The 2016 Hottest 100 is this week and to mark the occasion, I’ve trawled through the history of the countdown to compile a composite playlist of songs from the past 20-plus years.
Starting at #100 and working my way through to #1, I’ve handpicked a song that came in at that particular place to showcase an interesting piece of trivia, historical oddity, zeitgeisty entry or simply a fantastic song (and in some instances, a fantastically bad song). Some songs you will already know and love, some artists you will know but not the song and some will be completely new to you. Hopefully you’ll hear a song for the first time, fall in love and mine the artist’s back catalogue.
The annual iterations of the Hottest 100 has been running since 1993 so this collision of music from the early 90s with some tracks from the most recent countdown (ie 2015) should provide an interesting contrast of styles and provide an aural overview of Australia’s evolving musical tastes.
There’s rock, rap, pop, novelty, trance, classics, garbage, Garbage, guitars, decks, drums, Drums, a Bond theme, a fictional band and, naturally, some Kanye. I’ve done my best to mix it up as much as possible, w/r/t an even spread of tracks from years, genres, male/female vocals and cultural transcendence.
I was going to go to a whole lotta effort with commentary for every song but instead I’m just going to leave this right here for you to press play at your leisure. I’ll be dipping in and out to add some trivia below, as time permits!
(FYI whilst accurate, some of these factoids are not necessarily conclusive (ie there may be more examples of the given topic) so please don’t feel aggrieved if I have not referenced, say, one of your fave namechecks. Please feel free to let me know of any trivia that you feel should be included here.)
#95 Little Things — Good Charlotte: Triple J was the first radio station in Australia to play the Madden Brothers, so it’s all their fault! I like this entry because Good Charlotte is an act that has both appeared in a Hottest 100 and been namechecked in a separate entry (Ben Lee’s Catch My Disease). Others include Sleepy Jackson (Vampire Racecourse / also Catch My Disease), Madonna (Beautiful Stranger & Music / Do It With Madonna by Androids), Green Day (Minority, Warning + 11 more / El Scorcho by Weezer), Ben Lee (Cigarettes Will Kill You, Gamble Everything For Love + 6 more / Ben Lee by Klinger), Tom Jones (If I Only Knew / The Ballad Of Tom Jones by Space & Cerys Matthews) and Linkin Park (One Step Closer / Say What? by 28 Days & Apollo 440).
Beyonce is also namechecked in Catch My Disease — is she the next to join this auspicious list?
#85 Nightmare — Brainbug: True instrumentals making the Hottest 100 is quite unusual. Seven wordless tracks have charted, the highest being ABC News Theme (Remix) by Pendulum at #11. The others being Mathar (Dave Pike Set), Mission: Impossible (Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen Junior), Da Funk (Daft Punk), Enter, Space Capsule (Gerling), Pizza Guy (Touch Sensitive) and Cream On Chrome (Ratatat).
Can Stranger Things Theme (Remix) by Luke Million laconic the 100?
#81 Big Jet Plane (Like A Version) — Tuka & Thelma Plum: The Hottest 100 has a rich history of covers making the countdown. The record for highest placing cover is shared by Spiderbait and Boy & Bear at #5 for, respectively, Black Betty and Fall At Your Feet. Big Jet Plane is a former winner of the countdown; the second time a #1 cover has made the countdown, following Scissor Sisters’ #44 cover of Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out, both from 2004. The highest placing Like A Version is Chet Faker’s (Lover) You Don’t Treat Me No Good (originally by Sonia Dada), which hit #21 in 2014.
Can DMAs’ cover of Cher’s Believe or Violent Soho’s take on Silversun Pickups’ erstwhile #28 Lazy Eye beat this record?
#78 Stylo — Gorillaz, Bobby Womack & Mos Def: Damon Albarn (also of Blur) is one of several artists to have appeared in Hottest 100s with different bands. Dave Grohl has charted with Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age; James Maynard Keenan with Tool and A Perfect Circle; Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and RATM sans Zack with Audioslave; Janet English (Spiderbait) and Quan Yeomans (Regurgitator) with Happyland; Ian Kenny from Karnivool and Birds Of Tokyo; Thomas Bangalter from Daft Punk and Stardust; Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore of Empire Of The Sun with, respectively, Sleepy Jackson and Pnau; and Daniel Johns of Silverchair and Dissociatives.
Can Alex Turner of the parish Arctic Monkeys chart this year with The Last Shadow Puppets?
#64 Shot Shot — Gomez: Shot Shot is one of several doublespeak titles to penetrate penetrate the Hottest 100. Others include Mirror Mirror (After The Fall), Mah Na Mah Na (Skin), Doctor Doctor (Gyroscope), No Light No Light (Florence + The Machine), 2020 (pr twenty twenty; Herd) and Work Work (clipping. & Cocc Pistol Cree). Extra credit goes to doublespeak band Everything Everything for charting charting with Cough Cough! Then there are the triplespeaking hitmakers hitmakers hitmakers: Sick Sick Sick (Queens Of The Stone Age) and Bang Bang Bang (Mark Ronson & Business Intl & MNDR & Q-Tip). But Crash Test Dummies really take the cake cake cake cake with their quatrospeaker hit Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.
Unfortunately Panda Panda Panda Panda Panda by Desiigner doesn’t count but can GoGo by Baauer get the job job done done?
#54 Thank You (For Loving Me At My Worst) — Whitlams: One of seven tracks to appear in two different Hottest 100s:
- I Alone – Live (#27 in 1994 and #34 in 1995)
- Naked Eye – Luscious Jackson (#82 in 1996 and #99 in 1997)
- No Leaf Clover – Metallica (#56 in 1999 and #79 in 2000)
- Mofo On A Motorcycle – Machine Gun Fellatio (#59 in 1999 and #67 in 2000)
- Renegades Of Funk – Rage Against The Machine (#95 in 2000 and #18 in 2001)
- Thank You (For Loving Me At My Worst) – Whitlams (#54 in 1999 and #37 in 2000)
- You Give Me Something – Jamiroquai (#62 in 2001 and #50 in 2002)
There have also been four reworkings to chart twice:
- Recapturing The Vibe (& Restrung) – Hilltop Hoods (#77 in 2006 and #26 in 2007)
- Tennis Court (& Flume remix) – Lorde (#12 in 2013 and #47 in 2014)
- Woman (& MSTRKRFT remix) – Wolfmother (#44 in 2004 and #55 in 2006)
- Clocks (& Royksopp remix) – Coldplay (#69 in 2002 and #5 in 2003)
Triple J has really cracked down on the list so it is unlikely that a song will ever rechart in its original form.
Hilltop Hoods released another successful Restrung record in 2016, and will almost certainly chart both new tracks Higher and 1955 — will one of their Restringings also make hay?
#35 Summertime — Sundays: Appropriately considering the 26 January countdown, summer is the most popular time for seasonal songs — 9 in toto — namely Endless Summer (Jezabels), Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey), Summer Forgive Me (British India), Indian Summer (Jai Wolf), American Life In The Summertime (Francis Dunnery), Summer (Buffalo Tom), Pschoactive Summer (Def FX) and this lovely tune. Hazy Shade Of Winter (Bodyjar), Love Like Winter (AFI) and White Winter Hymnal (Fleet Foxes) are cooling these down, while the apron seasons are tuned into Autumn Flow (Lior) and Come On Spring (Antenna).
It seems unlikely that I Know What You Did Last Summer by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello will shine through. Aquasun by Basement? No Shade by Violent Soho? The Leaves Were Falling by Avalanches? Fall Together by Temper Trap?
#33 RUN — San Cisco (their caps): Run is the mode title of songs in the Hottest 100, with five distinctly different tracks carrying that handle making the grade:
#92 Run — George (2001)
#77 Run — Snow Patrol (2004)
#71 Run — Cog (2005)
#33 RUN — San Cisco (2014)
#59 Run — Alison Wonderland (2015)
Meanwhile, Neil Young (#26 in 1995), Alex Lloyd (#63 in 2001) and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis et al (#18 in 2015) have all gone Downtown.
Can Tourist make it six runs on the board with Run?
#22 The Drugs Don’t Work — Verve or Ben Harper: The most important piece of Hottest 100 trivia there is! Verve’s original The Drugs Don’t Work placed at #22 in 1997. Four years later, Ben Harper’s cover also came in at #22. The proliferation of Like A Versions means this record should be matched sometime soon. Ideally, it would be a more organic cover, like Olympia’s cracking take on #63 Wolf Like Me (TV On The Radio) but we boffins have to take what we can get!
Can Keeping Score (Like A Version) by Paces & Guy Sebastian come in at #22 (it’s kismet!) just like the LDRU & Paige IV original?
#20 Freestyler — Bomfunk MCs: Finland’s lone song to make a Hottest 100, Bomfunk MCs join JXL (Netherlands), Angelique Kidjo (Benin (two tracks; the rest in this list have only scored one each)), Youssou N’dour (Senegal), Alan Palomo (Mexico) and Ngaiire (PNG) as the sole flagwavers for their homelands. All told, 20 different nationalities have repped in the Hottest 100. In order (by most number of songs): Australia, USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, France, Ireland, Iceland, Germany, Norway, Denmark + Italy + Jamaica, Benin, Finland + Netherlands + Senegal + Mexico + PNG.
Can Karate by BABYMETAL make Japan the 21st country to chop it up?
#18 Longview — Green Day: With 14 entries, the highest #14 Minority, Green Day has the most appearances in a Hottest 100 without ever cracking the Top 10. Garbage is next on the list with 12 entries, the highest being #11 Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go); followed by Vampire Weekend with 11 appearances topped off with #22 Cousins, making them the most recursive act to never crack the Top 20.
Strokes is currently sitting on 10 entries, its highest being #12 Last Nite — can Oblivius push them into joint third (admittedly not the most interesting one to look out for!)?
#9 Karma Police — Radiohead: Radiohead was in the very first Hottest 100, at #2 with Creep, and have appeared in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2011. It’s been six years since the British prog/art rock gods have been in a Hottest 100, which is their longest drought, but with A Moon Shaped Pool furnishing Triple J with a trove of new…well…you wouldn’t call them bangers…songs, there’s a good chance Thom Yorke and co will stretch their Hottest 100 placement horizons to 24 years, eclipsing the current 20 year first-and-last extents record coheld by Chemical Brothers, Foo Fighters and Tim Rogers (with You Am I & Bamboos).
Can Burn The Witch burn the house down?
#1 Somebody That I Used To Know — Gotye & Kimbra: This powerhouse duet is one of six Australian #1 singles to also top the Hottest 100, alongside Zombie, Wonderwall, Pretty Fly (For A White Guy), Sex On Fire and Thrift Shop. All told, 50 ARIA #1s have made Hottest 100s, among them Uptown Funk, Gold Digger, I Try, Pumped Up Kicks, How Bizarre and Who The Hell Are You.
Can Never Be Like You by Flume & Kai or One Dance by Drake, Wizkid & Kyla become the seventh sales chart topper to win the Hottest 100?