Song lists, Uncategorized

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: top 10 songs of 2016…




… for the Triple J Hottest 100. Don’t forget to vote!


Howdy, music lovers!

I haven’t written anything for quite some time, and for that I apologise. I was deeply involved in #nanowrimo, which devoured my entire November. Add onto that a hectic Christmas / trying to get my shit together before launching into 2017, and here we are!

2016 was a rough one, on many levels. But, I’m determined to not dwell on the past and instead look to the future and fully embrace the present. I encourage you all to do the same.

Moving on, to the reason I’m writing today: I’ve cast my votes for the Triple J Hottest 100! Woohoo, so excited.

Me, January 26th, 2011

Hottest 100 Day is, quite honestly, my Christmas. I have listened to the countdown for the past 19 years running, and immensely enjoy every second of it.

Of course, not all songs in the countdown will be top notch. In fact, there have been numerous cases where I’ve seriously questioned the sobriety of the voters based on some of their choices! 😛

Regardless, I have a ball every year. House parties, comfort of home, beers, barbecues, sun, music, water, air con, friends, laughs, comradery… combinations of these features have been a constant theme over my almost-two decade listening history, and is my idea of a perfect day.

Anyway, enough with the schoolgirl excitement spiel! I will now list the ten songs I voted for, and exactly why & how they’re outstanding.

01) The XX – On Hold

This, right here, is my number one song of the year. Emotive, sexy, heart-wrenching, with a little mystery. Full of hope and possibility. It stays with me days later, every time I hear it. The infectious drumming machine, Romy Madley Croft’s innocent, pure, beautiful voice, contrasting Oliver Sim’s sultry, lulling vocals makes for a potent combination.

I float, whenever I listen to this. I simply float.

Where it takes me: a void, in the middle of the universe, allowing me all the time and space I need to reflect on the people – and the loves – that have entered and subsequently left my life. A vacuum where time and space do not exist, and I have enough clear-headedness to deal with the typhoon of emotions inside myself.

Favourite lyric: “The stars and the charts and the cards make sense, only when we want them to. When I lie awake staring into space, I see a different view.”


02) Hellions – Quality Of Life

I wasn’t taken much by this one, at first, but every word is a huge motivational kick in the arse. When you cut through all that screaming, it’s a tune about not succumbing to be society’s puppet, to fight against being a cog in the machine, and to do whatever the fuck you want with your life, and stop listening to the people who keep telling you something is pointless or impossible.

Where it takes me: I’m at a motivational speaker’s convention, like Tony Robbins, for example, but instead of him standing on stage speaking into a microphone, he’s doing multiple backflips, is putting on a huge pyrotechnics cirque de soleil style of theatrics, all while shooting endless fireworks into the air. Every word of this song does it. Every. Single. Word.

Favourite lyric: [Right. I couldn’t choose just one. So, I’m going against the rules and putting all lyrics right here, because it’s too amazing to let slide. You need to read this. In full. Trust me.]

[Verse 1]
So if I’ve got your contempt, then know you’ve got mine
Covet a home of trinkets, living supine
So tell me what is real and all that constitutes that
A collared man breathes on your neck, they’re on your back
In fact, fuck that: I pity you

Validation, valediction
What’s the difference now?
Eschew the standard
Turn the paradigm upside down
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
Don’t feel obliged to live a life you never wanted to
The best way out is straight through
Let intuition guide you
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
But you know that you don’t

[Verse 2]
Don’t you pay no heed to those who take no liberties
The way of the sheep is not for me
(Behind your walls, you cannot see)
I’m glad you met the standard
So pleased you met your quota
It’s myopic
Hand in your pocket
Mind on your wallet
Fuck that I pity you
Live for you

Validation, valediction
What’s the difference now?
Eschew the standard
Turn the paradigm upside down
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
Don’t feel obliged to live a life you never wanted to
The best way out is straight through
Let intuition guide you
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
But you know that you don’t

[Verse 3]
(Back) So bring it back to me
(True) So tell me honestly
(When) My friend, don’t lie to me
Did you ever really love everything that you did
And everywhere that you’ve been?
Are you just scared to live?
So don’t accuse me of living a life I’ll regret
I’m not a hypocrite – another marionette
So hold your hands high
You abide by your strings in the sky
Dancing to a preordained lie
You’re a marionette

Validation, valediction
What’s the difference now?
Eschew the standard
Turn the paradigm upside down
You could be happy, if you wanted to be
Don’t feel obliged to live a life you never wanted to
The best way out is straight through
Let intuition guide you
You could be happy, if you wanted to be


03) Amy Shark – Adore

So youthful, filled with tension and excitement, Amy Shark is a vocal powerhouse. This track is about having a gigantic crush on someone and doing whatever you can to spend time with this person. Shark sings of putting herself in uncomfortable situations and setting up ‘coincidences’ to be with this person.

I, pardon the pun, ADORE this song. You can’t help but smile lightly the entire way through.

Where it takes me: I’m walking along a darkened street, alone, in the middle of the night, wondering if an unrequited crush is worth all the heartache and physical exhaustion it’s causing. I’m fluctuating between uncertainty, letting it all go, and brainstorming how – and if – I’m going to handle things differently next time.

Favourite lyric: “I want the entire street out of town, just so I can be alone with you.”


04) Ayla – Like The Other Kids

This was a bit of an underdog and an unexpected late finisher for me. 

Funny story: I heard this and tagged it using Shazam several times throughout the year, then seemed to forget about it. Right before I compiled my top ten list, I looked back on my tagged songs in Shazam, and discovered I tagged this four times.

Even though I couldn’t remember it by name, I knew there was something special about it. So, I tracked it down and lo and behold, I’m obsessed with it.

It’s a story of woe, and growing up too fast, and trying to find your place in the world when you feel like an outcast. The chorus is hooky, the atmosphere is dreamy, and the drumming is second to none. I really can’t say enough about this sadly underrated masterpiece.

Where it takes me: sitting on a blanket, for an adult story time reading. Everyone is stretching out and listening to the story being told through the lyrics. I’m getting very sleepy, and hoping to drift off to some amazing dreams. I have an overwhelming sense of joy, and like the weight of the world has just been lifted from my shoulders.

Favourite lyric: “You got no heart, just a black mark, right where they took it out. But you found you did better without.”


05) The Temper Trap – Fall Together

Dougy Mandagi’s falsetto makes me weak, every time. This was definitely ‘love at first listen.’ Packed with fiery heartfelt passion, it’s about making a pact that no matter how hairy a situation gets, you’re in it together, come hell or high water.

It seems a little toxic, to be honest, and almost like the blind leading the blind, and yet: it instils a sense of courage in us, and the reassurance that Mandagi has a higher level of knowledge than anyone else about the situation in which he finds himself.

Where it takes me: the earth has just exploded into a million pieces, people are falling towards a massive black hole at an alarming rate, but then, I see that one person: everyone else disappears from my mind’s eye view. I work my way over to that person with a bit of rigorous mid air swimming, I then cling to that person and hold on for dear life as I plummet into the unknown.

Favourite lyric: “It’s the final call, it’s now or never.”


06) The Avalanches – Frankie Sinatra

After an impossibly long hiatus — 16 years, to be exact — The Avalanches exploded back onto the music scene with their album Wildflower. I must admit, I was a bit sceptical, but since ‘Frankie Sinatra’ was released, I haven’t been able to go past it.

The guest rap vocals by Danny Brown and MF Doom are a touch Rastafarian, and it’s a catchy head bopping beat. The song itself is about indulging in loads of drugs and alcohol, and towards the end is a little instrumental snippet from My Favourite Things, but those aren’t the only reasons I like it 😉

There are no profound moments, no messages, and no exercises in self discovery. It’s just a little bit of silliness and a little bit of shaking off the humdrum of the day to day, during what was an otherwise miserable, chaotic year.

Where it takes me: I’m on a nondescript dirt road, I can feel the heatstroke setting in, I can’t remember what happened the night before, and I’ve been trying to hitch a ride home but no one’s stopping. I feel like I haven’t got a friend in the world, though that’s not true. All I want in that moment is a gigantic drink of water and to sleep it off, for an entire week.

Favourite lyric: “Come with that headbanger boogie for that ass, Villain give a bully ten noogies for the cash.” [Disclaimer: no clue what this means; it’s just the catchiest part of the song] 😉


07) Peking Duk (Feat Elliphant) – Stranger

Fresh, summery, carefree, full of possibilities. When I first heard this, I became obsessed. But I was cursed. I could never remember the name of the song, and each time I tried to catch it, I missed it. But once I found it, there was no letting go. Added bonus: I’m a huge Elliphant fan.

Where it takes me: I’m on a grassy knoll, it’s a perfect evening, I’m surrounded by friends, we are waiting for a music festival to start. The grog is flowing, and we are all soaking up the amazing vibes from the evening, right through to the relief of arriving home safely and putting your head on your own pillow, exhausted but ecstatic. This song takes me through the entire evening from start to finish.

Favourite lyric: “Can you pull us through, to the other side of another world with you, where the night is key and the rebels sing, our battle cry: we never die, we win.”


08) Luca Brasi – Anything Near Conviction

I fell in love with these Tasmanian guys the second I heard this song. Hearing an interview they gave confirmed everything that shone through: they are good-natured and down to earth with fantastic senses of humour, and absolutely adore making music.

This is a song about trying to bring out the best in himself, and the one he loves. They sound so insecure and so vulnerable, which is how we’ve all felt at some stage.

I think that’s why I love it so much: it feels like they are speaking directly to my heart.

Where it takes me: I’m sitting alone in a busy pub, after some huge life event, trying to forget my troubles. This song is part of a live performance, and makes me think about all the times I’ve taken people, and myself, for granted. I exit the pub with a sense of excitement for the future, gratitude to be alive, and a steely resolve to start treating myself better. “You can’t pour from an empty cup” comes to mind.

Favourite lyric: “This isn’t the best that I’ll ever give to you.” [chokes me up, each time.]


09) Cub Sport – Come On, Mess Me Up

I’m in falsetto heaven, again. And these guys are so damn gorgeous. When I say ‘gorgeous,’ I mean in an “I want to ruffle your hair and pinch your cheeks!” kind of way. They can do no wrong, in my eyes.

This one had a hold of my attention right from the first listen. There’s a purity and naivety that’s plain addictive, as Tim Nelson sings about desperately wanting something even though he knows it’s toxic.

I just want to hug him and tell him everything will be okay.

Where it takes me: I’m riding a Ferris wheel, and I’m stuck at the top for hours. I’m taking in landscapes and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. Then, all of a sudden, I’m no longer on a Ferris wheel, but am now plunging towards earth in the front seat of an impossibly fast rollercoaster. All the while, I feel both unsettled and completely safe.

Favourite lyric: “I fell in love with avoiding problems, and that was the problem.”


10) Gang Of Youths – Native Tongue

I’ve always been a huge Gang Of Youths fan. David Le’aupepe’s melodies can make the world right again, and this particular song is loaded with passion and energy.

It’s a song about clashing with someone in a relationship, and neither is making any headway because they’re both too stubborn.

He puts his full heart and soul into everything he sings. Admittedly, this particular song was a grower for me. I wasn’t taken with it straight away, but the belting choruses and clever lyrics attached themselves to me, and now I can’t imagine life without this song.

Where it takes me: Despite the frustrating subject matter, I feel like I’m running and jumping into several different pools where I’m unsure of the depth but I’m so pumped, I feel invincible. The sun is burning my skin, and the pool water is a blessed temporary relief, before exiting and trying a new pool a few metres away.

Favourite lyric: “You are defiant, and I’m caustic for no credible reason.”


There you have it!

I still stand by what I say each year: music continues to evolve, new genres and collaborations are created every day. The Hottest 100 is the perfect example of the changing face of music, and I for one, can’t wait to see what the next 12 months hold!

Happy Hottest 100 Day!

Until next time…


My friends, Hottest 100 Day, 2014