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My Votes for the Triple J Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years

jjj-hottest-100-past-20-years[image source]

This afternoon, Triple J begins their countdown of the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 years, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their yearly countdowns.  I managed to get my vote in right on the midnight deadline last Sunday night, and I figured that I’d share my choices today before the official countdown begins.

It’s always difficult to choose songs for these things – should I be voting for the songs that I personally love and think are the absolute best, or songs that I love and also think have a chance of making it onto the list?  This year, I tried to do a bit of both, but mainly focused on the latter.  There are three songs [all of which are mentioned below] that are probably my favourite songs of all time, but I know, based on their past performance that they aren’t going to make it.  For the rest of them, however, I mainly stuck with proven high performers.

So, in chronological order based on the year of release, here are my votes:

REM – “Everybody Hurts”

Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1993:  #11
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

This is the best song to listen to during a traffic jam.  Also, “Losing My Religion” wasn’t valid, due to being released in 1991, and I really like REM.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Maybe.

You Am I – “Purple Sneakers”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1995:  #24
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

This is a rare example where I did choose my favourite song by a particular band, rather than going with something more obvious.  I’m not sure why.  I got into You Am I embarrassingly late.  They were one of those bands that I knew about, but never properly listened to until I was around 18 or 19.  At first, I only listened to them because I was trying to impress somebody, but I very quickly realised why they have such a legacy in the Australian music scene, and they’ve been one of my favourite bands ever since.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  No, but “Berlin Chair” definitely will.

Oasis – “Wonderwall”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1995:  #1
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  #12

This song is a shoe-in, and deservedly so.  I could have just as easily picked “Don’t Look Back in Anger”, but “Wonderwall” is probably going to make the top ten, and unlike my usual Hottest 100 contributions, this time I wanted to include songs that actually had a chance of winning.  In other news, did you know that “Gangsta’s Paradise” came in at #3 in 1995, but didn’t make it into the Hottest 100 of All Time?  I guess for most people the novelty eventually wore off.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Yes.  Most certainly.

Pulp – “Common People”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1995:  #38
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  #81

“Rent a flat above a shop / Cut your hair and get a job / Smoke some fags and play some pool / Pretend you never went to school / But still you’ll never get it right / ‘Cause when you’re laying in bed at night / Watching roaches climb the wall / If you called your Dad, he could stop it all…”  With lyrics like that, how could this song not make it into the countdown?!  Although, honestly, if I were to pick my favourite Pulp song, I’d actually go with “This is Hardcore”.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Why, yes.

Alanis Morissette – “You Oughta Know”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1995:  #39
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

As a woman who sometimes gets angry, it only seems fair that I vote for the number one angry woman song of all time.  When I was living in Geelong, I remember sitting in front of our stereo, listening to Jagged Little Pill.  It’s been one of my favourite albums ever since.  I know that these days it somehow lacks the credibility to be a part of a Triple J countdown, but it did come in at #12 in VH1’s top 100 songs of the 90s.  At least that counts for something.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  No.

Third Eye Blind – “Semi-Charmed Life”

Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1997:  #29
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

I know this is another throw away vote, but although this song lacks the credibility necessary to make it into another Triple J countdown [damn pretentious music snobs], it is a great piece of music.  Go on, try to get that “do do do, do do do doo” refrain out of your head.  You can’t, can you? It’s impossible.  Crystal Meth is an awful drug, but in this case it inspired one hell of a pop song.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  No.

Foo Fighters – “Everlong”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1997:  N/A
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  #9

Amazing that “Everlong” didn’t make it into the 1997 Hottest 100 [although that was a pretty strong year, so the song did have some stiff competition], yet made it to #9 in the Hottest 100 of All Time.  This is another guaranteed entrant, although I would have voted for it anyway – “Everlong” is easily my favourite Foo Fighters song.  It’s just brilliant.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Yep.

No Doubt – “Don’t Speak”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1997:  N/A
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

Apparently, No Doubt are one of those bands that aren’t cool enough for Triple J.  “Don’t Speak” spent almost two months at the top of the ARIA chart in 1997, but didn’t make it into the Hottest 100 of that year.  Yet “Thrift Shop” was able to make #1 last year.  File under: ‘Things That I Will Never Understand’.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Sadly, no.

The Living End – “Prisoner of Society”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1997:  #15
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  #34

The Living End’s debut is one of the albums that sums up a period of my childhood.  I remember listening to it on camping trips by the Murray.  And, damn it, I was a brat who knew everything and talked back – so for a time, this was my song.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Yes.

Kylie Minogue – “Did it Again”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1997:  #81
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

A lot of people don’t realise that once upon a time Kylie had enough credibility to be played on Triple J.  I’ve written before about Impossible Princess, also known as the greatest Kylie album of all-time, so I’m not going to go into that again right now.  There’s no way that this song will make the countdown [unfortunately], but it’s nice to remember that there was a time that Triple J acknowledged Kylie and thought her worthy of their station.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  No.

Ben Folds Five – “Brick”

Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1998:  #12
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  #67

I’ve always considered myself to be a fan of rock music, but when it comes to picking my favourite songs, or the ones that I think are the best, I tend to find my lists overflow with ballads.  As Shirley Manson sings in “Only Happy When it Rains”, “I only listen to the sad, sad songs”.  I think it’s because ballads have the ability to connect with you on an emotional level, and those are the songs that really stick.  “Brick” is an incredibly heartbreaking song, and seeing it performed live at Harvest last year was amazing.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Yeah.

Garbage – “When I Grow Up”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1999:   #12
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

This isn’t my favourite Garbage song.  It’s not even the most successful Garbage song in Australia in terms of chart position or Hottest 100 ranking.  But, based on its overall popularity, I feel like it’s the only Garbage song that has a chance of making it into the countdown.  Even though it probably won’t.  Still, I couldn’t vote for the best songs of the past 20 years without including one by my favourite band of all time.  Also, this song was probably the most memorable performance of the entire Garbage Aus/NZ tour this year, when Shirley did this gesture at me, after I helped her with the lyrics [don’t worry, she meant it in a loving way], so even though it’s not my favourite, it’s still pretty special to me.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  No.

Blur – “Coffee + TV”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1999:  #47
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

When I was choosing bands to vote for, Blur were a given.  They’re definitely one of the best acts of the past 20 years.  But picking a song was difficult.  Unfortunately, the one definitely going to make it into the countdown is “Song 2”, and while it’s technically a Blur song, I just can’t vote for it.  I do love “Song 2”, but it’s not really Blur.  In that song, they’re making fun of another genre, rather than making their own music.  I wanted to vote for a Blur song that is quintessentially Blur.  And, “Coffee + TV” has a damn awesome video clip.  That should be worth something.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Maybe.  But “Song 2” definitely will.

Killing Heidi – “Mascara”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1999:  #14
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

For a band that was ‘Unearthed’ by Triple J, I was surprised at the lack of Killing Heidi in 2009’s Hottest 100 of All Time.  But then again, there was an overall surprising lack of female vocalists.  For this countdown, I’ve voted for seven.  Fingers crossed at least one of them will make it.  Anyway, back to Killing Heidi.  When I was in grades five and six, I loved this song.  I wanted to be Ella Hooper.  She’s one of Australia’s best rock chicks, and “Mascara” deserves a place in this countdown.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  There is a slight possibility.

Ryan Adams – “Come Pick Me Up”

Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2000:  N/A
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

This is the first of the three songs that I had to vote for despite knowing that they have absolutely no chance of making it.  In this case, I guess I can understand why – the song does have a harmonica solo.  But that doesn’t make it a bad piece of music.  Still, even its inclusion on the soundtrack to Skins isn’t enough for Triple J to pick up a Ryan Adams song.  But despite its lack of recognition, this is in my top three songs of all time.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  No.

The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”

Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2003:  #3
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  #20

This one is a given.  I almost didn’t vote for it because it’s just too obvious, but I was tossing up between a bunch of different songs to fill the 20th position on my list, and “Seven Nation Army” seemed like the most deserving of a place.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Yes.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”

Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2004:  N/A
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

“Maps” is quite possibly my favourite song.  Ever.  It’s the most heartbreaking piece of music that’s ever been written, and I love it.  Most of the music world seems to agree with me – maybe not about it being the best song ever, but certainly about its emotional power.  In 2009, NME named it the best alternative love song of all time.  Last year they included it in a list of songs that are guaranteed to make you cry.  Pitchfork ranked it #6 in their top 500 songs of the 2000s.  Rolling Stone placed it at #7 in a similar countdown.  Yet, it somehow didn’t make it into the Hottest 100 of All Time.  I just don’t understand it.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  No, but it should.  I have no idea why it is continually overlooked.

The Killers – “Mr Brightside”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2004:  #13
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  #38

Here is a not-so-interesting fact: I learnt to play this song on the piano after watching a series of YouTube tutorials.  Why did I do this?  Because “Mr Brightside” is amazing.  It’s the perfect example of The Killers’ ability to craft epic story songs.  Also, the irrational jealousy captured by the lyrics is so real and relatable.  Nice work, Mr Flowers.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Hell yes.

Florence + the Machine – “Dog Days Are Over”

Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2009:  #10
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

Probably not the best Florence + the Machine song, but again, I was just following my own vague guidelines in trying to choose songs that might actually make it.  That said, it’s a great song and I do not at all regret this choice.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Yes, I think so.  At least one Florence song has to make it.  This seems like the obvious choice.

Arctic Monkeys – “Cornerstone”
Position in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2009:  N/A [although it was later announced that this song came in at #101]
Position in the 2009 Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time:  N/A

And now we’ve reached the third song that I felt like I absolutely had to vote for despite the fact that there was no way in hell that it would make it.  “Cornerstone” is the best thing that Alex Turner has ever written, and I honestly don’t know why other people don’t seem to agree with me about its merit.  Alongside “Come Pick Me Up” and “Maps”, this is one of my top three favourite songs.
Do I think it will make it into the Hottest 100 of the Past 20 Years?  Unfortunately not.

Let’s talk about the Hottest 100.


Australia, I want you to take a long, hard look at yourself, and think about what you’ve done.

Let us begin with some vaguely interesting, yet irrelevant facts:

  • The first three songs to reach #1 in the yearly Hottest 100 countdown all had one word names: Dennis Leary – “Asshole” [1993]; The Cranberries – “Zombie” [1994]; Oasis – “Wonderwall” [1995].
  • Between 2004 and 2010, all of the winning songs had three words in the title: Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out” [2004]; Bernard Fanning – “Wish You Well” [2005]; Augie March – “One Crowded Hour” [2006]; Muse – “Knights of Cydonia” [2007]; Kings of Leon – “Sex on Fire” [2008]; Mumford & Sons – “Little Lion Man” [2009]; Angus & Julia Stone – “Big Jet Plane” [2010].
  • In 1995, Alanis Morissette managed to get three songs into the countdown [#39 “You Oughta Know”; #85 “Hand in my Pocket”; #90 “All I Really Want”] without having ever been played on triple j.  This is because Jagged Little Pill is a great album, despite whatever the music snobs at triple j think.  The only other song to ever make the countdown without any triple j rotation was “Wheels” by the Foo Fighters in 2009, which is strange because it’s the worst song that Dave Grohl and co. have ever released.

And now, to discuss yesterday’s “thing”.  I shall highlight just a few songs that made their way into the Hottest 100 of 2012, and offer my own opinion of the situation.  For the sake of comparison, I shall also make occasional mention of two of my favourite Hottest 100 countdowns – 1995 and 1997.  This is just a way of offering some perspective.

Disclaimer of sorts:  Feel free to disagree with any of all of the following judgements.  Yesterday’s countdown made it clear exactly how out of touch I am with triple j listeners and their voting habits.  If you know the secret to understanding the likes of Flume, please share.  I love music – and I pride myself on my varied and eclectic tastes – but there are some things that I just can’t get my head around.

  • #94. The Gaslight Anthem – “45”: I like this song!  I know this song!  I didn’t vote for this song, but I’m glad that it made it into the countdown.
  • #78. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – “Household Goods”: With a name like Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, I was expecting more.  And by “more” I mean “actual music”.  This was the first song that came on after I turned on the radio to listen to the Hottest 100 countdown, and I almost gave up and turned it off then and there.  It wasn’t a good sign of things to come.
  • #73. Ben Folds Five – “Draw A Crowd”: This is the first song that I voted for to make it in.  I expected it to place a lot higher.  But apparently stupid novelty hip-hop songs are far more popular than witty piano-based nerd rock these days.
  • #70. The Presets – “Promises”: In 1997, “Place Your Hands” by Reef placed at #70.  It’s a good song.  So is “Promises” – even if it does sound like it came out of the UK in the mid-80s.  Although I didn’t vote for it, I did expect this song to do better.  People prefer dubstep over 80s throwbacks, it seems.
  • #67. Flume – “On Top” feat. T-Shirt: I must’ve been living under a rock for the past twelve months, because I hadn’t actually heard a Flume song until now.  And I know that I sound incredibly out of touch when I say this, but his music just sounds like my computer is running slow and the speakers keep skipping.  In 1995, Chris Isaak came in at #67 with “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing”.  You’d never hear a song like that in today’s countdown.  One would probably argue that Chris Isaak is too “adult contemporary”.  Still, I prefer “adult contemporary” over whatever the hell Flume is.  Also, I’m assuming that the T-Shirt who is a guest in this song is not the British pop group from the 90s [remember “You Sexy Thing”?].  That’s a pity.
  • #54. The Bamboos – “I Got Burned” feat. Tim Rogers: I voted for this one too!  But I expected it to be in the top 20.  This song is everywhere, and it’s so bloody catchy.  Also: Tim Rogers!
  • #49. Thundamentals – “Brother” [from Like a Version]: I honestly have no idea how this song could have made it into the top 50 of this countdown.  Firstly, I feel that it’s silly to include Like a Versions in the countdown, as they’re not proper singles.  Actual produced covers are one thing, but performances from the radio studio?  No thanks.  And secondly, it’s not even a good cover.  They absolutely destroyed the song.
  • #43. The Lumineers – “Ho Hey”:  I expected this song to be a lot closer to #1.  I was expecting it to at least be in the top 20.  Again, this is how out of touch I am…
  • #41. British India – “I Can Make You Love Me”: Another song that I expected to do better.  Why so few rock songs in the top 20?
  • #40. Arctic Monkeys – “R U Mine?”: Another song that I voted for, and my highest scoring one, too.  Again, I thought that this song would do better.  But then again, I thought “Cornerstone” was going to be in the top ten back in the 2009 countdown, and it didn’t even make the top 100.  It seems that the youth of today don’t appreciate the genius of Alex Turner.
  • #34. Lana Del Rey – “Born to Die”: WHY IS LANA DEL REY ONE OF TRIPLE J’S DARLINGS?  SHE IS AS MANUFACTURED AS THEY COME.  If triple j play her, then they may as well play Lady Gaga.  I GIVE UP.
  • #29. Loon Lake – “Cherry Lips”: If only this were a cover of the Garbage song.  I mean, it’s not bad, but when I hear “Cherry Lips” I think of Shirley Manson, and this is just not the same.  Fun note: in 1997, Third Eye Blind came in at #29 with “Semi-Charmed Life”.  Now, that’s a great song.
  • #27. Ball Park Music – “Surrender”: I should have voted for this song.  That is all.
  • #15. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – “Same Love”: This song has a really good message, but that doesn’t stop it from being a really bad song.  I wish it were better, I really do.  But it’s awful.
  • #12. Icona Pop – “I Love It” feat Charli XCX: I was shocked enough to see this song on the longlist, but then to see its overall position… oh my.  WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!  This is the theme song for a bloody spin-off of Jersey Shore, for fuck’s sake.  It’s a pop song.  And I have absolutely no problem with it as a pop song.  But as #12 in the triple j Hottest 100… SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT.  This would be like the Spice Girls getting into the 1996 countdown.  IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.  I DO NOT LIKE IT.  I NEED A GLASS OF WATER NOW PLEASE.
  • #1. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – “Thrift Shop”: Don’t even get me started.  I know Lizzy likes this song.  I know lots of people like this song.  I don’t completely hate it, but I do have a problem with what essentially is a novelty song being held in the same calibre as previous Hottest 100 winners.  Okay, so it’s a “fun” song, but does that really make it the best song released in the last year?

I was going to comment on more songs, but the whole thing just makes me feel angry and confused.  Surely I’m not the only one.  What did you think of this year’s countdown?

LIVE REVIEW: Plagiarism Begins at Home + Shaker Faker – Grace Darling Hotel, Dec 12th

Screen shot 2012-12-15 at 17.32.42

Last night was warm and sticky, and the tiny little bandroom at Smith St’s Grace Darling Hotel was absolutely packed.  Normally, you wouldn’t expect such a crowd for a couple of cover bands, but if you’d seen the calibre of these performances, you’d understand.

The night began with Shaker Faker, an Oasis tribute complete with wigs – and, in “Laim”‘s case, a zipped-up military jacket.  Musically, they were tight.  The performance was suitably theatrical – “Laim” [whose name was misspelt on the badge he wore] enjoyed picking fights with random members of the audience, and when he decided to quit the band halfway through the night, “Noel” took on vocal duties and apologised for his brother’s unprofessional behaviour.  As an Oasis fan, I thoroughly enjoyed their set, although I was disappointed that [after almost complete lyrical perfection] it was “Wonderwall” of all songs where the worst lyric-fluffing occurred.

After such an entertaining support, headliners Plagiarism Begins at Home provided a performance that was a little subdued in comparison.  Rather than pretending to actually be The Smiths, they simply performed their music with surprising accuracy [particularly in terms of the Morrissey-like vocals].  As they’ve not performed together in a year or so, it was not too surprising that there were a few stuff-ups along the way, but due to the informal nature of the gig, and the fact that the audience were able to appreciate that the band were just fellow fans, these mistakes were instantly forgiven.

It was a fun night, full of dancing [yes – a rock show where people actually danced!] and drinking [because it was so bloody hot in there], and a lovely tribute to two of Manchester’s treasures.


#MusicDiary2012 – Day One

Last year’s Music Diary Project was a great insight into the different ways that people listen to music.  I was shocked to discover that I didn’t actually listen to CDs anywhere near as much as I thought I did. In fact, most of my music consumption that week took place on public transport, and came from my iPod. I don’t know if much has changed over the past twelve months, but I guess I’ll find out…

DAY ONE: Monday 7th May

8:18am // The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement [album, via iTunes]
I’m sitting in bed, checking my Monday morning blogroll. I listen to four tracks before getting up.

8:30am // The Travelling Wilburys – “The End of the Line” [radio, Gold FM]
Downstairs, the radio is on in the kitchen.  I’m in there for about fifteen minutes, reading the paper with a cup of tea, but they only play one song [damn breakfast programming].

8:57am // The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement [continued], Ben Folds – Songs for Silverman, Ben Folds Five – The Unauthorised Biography of Reinhold Messner [albums, via iTunes]
Back upstairs, attempting to write the hook scene of my film [for my writing film class]. The music is quiet, and I choose albums that aren’t going to be too distracting.  Still, I fail to complete the scene.

12:34pm // [iPod]
Time to head off to class. When I’m on public transport, I tend to put my iPod on shuffle.
Robbie Williams – “Strong”
Pavement – “Trigger Cut”
Katrina & the Waves – “Walking on Sunshine”
The Fratellis – “Whistle for the Choir”
[12:47 – I take off my headphones to identify the music being played on loudspeaker by the guy behind me on the tram. It’s “Freestyler” by the Bomfunk MCs].
Blur – “Country House”
Codeine Velvet Club – “Hollywood”
Arctic Monkeys – “You Know I’m No Good”
Wagons –  “Love Me Like I Love You”
Beck – “Loser”
Suzanne Vega – “Luka”
Cake – “I Will Survive”
Florence + the Machine – “Kiss With a Fist”
Real McCoy – “Another Night”

5:35pm // [The Curtin]
Glenn and I are at the pub before trivia. They’re playing the usual tunes.

7:30pm // [The Curtin]
Trivia time! We control the music through a rather long and varied playlist in Glenn’s iTunes that we shuffle each week. This week, it looked something like this:

[Note: “Be My Lover” was in there by mistake. I think it was requested a couple of months ago, and managed to hide in the playlist without coming up again… until this week.  It has since been removed.  Also, most weeks, we try to play “Carry On” by Motor Ace, and Oasis’ “D’You Know What I Mean?”, but for some reason that didn’t happen this time.]

9:30pm // [The Curtin]
At the end of the night, we play a couple of requests:
Men Without Hats – “Safety Dance” [which had been a question in our audio round]
Paul Dempsey – “Addicted” [ for someone’s birthday]

Georgie kindly drives us home, playing Moby through her car speakers as she feels it is the least offensive thing on her iPod.  And so concludes day one.

Counting Crows – August & Everything After

Recently, I’ve found myself listening to Triple M a couple of nights a week.  At my new place of employment, we’re allowed to have the radio on, and with many of my coworkers being male football fans, it’s always tuned to the Ms.  In the past I’ve written about my ties to this particular radio station, so I won’t go into that here, but let’s just say that I like quite a bit of the music that they play, and therefore generally don’t feel the need to re-tune the radio every time I start a shift.

9pm weeknights, they have a feature where they play a “classic album that changed your life” in full, with a couple of relevant soundbites from band members in between tracks.  Over the past month, these albums have included Powderfinger’s Odyssey Number 5, INXS’ Kick and Oasis’ What’s the Story Morning Glory.  Big albums.  So I was a little surprised last week to hear that the featured album was to be Counting Crows’ August and Everything After.  Sure, I like Counting Crows, but life-changing?  I don’t think so.

Most people would only recognise one or two tracks from the record – with “Mr Jones” being the obvious single.  In fact, until they came back with that cover of “Big Yellow Taxi”, you could have almost argued that they didn’t have any other hit singles in Australia.  Triple M certainly didn’t play any of them [trust me, I know.  I listened to the station every day back then].  “Colorblind” was on the Cruel Intentions soundtrack, but it’s from a later album.  Yes, Counting Crows were a big band in the 90s – and this album may have made it to #12 on the ARIA chart [thanks, Wikipedia] – but firstly, more people bought albums back then [as opposed to downloading single songs off iTunes], and secondly, I’m still quite unsure about this “life-changing” label.

Now, I’d just like to point out that I really do like Counting Crows.  I wouldn’t call myself a big fan, but I own their greatest hits, and I enjoy the songs of theirs that I know.  However, after listening to August and Everything After in full, I came an interesting realisation:  if I discovered Counting Crows now, I don’t think that I’d really like them all that much.  “Mr Jones” might still get me, as it is so very catchy, but the rest of it is rather bland.  Six tracks off the record made it onto the greatest hits compilation [strange considering only three of them were released as singles, and the fourth single didn’t make the cut].  When they were played during this radio broadcast, I listened fondly.  I really liked these songs, not just because they were familiar to me, but because of the memories I have of liking them in the past.  I remembered listening to “Round Here” while on a train in France six years ago.  “Mr Jones” had me getting up early to see the clip on Video Hits.

But the other songs on August and Everything After, I didn’t like.  None of them.  My taste in music has changed over the years, and while I still like the songs that I used to, I just can’t find myself accepting the ones that I don’t know.  I’m sure that if I’d bought this album ten or fifteen years ago, then I would have really enjoyed it.  It can’t be a coincidence that the only good songs off the album, the only ones that I like, made it onto the greatest hits.  It doesn’t work that way.  So all that I can conclude is that I used to like Counting Crows, and I used to enjoy their style of music.  I no longer enjoy their music, but I maintain a soft spot for the songs of theirs that I have loved in the past, and therefore can still enjoy them.  So I still do like Counting Crows.  But not anymore…

It’s complicated, and really strange.  And it makes me wonder if anyone else has experienced this [or has any idea of what I’m trying to explain here].


A café in Glasgow

If I’ve learnt anything from the Music Diary Project so far, it’s that I don’t listen to music anywhere near as much as I used to.  18 months ago, my life had a seemingly continuous soundtrack, but these days the majority of my listening is done in transit.  When I’m at home, I’m more likely to put on a DVD than a CD.  There are a few reasons for this, the main one being that I often find music too distracting – particularly when studying, which is something I spend a good portion of my time attempting to do.  Today I’m trying to write an essay about the cultural politics of global media, and it’s not going so well.

Despite having woken up a couple of hours ago [to my current iPhone alarm of choice: BB Brunes’ “Dis-Moi”], I don’t emerge from my room until everyone else has left the house.  As always, the radio is on downstairs.  Mum listens to Triple R, and prides herself on having a more diverse knowledge of music than I do.  I leave it on while making/eating breakfast, reading the paper, checking emails, etc.  In the space of about 45 minutes, they don’t play much music:
Tuneyards – “Es-So”
Aa – “Fingers to Fist”
Stornoway – “Watching Birds”
Those Darlins – “Waste Away”
The Vaccines – “Family Friend/Someone Else’s Child”

In need of a study break, I put my iPod on shuffle and walk to the shops to buy some ingredients for dinner.
The Fratellis – “Ole Black n Blue Eyes”
Teenage Fanclub – “The Back of My Mind”
The Hold Steady – “Chips Ahoy”
Noiseworks – “Take Me Back”
The Kooks – “She Moves in Her Own Way”
Oasis – “Don’t Look Back in Anger”
Lily Allen – “Naive”
Divinyls – “I’ll Make You Happy”
Hungry Kids of Hungary – “The Vacationer”

Home from the shops, I grab the first CD I can find in my bedroom – Underwater Jesus’ Hanraland EP, and put it on while chopping some tomatoes for the tarts I’ll be making.

After some more attempted essay writing, I set up my laptop on the kitchen table [with external speakers for improved sound quality], and listen to the new album from The View, Bread and Circuses, as I prepare my tarts.  I listen to “Happy” twice, because I remember seeing them perform it live early last year.

After watching Short Cuts [which is currently being repeated on ABC3], I browse Mum’s CD collection, and choose something that won’t bother my sister [as she’ll be home any minute].  This is a difficult task, as Eb’s favourite musicians are Britney Spears, Millsy from Australian Idol, and Justin Bieber.  I settle on Oasis’ What’s the Story Morning Glory.  She seems content with my choice, and sings along while baking a cake and making soup for dinner.  When the album finishes, I put on Crowded House’s Woodface, but have to turn it off after “Tall Trees” because my stepfather wants to watch The Brady Bunch.

Glenn comes round for dinner, and afterwards we sit around talking for hours.  I think about putting on some music, but my speakers are downstairs, and I can’t be bothered to go down and get them.  Looking back over the day, I’m really disappointed with my listening habits, but I doubt they’ll be much different tomorrow.


For the third installment of “Under the Covers”, I decided to celebrate my favourite decade – the 90s – by playing a selection of covers of 90s songs, as well as some covers of earlier tracks recorded by seminal 90s acts.

01. Jawbox – “Cornflake Girl” [Tori Amos]
02. Nick Cave – “Disco 2000” [Pulp]
03. The Killing Moon – “You Oughta Know” [Alanis Morrisette]
04. The Kooks – “All That She Wants” [Ace of Base]
05. Biffy Clyro – “Buddy Holly” [Weezer]
06. Weezer – “Wonderwall” [Oasis]
07. Klaxons – “No Diggity” [Blackstreet]
08. Just Jack – “Lovefool” [The Cardigans]
09. All Saints – “Lady Marmalade” [Labelle]
10. 5ive – “We Will Rock You” [Queen]
11. Ben Folds – “Bitches Ain’t Shit” [Dr Dre]
12. Holly Throsby – “Berlin Chair” [You Am I]
13. Travis – “Baby One More Time” [Britney Spears]

The show went quite well. I had a bit more of a voice than last week, which was good, although a couple of times I had to quickly fade to a song to avoid coughing on air, and I sounded like I was crying. If you were listening, I wasn’t.

A few of the tracks that I played came from the Radio 1 Established 1967 compilation, an album which I highly recommend. Celebrating Radio 1’s 40th anniversary, the double album has a cover for each year that Radio 1 has been on air, including Kylie Minogue singing Roxy Music’s “Love is the Drug”, and a great cover of “Band on the Run” by the Foo Fighters. Do yourself a favour, and check this one out.

Keep tuning in to Under the Covers, Mondays 9-10pm on SYN 90.7fm [or stream online].

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