Hottest 100 - Where Are They Now?
A look back at 21 years of Hottest 100 winners.
With triple j’s Hottest 100 poll as you know it* approaching faster than you can say 'If Taylor Swift Wins I’m Out', we thought it’d be fun to cast a reminiscing eye over the past 21 years of champions to see where they’re at... Or in some cases just bitch about songs and artists we don’t like.
*We’re counting 1993 as the start as it was the first year you could only vote for songs released in that year.
1993: Denis Leary – Asshole
It’s pretty crazy to think the first song to ever win a Hottest 100 was pretty much a joke song, but such was the popularity of this call-to-arms in 1993. You most likely know Leary from a pretty long and successful stand-up comedy/acting career, recently seen (spoiler alert) getting dead from a giant lizard man in The Amazing Spider-Man. So while his music career has failed since achieving this Hottest 100 glory, I don’t think he’s losing any sleep over the whole thing.
1994: The Cranberries – Zombie
The Irish rockers have enjoyed a long and somewhat successful career over the past 20-plus years (that does include a six-year hiatus up to 2009), although they arguably never reached the same lofty heights as during the earlier Zombie/Linger era. They released an album called Roses in 2012, and there were murmurs of some court action between frontwoman Delores O’Riordan and songwriting partner Noel Hogan, although nothing appears to have come from it.
1995: Oasis – Wonderwall
The brothers’ Gallagher have enjoyed a long and successful career of bickering heaps to the point where everyone’s pretty much lost interest. Wonderwall also topped the Hottest 100 Of All Time Poll, and continues to be the most jukeboxed song in the history of pubs, along with the most “played by that wanker who brought a guitar to the camping trip to try and impress girls” song.
1996: Spiderbait – Buy Me A Pony
This song is only 1:41, which is crazy short. It was also the first song to win the Hottest 100 from an Australian band. Spiderbait released their first album in nine years in 2013 to not a whole lot of fanfare, but Kram & Co. have remained festival staples on the back of this song, Black Betty and Calypso. Seriously - that shit was hectic at Southbound a couple of weeks ago. The bogan is alive and well in Australia, let me tell you that much.
1997: The Whitlams – No Aphrodisiac
The Whitlams have remained a national treasure since the early ‘90s right up until their current hiatus, which began in 2011. Frontman Tim Freedman has enjoyed plenty of success on his own, and the group itself has gone through a number of different lineup changes over the past two decades. Tragically the two other founding members, Stevie Plunder and Andy Lewis, both committed suicide at different stages over the years.
1998: The Offspring – Pretty Fly For A White Guy
The Offspring formed 30 (!) years ago. Which means out of three decades of being in existence, the group experienced two epic years with the release of Smash, and that's about it. Sure later albums did okay, but they never really tapped into the zeitgeist like ...White Guy did. Apparently they’re working on a new album, and you can expect to hear new music from it at the end of this month. Will it feature in the 2015 Hottest 100? The odds are not in their favour.
1999: Powderfinger – These Days
Arguably one of this country’s most successful acts, they’re the only act to have topped the Hottest 100 more than once. They pretty much just kept charging on until their eventual disbandment in 2010, and no one got tired of them and it was pretty good case of getting out while you're on top. Australia as a whole fucking loves them, and you can lock in a sold out stadium reunion tour within the next five years.
2000: Powderfinger – My Happiness
The second of three Powderfinger songs to top the list, I already talked about them up there so I’ll recall a short anecdote about My Happiness: I made this song my high school girlfriend and I's “song”. Which kinda makes me cringe to think about just in general, but the fact this song is also about being lonely, and is thus wildly inappropriate as a choice of song for you and your partner, makes it worse. Young love right?
2001: Alex Lloyd – Amazing
I’m anointing this as the first real one hit wonder on the list (Denis Leary is a funny bastard and doesn’t count). Alex Lloyd has really done not a whole lot since you heard Amazing an amazingly huge number of times in one year. Go on, name me another of his songs.
2002: Queens Of The Stoneage – No One Knows
Queens Of The Stoneage were legends before this song came out, and still remain so up to the release of their 2013 album …Like Clockwork. Homme almost died during a botched knee operation in 2010, and former keyboardist Natasha Shneider died after a long battle with cancer in 2008. They toured Australia with Nine Inch Nails last year and even Senator Scott Ludlam thought they were fucking sick.
2003: Jet – Are You Gonna Be My Girl?
Of all the songs on this list Are You Gonna Be My Girl? would have to be up there as the most ‘moment in time’ on the list. Is there anyone out there who might be sitting at home one day who says to themselves: "I feel like listening to some music, maybe I'll put Jet on." The Cester brothers should have copied the Gallagher brothers model of just bickering all the time to stay in the news, because album number two was heard by no one. And Pitchfork just embedded a video of a monkey pissing in its own mouth for a 0/10 review.
2004: Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
While Franz Ferdinand have never quite captured the same amount of glory as around Take Me Out time in Australia, they remain a globally strong drawcard on the back of the three albums released since their self-titled break-out LP in 2004.
2005: Bernard Fanning – Wish You Well
The third Powderfinger song to top the Hottest 100 (if you think there was anything differentiating Bernard Fanning’s solo project from Powderfinger I will happily fight you to the death about it) and also one of its most yawn-inducing winners. As soon as it came out it was destined to top the Hottest 100, ticking all the boxes of a nostalgic Aussie rock scene. He released a follow-up album to 2005’s Tea & Sympathy called Departures in 2013, which topped the charts briefly and has since been largely forgotten.
2006: Augie March – One Crowded Hour
Although Augie March formed in 1996 it wasn’t until 2006 when their breakthrough finally arrived in the form of One Crowded Hour. It came from the awesomely-titled album Moo, You Bloody Choir, which was followed by the less successful Watch Me Disappear and a lengthy hiatus, until their 2014 return with Havens Dumb.
2007: Muse – Knights Of Cydonia
Arguably one of the most surprising songs to win the Hottest 100, Knights Of Cydonia was the Australian peak for a British trio who had been, and continue to, pump out epic rock operas since their formation in 1994. Their new output since Blackholes & Revelations has been largely replaced by a constant super-sizing of their live show and DVDs showing how fucking massive they’re able to push Muse in the live realm.
2008: Kings Of Leon – Sex Is On Fire
Sex Is On Fire marked the beginning of the end for Kings Of Leon being taken as a credible band by butt-hurt indie kids who could not wait to tell you Youth & Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak were SO MUCH BETTER. They're the same people who refuse to look past The Wire as the greatest contribution to television ever: 'Yeah, Breaking Bad is a great show, but it will never, ever be as good as The Wire'. I still maintain that Because Of The Times was a perfectly acceptable next step to take the group to Pearl Jam-type levels, and a bloody good album. Come Around Sundown is shithouse though and fucked it for everyone, probably not helped by in-fighting and drug/alcohol problems.
2009: Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man
While I’ve never really understood the appeal of Mumford & Sons, many of my esteemed colleagues love them, and to be fair their set at Splendour In The Grass in 2013 was pretty epic. Their output since the album this came from (Sigh No More), while lacking bangers of the Little Lion Man ilk, has still been critically and commercially accepted by many. They’re currently working on a new record due this year.
2010: Angus & Julia Stone – Big Jet Plane
The hardest working lady in Australian music and her perpetually stoned brother (j/ks we love you both equally as much) have had a pretty consistent output since fully breaking out in 2010. Both pushed out some solo projects following the release of Down The Way, leading up to a triumphant return last year with their Rick Rubin-produced self-titled LP. It’s been their highest charting to date, reaching the top 10 in several countries.
2011: Gotye – Now You’re Just Somebody That I Used To Know feat. Kimbra
This video has been viewed almost 600million times. I’m gonna play the high ground and not just be like Now He’s Just Somebody That We Used To Know, because this song took Gotye to the world in a way no other Australian act has ever experienced. And if he’s sad about people forgetting about him since that song came out, I’m sure he’s wiping away any tears with piles and piles of dollar bills.
2012: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop feat. Wanz
Is it over the top to say this is Hottest 100/Australia’s greatest shame. When people complain about music not being timeless anymore, this is what they’re talking about. Apparently we’re getting the follow up album to The Heist later this year, so there’s that.
2013: Vance Joy - Riptide
Where is Vance Joy now? Still basking in the glory of his huge single Riptide, that’s where. It’s too soon to tell if I’ll be writing this article again in 20 years time (god help me if I am) and Vance Joy becomes either an Alex Lloyd or a Powderfinger. At this point though you’d be well advised getting to his (very packed) festival sets towards the end to save yourself some time in the sun.