This year's Hottest 100 winner is likely out by now, so who's it going to be?
It's early days - voting doesn't open for months yet - but a clear winner is already emerging.
It's early days to call a Hottest 100 winner in October, but statistically speaking, the winner is probably very well-known by now. Since 2010, only one winner - Macklemore's Thrift Shop, the winner everyone would prefer to forget about - has been released in the second half of every year, with a large clump of past winners - Flume, Nick Murphy and last year's winner Ocean Alley included - releasing their winning song within the first two months of the year, meaning that this year's winner is almost definitely a song that's already out, and almost definitely one everyone is more than familiar with.
Generally speaking, as we hit this point of the year, the clear frontrunners emerge. By October, Flume's Never Be Like You was a chart-dominating, internationally-spanning runaway hit that would eventually lead to his first GRAMMY and although last year's winner was a Hoops-esque unexpected show-stealer, the countdown's top five were well and truly narrowed down to a handful of songs that would prove victorious: Confidence, Sicko Mode, This Is America, I Said Hi and the Losing It (how Losing It ended up #2 is still unknown to us, but we still cackle over it daily).
This year, it seems like the uncertainty of last year's top-end is fading, because there's a clear winner - and some clear follow-ups - emerging. It's almost certain that Tones And I will come to dominate this year's countdown: Dance Monkey, her runaway hit, is one of the most successful Australian songs of all time chart-wise, and has broke a couple of records in the process, while it's also finding itself a chart-topped in Europe and the UK, where it hit number one last week. There's a good chance some of her other songs - Johnny Run Away, her debut, and Never Seen The Rain - will come up strong too.
Elsewhere, it's fairly obvious that Billie Eilish will have a big year, with Bad Guy a certain top-five lock-in while much of her album is sure to take spots elsewhere; Tame Impala's Patience and Denzel Curry's Bulls On Parade cover also likely to fall somewhere up the top; the latter undergoing another resurgence after performances of it alongside JPEGMafia and slowthai - two hip-hop success stories of 2019 - came to light after Listen Out Festival.
Here's who we reckon might take it out:
Tones And I - Dance Monkey
At this point, Tones And I's Dance Monkey is a sure-winner. It ticks all the boxes: triple j Unearthed success story-turned-viral, chart-topping hit; crossover into international waters to cater the small, yet essential global vote; released in the first half of the year meaning that's been able to keep on everyone's minds for much of the year thus far. In fact, not since Never Be Like You has a winner been so easily identifiable ahead of time, even HUMBLE. tackled a bit of competition by Gang of Youths and Amy Shark.
However, Australia's tall poppy syndrome - largely against females too - means that Tones And I may become the target of the anti-vote: strategic votes, often from Facebook shitposting groups, designed to cut off a certain song from the countdown by voting for its biggest competition, something we saw a bit of last year with Amy Shark's I Said Hi. Then, there's the fact that she's a female full-stop: a solo, female musician has never, ever won a Hottest 100 before in history, the closest being Lorde's Royals a few years back.
Billie Eilish - Bad Guy
While Lil Nas X's record-reigning chart run in the US stole all the headlines, Billie Eilish's Bad Guy - her brooding, house-paced album-opener - was quietly hovering just behind at #2. It's a massive hit both in Australia and internationally, 'cool' enough to capture the triple j fans yet also commercial enough that a blind-eyed voter will also likely to vote for her, and much like Dance Monkey before it, Bad Guy is a hovering song, as in one that really won't go away both on radio and in your heads.
In saying that, like Tones And I before her, Billie's triple j reign comes with some problems. There's the bias against female winners once again, but Billie's also international too; the Hottest 100 purists vocal about HUMBLE. taking it out over Gang Of Youths, an Australian band, are likely to make a return and shoot it down. Either way, whether it's Tones or Billie on top come January, it'll still be record breaking.
Tame Impala - Patience
In contrast to Dance Monkey and Bad Guy, Patience is a bit of a sleeper hit. It's huge on triple j - easily amongst the station's most-played songs this year - but it didn't catch on with the commercial radio world and even Tame Impala fans themselves are a bet here-or-there about the single, especially compared with the strength of Currents which would come to dominate the Hottest 100 that year.
In saying that, never underestimate Tame Impala's Hottest 100 reign. Despite never taking it out, they're one of the country's most popular acts in the countdown and every album release sees them pepper both the high and low ends of the Hottest 100, and although the album isn't quite out yet, it's likely that Patience and Borderline will be somewhere int here, most likely at the top.
Denzel Curry - Bulls On Parade
While it's definitely unlikely that a triple j Like A Version will take out the entire Hottest 100, if there's one that's going to do it, it'll be Denzel Curry covering Rage Against The Machine's Bulls On Parade. It was explosive from the get-go, one of the best Like A Versions in the program's long history, and it quickly became an international success too, finding its way into headlines around the country and never quite leaving it since. Additionally, it parallels the dominance of hip-hop this year, and in a countdown built the encapsulate the year's worth of listening, it would make sense for a rapper to take it out.
On the contrary, however, Denzel Curry isn't a crossover rapper whose cult audience crosses over into the commercial world like Kendrick's did, and even when Kendrick did eventually take it out on his second try, it came with a bunch of cries about how the Hottest 100 should support Australians. Denzel Curry is a bit of a triple j darling, however, and the crossover with RATM fans means that this may just have its shot.
... and the acts not likely to take it out, but will probably do bloody good:
Every year, there's a handful of acts that are teetering on the edge of 'big enough that they may become a dark horse of the countdown' and 'small enough that they don't quite have a shot', and there's a collection of some very fine artists who might just have a crack this year, but it would be quite an upset if it happens:
Mallrat - Charlie: Mallrat is already a triple j favourite, and she has experience at the top-end of the countdown, with Groceries finding itself in the top 10 last year. Charlie could definitely do it again, it'll just depend on how the next few months pan out.
BENEE - Glitter: While last year's Soaked would've probably faired a lot better if it made this year's countdown versus last year - where it still charted, mind you - there's a strong shot Glitter could do one better. It's currently being slammed by triple j, too.
Post Malone - Circles: I don't think many people would be happy with Post Malone taking out the Hottest 100, but he's the biggest artist in the world right now, and it's very likely that Circles will come somewhere close to the top.
Lil Nas X - Old Town Road: Often, a glimpse flash of virality doesn't ensure Hottest 100 success, but sometimes - Thrift Shop, for example - it does. It's this year's biggest song, but it doesn't quite have the triple j crossover needed to take it out.
The Jungle Giants - Heavy Hearted: This track isn't exactly a Hottest 100 winner just yet, but it's still holding strong as we enter Summer: a time in which The Jungle Giants' festival-ready tunes often prosper. We could see this being a slow-burner.
Taylor Swift - You Need To Calm Down: #Tay4Hottest100
Voting for this year's triple j Hottest 100 will likely open this December.