of what is played on JJJ falls into this category. Dub and samples blended with a spattering of minor chord progressions and overlayed with synth, synth, buckets of synth, the result being a bricolage which is specifically a shitty and uninspired form of Neo-folk rock. Asinine.

  26. Enjoyed the lazy crack at the extremely creative Bound 2 while for some reason celebrating Bloc Parties return (post-punk was 35 years ago guys) and yet another oh-so-folksy indie tune being #1.

    I’ve got nothing against jjj, but they only help promote a relatively small slice of Australian music, and unless bands fit their fairly narrow scope it’s left to the either the internet of the unsung heroes on community radio (sorry artists not from major cities) to give them exposure.

  27. great article, ‘ The irony, of course, is that each year these complaints are made by people who are a year older than they were last year, and are therefore exponentially more likely to complain about anything, especially “young people’s music” …’ totally true.
    I do think the ever-increasing need for music to be commercially viable contributes in combination with the reasons stated in the article, which has tipped JJJ over the line in the last decade.

    However, despite the fact that the accusation of ‘selling out’ is juvenile, as it completely ignores the way the art market works, the accusation itself is a very telling miscommunication of a more than reasonable frustration: that tacky music sells well, and that the general population is not autonomous when it comes to the art that they ‘like’. The forces that compel us to like particular things and dislike other things, as a cohort, are largely subliminal, and given that the grand majority of our thought processes are subconscious it therefore is quite explicable that the art which represents, accounts for, or celebrates consumer culture (rap videos and pop stars constantly yelling about money in da bank, jewellery and expensive cars, livin’ da vida materialistic, and escapist drug-fuelled techno-bangers) is voted most highly, but also easily falls victim to the ‘sell-out’ accusation.

    So, it is not that JJJ has sold out, and it’s not that most musicians have ‘sold out’ either. It is the general public, if anyone ought to be accused of ‘selling out’, who is at fault for the farcical nature of our selected ‘best 100 songs’. And you can’t even blame a semi-autonomous public for liking what they like, even when what they like sucks, because what they like has nothing to do with utility or quality. Take our most recent federal election for example. Mass deception at its very finest!

    If you liked that article you might really like:…/adorno/1944/culture-industry.htm

  28. “The Australian music scene would be a shadow of its current self if it weren’t for Triple J”….really? That’s a load of bullshit. There are countless awesome bands that JJJ don’t play that sell out shows all over the country and are quite successful overseas too. Sounds like a JJJ fanboy article….

    1. “There are countless awesome bands that JJJ don’t play that sell out shows all over the country and are quite successful overseas too.”

      Are you suggesting that only supporting successful bands would be better for the Australian music industry than having the Unearthed system that gives opportunities for unknown bands to develop an audience?

      I can’t think of any other individual establishment that has launched successful careers for unsigned Australian bands and artists than the Triple J Unearthed scheme over the last couple of decades, particularly those residing in regional areas, starting with Grinspoon in 1995.

      I am not sure what your expectations are, and certainly Triple J is far from perfect, but it has done a lot for the Australian music industry, and I would suggest has had a very positive influence on “The Australian music scene”.

    2. “Sounds like a JJJ fanboy article”

      Agreed. I don’t listen to the radio and don’t follow the JJJ Top#100 but this article reads like an apologetic and then it begs the question as to why such an article is necessary if nothing is, in fact, rotten in the state of Denmark?

      Who really cares whether or not it’s the most ‘democratic’ of polls? Will anyone admit to consciously hinging their tastes on the normative?

      I think JJJ deserves funding and I’m not trying to question its legitimacy as a station but rather, the specific value of a ‘democratically determined’ top#100… seems to be a way to generate data of little value.

  29. I’m one of those “old people” who, at the ripe age of 33 still can’t tear myself away from Triple J for so many reasons I’d be 34 before I finished listing them. Here’s the crux of it though: the Js play diverse music, discover so many bands and nurture Australian music in ways I haven’t seen done anywhere else.
    If you only tune into Triple J once a year to listen to the Hottest 100, you probably will be disappointed by the songs – you’re clearly not the target audience anyway.
    And before you start whinging about the songs that made it in, or missed out, or where songs were placed, consider whether or not you even voted. Musical democracy, remember? Don’t blame the radio station for what almost 1.5 million people voted for… for the record, I think the people who voted did a pretty darn good job.

    1. Did 1.5 million people vote? They said there were 1.5 million votes. If each person voted for 10 songs it would be more like 150,000 people. I’m not sure which one is correct, but the way the JJJ staff say it on air leaves it open and i don’t think they’ve ever said “1.5 million PEOPLE voted”

      1. Sorry Chris, my mistake. You’re right: almost 1.5 million votes. Still though, it wasn’t JJJ that did all the voting…

    2. Sshh Charlene, don’t talk too loudly about listening to Triple J at 33. The J’s receive tax payer funding to service the 18 to 24 demographic, which 24 years ago (when the J’s were rolled out nationally) were not being serviced by any FM commercial stations. A by product of this demographic (originally) was their connection to local home grown music. The issue for the J’s is there are a lot of older “rusted on” listeners and so they perform better in the 25 to 39 demo. Which probably means that sooner or later this government – and we know what they think of the ABC – will hold Triple J accountable to the fact they are appealing more to 33 year olds rather than being a “youth station”, and not supporting local music.

      1. Sadly, there STILL isn’t an alternative for the “older” TripleJ listeners, unless you live in a major metropolitan area (or have broadband). On the far south coast of NSW, it’s either the Js, RN or some gods-awful commercial radio clone. I’m not a fan of everything they play, but then I wasn’t a fan of the whole playlist when I was 20 either. In any case it sure beats the hell out of listening to my own music collection again and again.

        1. True that there isn’t a lot of options for people who want to listen to non-commercial music stations outside of the big cities. Luckily in Melbourne there is PBS and RRR, which is what I switched onto when I decided to venture beyond the Js as I got older.
          I think JJJ has a tough gig being the national youth broadcaster and the Hottest 100 certainly brings to the fore the diversity of that audience (I remember being disappointed with the results from the countdown when I was young and listened to the station).
          Internet or community radio is worth a try – both PBS and RRR can be streamed online anywhere in the country with decent internet.

      2. I turn 65 in March and listen to Triple J & Dig for the diversity and fostering of new talent. If a lot of you don’t think Triple J does much for local music just listen to the crap on commercial radio and then comment.

    3. Charlene your not old, I have been listening since about 1976 or 77 when it was still Double J! 50 now and I have no intention of not listening, learning about and appreicating all the wonderful new artists and styles of music.
      I would like to think JJJ or whatever it matures into will be playing when they put me in the ground.
      As to the Hottest 100, as always some good some bad and some that will hardley ever be heard again until you get the playlist out again in 10 or 20 years time. I love it

  30. great article! i liken it to when the federal election is done the amount of social media that is published saying ‘what how did they/that win’. It completely confuses me its a democracy! if you do not understand how a democracy works you shouldn’t be commenting on how someone/thing won!

    great music still makes it in as well dave ghrol has been in the hottest 100, 36 or 37 times!

    the other thing that also annoys me is people who don’t vote getting pissed off! if you don’t have the time to vote for your songs then don’t complain when it does not win!

  31. Not liking Triple J is just new hipster bullshit. It’s fine not to like it, and yes that psychedelic surfer stoner rock pop band you saw at token small venue isn’t played on Triple J, but please just shut the f-ck up about it. That band you saw was most likely not played on any radio station because they are actually just shit. And the reason you hate Triple J is because they play music you don’t like. Which is a fine reason. Go and find another station and stop complaining.

    1. It would be nice if I could stop *paying* for JJJ, though, seeing as they’re not supporting local music in any serious way or doing anything else that I see as worthwhile.

  32. ..and it’s the same old “if you don’t like it.. you must be too old” defense. Well no.. I’m 22 and I hate JJJ. I don’t like Justin Beiber either.. Is that coz I’m too old? No.. It’s coz HE’S CRAP!!

  33. “The Australian music scene would be a shadow of its current self if it weren’t for Triple J”. Total rubbish. The Australian music scene would be thriving if Triple J actually did their job. Only a consumerist idiot who’s feet aren’t on the ground would write such an article as this. Just coz you like it mate.. doesn’t mean it’s good.


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