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Triple J’s Hottest 100 2016: a personal and biased account

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What follows is a personal and entirely biased account of yesterday’s Triple J Hottest 100 by someone who spent most of his teenage years in his bedroom listening to Triple J but stopped when he thought the bulk of the DJs started resembling ”teenage versions of the ‘DJ 3000’ bot from The Simpsons”. “They came across as the popular kids at school trying to be edgy and failing miserably,” Ben Woods says.

He returned to the station yesterday with an “open mind”, to note any songs that he really likes and any that he thinks suck as hard as Invasion Day.

100. Birds of Tokyo – ‘Brace’ – Just the sort of bland, tuneless, passionless audio junk that many describe as the stereotypical JJJ indie sound – somewhat redeemed by a symphonic hard rock ending.

99. Drake (Ft. Rhianna) – ‘Too Good’ – Sounds like jeans shop music.

97. Alex Lahey -‘You don’t think you like people like me’ – Again, standard JJJ indie sound!

96. Elk Road – ‘Hanging by a Thread’ (with Natalie Foster) – Very bland in the verses but has a chorus and voice that genuinely made an old grump like me shuffle my can – some groovy sax too.

93. Empire of the Sun – ‘High and Low’ – Just another Empire of the Sun song. The estate of JG Ballard should sue.

92. Violent Soho – ‘ How to Taste’ – An example of how to do hard rock poorly. Like all their songs.

90. Luca Brasi – ‘Anything Near Conviction’ – This is the last time I call something ‘standard JJJ indie sound’. If you can’t say anything nice, everyone’s mother said …

89. Safia – ‘Over You’ – Yay, a good song! It has a nice groove and these lads can more than carry a tune. It’s a little ‘slick’ to end up on my portable music playing device …

88. Childish Gambino – ‘Me and Your Mama’ – Wow! Two good ones in a row! These are some talented people. Begins with some sweet and unique sounds before it switches up big time and gets mad. Go!

86. Bliss n Esso – ‘Dopamine’ (Ft Thief) – Another old bugbear of mine with the J’s was the preponderance of poor quality Aussie hip hop.

80. Banks – ‘Gemini Feed’ – Much better than a lot of what has come before it. It is a pop song that shows creativity and does not rely on the RnB and hip hop mix that a huge percentage of the songs in the bottom 20 have.

79. Radiohead – ‘Burn the Witch’ – This would be my number one. A song for our times. Jonny Greenwoods’ edgy string arrangement perfectly captures the paranoia of Thom Yorke’s lyrics about the current political and social climate. I’ve been burned as a witch myself.

76. The Amity Affliction – ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’ – These guys sound like they’ve been heavily influenced by Linkin Park. Linkin Park are a bad influence! You’ll ruin your lives!

74. Camp Cope – ‘Lost: Season One’ – A quality indie rock song! Superficially, perhaps not miles away from the ones above I’ve complained about, but this song has feeling and has a decent tune.

72. Kanye West – ‘Famous’ – I’m not reviewing this for anyone.

71. Broods – ‘Free’ – Yay again! This is great. They are serious about creating. I am biased in favour of the synth sound that they use here, but the song is craftily put together

68. LDRU ‘Next To You (Ft. Savoi)’ – Sounds like a 2Day FM staple. Furthermore, it seems to me that an overwhelming percentage of songs ‘featuring’ someone completely suck.

66. Beyonce ‘Hold Up’ – I can see what the fuss about Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ album is about if this is anything to go by. It’s well crafted. A lot has gone into this song, it’s catchy and you can feel her poor broken heart

65. The Amity Affliction – ‘All Fucked Up’ … Indeed …

64. Maggie Rogers – ‘Alaska’ – This is a nice pop song with a genuine mid-tempo groove and she is a great singer. I’m starting to fear I’m being brainwashed …

61. King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard – ‘Gamma Knife’ – At last, a quality hard rock song! A sound collage of groovy and heavyish 60s/70s-inspired prog, baby.

60. Sofi Tukker – ‘Drinkee’ – Two songs in a row that I really like! This one gets 10/10 for originality. It begins with an odd but groovy, ‘plucky’ electric guitar riff. When the singing begins it is more like rapping, and a hip-hop beat is added. I hope that makes sense. A great song!

59. Frank Ocean – ‘Solo’ – Go away, Frank.

58. Ali Barter – ‘Girlie Bits’ – This is reminiscent of ’90s female artists I was deeply in love with – Veruca Salt and Liz Phair … Ahhhh … I can’t review this objectively. Sorry.

55. RÜFÜS – ‘Say a Prayer for Me’ – This is another jeans shop song. I despise it.

54. Blink 182 – ‘Bored to Death’ – Age has further wearied them, unfortunately the years have not condemned …

51. Sticky Fingers – ‘Outcast at Last’ – I reckon these guys are fans of the mighty Poppies (Pop Will Eat Itself). They’ve put a lot of work into it and that always deserves respect. It’s enjoyable in parts (good that it has parts!) but mostly it meanders.

50. Gang of Youths – ‘Strange Diseases’ – I’d describe this as sounding like a better than average Brit-Pop song and I hated Blur. There is a bit of ‘symphony’ to this.

48. Kingswood – ‘Creepin’ – Another well put together song, but it is too ‘slick’ to achieve the ‘creepiness’ they are going for. I could be annoyed by this if I thought too much about it actually -lacks authenticity.

46. Mac Miller (Ft. Anderson. Paak) – ‘Dang!’ – More evidence of my ‘featuring’ theory

44. D Dumbo – ‘Satan’ – Mr Dumbo has been highly praised and awarded by Triple J and indeed he is a talented musician. However, in my opinion he is not that clever a songwriter. A lot of effort has gone into the composition of this song, but considering its stated apocalyptic theme and layers of sounds it lacks weight and I won’t remember it tomorrow. Sorry mate.

41. The Weeknd (Ft. Daft Punk) – ‘I Feel it Coming’ – This is not in because of my ‘featuring’ theory (though it is another example) but because the JJJ announcers were particularly excited by its inclusion and it’s the most 2Day FM pop excrement yet featured on the countdown. JJJ is supposed to be for ‘youth’ who are also ‘weird’!

37. Flume (Ft. Vince Staples/KUCKA) – ‘Smoke and Retribution’ – I was going to say a few things about this but will leave it to the following. This song was pre-announced as ‘heavy (or noisy)’ and ‘weird’. That’s just flat out bollocks. He is massively popular worldwide and therefore we have to laud him?

34. Dune Rats – ‘Scott Green’ – This is the sort of novelty drug song that the Hottest 100 is famous for but this one is particularly terrible. QOTSA’s ‘Feelgood Hit of the Summer’ it ain’t. However, at least it is in theory what Triple J was always supposed to be about and still markets itself as. I mean, the youth are still taking drugs!

28. The Avalanches – ‘Frankie Sinatra’ – These guys have had a landslide of entries this year. They do quirkiness and I can’t remember one of their tunes that works in my humble opinion.

21. The Smith Street Band – ‘Death to the Lads’ – What the hell is this?

20. The XX – ‘On Hold’ – Again, if this came on my friend’s car radio, I’d holler, ‘why are we on 2Day Fm?’

12. Milky Chance – ‘Cocoon’ – There seems to be a bell-curve phenomenon going on in this countdown, in that all the rubbish is at the top and the bottom with some really great music in the middle. I can’t forget this song soon enough. Let’s see how the top 10 pan out …

9. Peking Duk (Ft. Elliphant) ‘Stranger’ – I’m starting to think that some of these people create this stuff purely just to make a buck.

7. Illy (Ft. Vera Blue) – ‘Paper Cuts’ – This song has been talked up all day as being a potential number one. Obviously very popular and I’ll be buggered if I know why. This is like the Top 40 singles. The higher you get the worse the quality. Maybe number one will be Euthanasia?

3. Tash Sultana – ‘Jungle’ – The first song high in the countdown that I would consider that is more than just throwaway pop – instantly forgettable, unless heard ad-nauseum as per radio playlists, which is how they get into your head, not because of their quality! This has been studied! Anyway, this is a lovely tune – a distinctive ‘stoner’ groove. I wouldn’t rate it so high, but that is purely my opinion.

2. Amy Shark – ‘Adore’ – An inoffensive, middle of the road torch song.

1. Flume (Ft. Kai) – ‘Never Be Like You’ – I’m reading Karl Ove Knausgaard’s ‘My Struggle’ series at the moment. I can relate to him quite a bit, apart from my lack of talent. Anyway, I just read a bit about him looking over a friend’s record collection and describing it as that of someone who enjoys music, like most people, but is not really passionate about it and mostly goes along with the crowd. I have by no means agreed with Hottest 100 Number 1s through the years, even when I followed it religiously, but this is a very bland song and I think my Norwegian friend is onto something when it comes to the popularity of Flume, especially with the Triple J crowd. Or else, I might be on the wrong planet.

4 responses to “Triple J’s Hottest 100 2016: a personal and biased account

  1. The Simpson’s reference is apposite Ben. Like Homer, you are going through the ‘Rock died in 1974’ period of your life, although in your case probably 2004.

    There is something that happens in your early 30’s when you start to realise you dislike what young people are listening to. The reason is as simple as young people growing old and experiencing grumpy old man nostalgia for the first time in your life.

    If you’re lucky, as I have been, you will get it back in your 50’s. Today’s music is infinitely broader and more accessible that any period in history, brought about by the fact that people can produce beautiful music in their bedrooms and publish it. It’s a great period, just sieve through the crap and pick out the gold, there is plenty out there.

    Was a pretty good year, but like last year no absolute gold at the top, but good stuff all the same. You’ll get your ears back, in a decade or two. Try to get over the nostalgia early if you can. The late 80’s and 90’s was mostly trash of the worst order, and like all years, with some gold scattered here and there. Eventually you’ll see that every year is like that.

    My song of the year, by a long way, was Mid Ayr’s ‘Letting you in’. Doesn’t seem to have featured in the second 100 either although I missed a few songs today. Probably too sophisticated for the young ear, but I’ll forgive them. Check it out, it’s one of the best songs I have heard for years, maybe decades.

  2. You nailed it Dog’s Breakfast. As a 45 years old dude who has never stopped listening to Triple J, I go through periods of needing to ‘catch back up’. And of course there are moments in the H100 where you question the ranking or an overt pop influence. My best of the year BTW… was Cub Sport ‘Mess me up’. Gave me tingles when I first heard it… and still does.

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