Who's going to take out triple j's Hottest 100 of the Decade?
It's been a big ten years for music, so where do you even begin?
Across the past 30 years or so of the countdown, triple j's Hottest 100 has veered away from its stock-standard format a few times now. It was originally conceived as a yearly countdown of the best songs of all time - which is how it ran between 1989 and 1991, won by Joy Division and Nirvana in those three years - before switching to a yearly countdown of the best songs of the year just gone. Since its first go in the current format in 1992, the Hottest 100 hasn't really veered away from this path too often: they revisited the best songs of all time format as a separate countdown in 1998 and 2009, did a 'Best Australian Albums' poll in 2011, and ran a best songs of the past 20 years countdown in 2013 - won by Oasis' Wonderwall.
Although this year's Hottest 100 - tipped to be won by either Denzel Curry or Tones And I (regardless, it will set a record for the Hottest 100 as either the first Like A Version or first solo female musician to take it out) - hasn't even happened yet, triple j are already keen to celebrate the decade just gone with a countdown they haven't really done before, a.k.a. one that aims to celebrate the last ten years - and only the last ten years - of triple j and the music it's pushed throughout this time.
There has been a lot happen in this time. In the past, triple j's all-time polls have been won by artists who wouldn't have a single song nominated this time around - Nirvana, Oasis, Powderfinger, Joy Division - but instead, the last ten years have been dictated and dominated by a new realm of musicians: Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, Florence and the Machine, Flume, Nick Murphy, Childish Gambino and the list goes on. Streaming has built stars out of nothing - Tones And I, Lil Nas X, basically every Tik Tok-manufactured song occupying a top-ten space on the charts - and Australian music has felt more dominative than ever, with everyone from Gotye to The Rubens taking out the countdown in the past ten years.
Summarising the last ten years of music into just ten tracks is a huge move, and unlike the standard Hottest 100 - whose winner is typically pretty well predicted before the countdown's voting opens, bar a few surprises over the years - it's difficult to know where to start with a decade-long encapsulation of music: many ex-Hottest 100 winners will (hopefully, in the case of people like Macklemore) be absent in the countdown, and it's hard to say a track like Riptide is as universally-adored today as some of the tracks it beat out to win, such as Lorde's Royals and Arctic Monkeys' Do I Wanna Know?.
So, who will take it out? Here's who we think have a good chance:
Ex-Hottest 100 winners:
The most obvious choice for a Hottest 100 of the Decade winner would be someone who has won the countdown sometime in the past decade, and there's been some remarkably incredible acts to do so: Angus & Julia Stone, Gotye, Nick Murphy, Flume, Kendrick Lamar and last year's winner, Ocean Alley. Many of these winning songs garner just as strong of a reaction today as they did back then, so it's far to say that some of these - at least Angus & Julia Stone's Big Jet Plane, Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know and Flume's Never Be Like You will be somewhere towards the top twenty, if not number one itself.
However, there's a couple of Hottest 100 winners that we think have been left in the year from which they exploded. If Macklemore's Thrift Shop is declared one of the best songs of the past ten years I'll trek it out to Mars for the rest of my life, and it's hard to see The Rubens' Hoops get anywhere close to the top even if it was a recent winner - it's one of the most controversial winners of the past decade, with many people still in denial that it beat out tracks like King Kunta and Tame Impala's double whammy of The Less I Know The Better / Let It Happen.
Who'll be towards the top: Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know, Angus & Julia Stone's Big Jet Plane, Flume's Never Be Like You, Kendrick Lamar's HUMBLE.
The real Hottest 100 winners in our hearts (a.k.a. past top tens):
Across the past ten years, some really great artists have taken out the Hottest 100, but seem even better artists have been just edged out of the countdown. Sometimes, the country doesn't have taste (see earlier comments on Thrift Shop) and some real class singles just miss out, but something we've found in the past (especially when a Hottest 100 winner has been somewhat meme-y, like Macklemore) is that often these number twos and threes have something called longevity: people don't play Hoops at parties anymore (I think), but they'd probably play Disclosure's Magnets.
Listing the ones that just missed out in the past years presents some incredibly solid predictions at who might take it out, even if they couldn't win over the voters in the year of release. In 2010, there was Ou Est Le Swimming Pool's Dance The Way I Feel, Adrian Lux's Teenage Crime (!) and Art vs Science's Magic Fountain. In 2011, The Black Keys' Lonely Boy, Matt Corby's Brother, Lana Del Rey's Video Games, M83's Midnight City and in 2012, Little Talks, Breezeblocks, Flume's Holdin' On and Tame Impala's Elephant. You get the deal.
Who'll be towards the top: Matt Corby's Brother, Lana Del Rey's Video Games, Flume's Holdin' On, Alt-J's Breezeblocks, Lorde's Royals, Arctic Monkeys' Do I Wanna Know?, Kendrick's King Kunta, Tame Impala's The Less I Know The Better, Gang of Youths' Let Me Down Easy, Fisher's Losing It (please).
The songs that are, quite obviously, deserving the best of the best ten years:
Look at it this way, when you get a few million-odd people around the world to vote in a musical countdown, it's going to be a popularity test. As a result, some of the decade's most incredible songs didn't even make a splash into the countdown's top ten the years they were released, instead finding themselves on tastemakers' "best songs of the decade" lists in the few months of list heaven that kicked in around the end of last year. There's a good chance none of these acts are going to take it out, but if Australia finally decides to gain a sense of taste in the month before voting opens, maybe it can happen?
Let's take a look of the songs being listed amongst the best of the decade. Pitchfork had Kendrick Lamar's Alright, Grimes' Oblivion, Robyn's Dancing On My Own, Beyoncé's Formation and Frank Ocean's Thinkin' Bout You. Consequence of Sound had some of those, plus Kendrick's DNA., Kanye West's Power, Vampire Weekend's Diane Young and Adele's Rolling In The Deep. Rolling Stone also had Kanye's Runaway, Cardi B's I Like It and Drake's Hotline Bling for some reason. NME? Think The 1975's Love It If We Made It, M.I.A's Bad Girls and Frank Ocean's Pyramids. We can keep going.
Who'll be towards the top: Kanye West's Runaway, Robyn's Dancing On My Own, Frank Ocean's Thinkin Bout You.
If there's one thing we've come to learn in the last ten years of music, it's that the people really enjoy memes - especially so, when they're music-based. Over the past ten years, there's been a couple of throw-ins into the Hottest 100 that you can't help but wonder how they got there, whether it be a tech-house surfer from Queensland almost winning the whole thing last year, or tracks like Call Me Maybe and Hotline Bling - tracks that might've not had much success in the year of their release, but we know how the internet works these days.
It's a little hard to predict what tracks are going to become the meme of the countdown, or which tracks Facebook groups like the 15,000-strong Sultanaposting are going to influence to hit the top, but there's a chance that a winner no-one even really likes may take it out. I don't know if Call Me Maybe or Hotline Bling will be the ones to do it, but I can kinda see a grassroots movement to make Gotye's track take it out seeing as it's something that still pops up on memes here and there, or something like FISHER's Losing It saying as it got all so close the last time.
Who'll be towards the top: Honestly, who knows. No-one can predict the internet these days. Probably The Rubens' Hoops though, because the internet would do that to us.
RÜFÜS DU SOL's Innerbloom and Flight Facilities' Claire De Lune:
Because c'mon, imagine two of the most magical songs of the past ten years taking it out.
Voting for triple j's Hottest 100 of the Decade opens in February, with the winner announced at a March date to be announced. More details announced soon.