Hottest 100 of the last 20 years, day two

Yesterday triple j began their countdown of the Hottest 100 songs of the last 20 years, and you can read the liveblog of that here. We heard 20 songs from the years 1994 through to 2000, 26 songs from the ‘00s and seven songs from 2011 and 2012. We know that voters believe the 1990s were the best decade for music so we can expect to hear a bunch more songs from 1997 today (we’ve yet to hear Blur’s ‘Song 2’ or Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’, for instance). Those of us who remember that golden age basically spent it doing this the entire time, right?

Several songs that won the Hottest 100 in the year they were released made the list so far: Angus & Julia Stone’s ‘Big Jet Plane’ (#81), Jet’s ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl?’ (#68), Spiderbait’s ‘Buy Me a Pony’ (#62), The Whitlams’ ‘No Aphrodisiac’ (#58) and Kings of Leon’s ‘Sex On Fire’ (#54). But we’ve also heard a few songs that didn’t make the cut at all in their year of release: The Kooks’ ‘Naive’ (#87), Daft Punk’s ‘Around the World’ (#59) and Bloc Party’s ‘Banquet’ (#57).

So what will win today? The bookies have suggested Jeff Buckley and that’s certainly likely, but don’t rule out ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis (which won the 1995 poll and has only been bolstered by nostalgia since) or even something more recent, like Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’, which has not won nearly enough awards already.

We’ll be updating this list every few songs throughout the day, so check back as we announce them while also imparting some fascinating trivia and trying to resist the temptation to post more gifs of cats and babies and the Simpsons.

50. Pearl Jam, ‘Better Man’

Eddie Vedder wrote this song about an abusive relationship when he was a teenager, so enjoy that feeling of having achieved nothing if you didn’t manage to write a hit song while you were in high school. When they play this song live, Vedder likes to dedicate it to his stepfather. Ouch.

49. Florence and the Machine, ‘Dog Days Are Over’

48. The Strokes, ‘Last Nite’

It is too early to be listening to the Doctor’s endless exuberance. It’s making me cranky.

47. The Offspring, ‘Self Esteem’

On the subject of angry white boys, here’s The Offspring. ‘Self Esteem’ was number three in the Hottest 100 of 1994, beaten only by Nine Inch Nails with ‘Closer’ and The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’. I’m sure we’ll hear ‘Closer’ later on, but do people still like ‘Zombie’ enough to vote for it? The Offspring managed two in a row that year, getting their other big hit ‘Come Out & Play’ in at number four. On the subject of songs that may have diminished in our affections, ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’ hasn’t been played yet either.

46. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, ‘Into My Arms’

45. Modest Mouse, ‘Float On’

This song snuck into the Hottest 100 of All Time at #94. So it’s more than twice as good when compared to songs from the last 20 years than it was compared to every song ever released, up until 2009. That’s maths; you can’t argue with maths.

44. Daft Punk, ‘One More Time’

The first group to get three songs into the countdown, Daft Punk have definitely aged well according to triple j fans, who only voted this in at #61 in the Hottest 100 of 2001. Although not everybody’s pleased with it only making it this high.

43. John Butler Trio, ‘Betterman’

The only explanation for this is that people thought they were voting for Pearl Jam.

42. Matt Corby, ‘Brother’

41. Coldplay, ‘Yellow’

This isn’t a brilliant run of songs, is it? I feel a bit bad about not liking Coldplay, because Chris Martin seems like such a nice guy and obviously has a sense of humour.

Terrible song, though.

40. Nine Inch Nails, ‘Closer’

Oh, thank God for this. The 1990s were a time when a chorus of “I want to fuck you like an animal” and a video full of S&M imagery and monkeys on crucifixes could give you a hit. Good times!

39. Nirvana, ‘Heart Shaped Box’

Speaking of the 1990s, here’s Nirvana’s first entry. The cut-off point for voting means that we won’t hear ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ in the top 10, but it’s nice to know that songs from In Utero are still capable of having this effect on people.

38. The Temper Trap, ‘Sweet Disposition’

‘Sweet Disposition’ didn’t make it into the Hottest 100 of 2008 when it was released, beaten by a selection of classic songs like Weezer’s ‘Pork and Beans’, Black Kids’ ‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You’ and Faker’s ‘Sleepwalking’.

37. Beastie Boys, ‘Sabotage’

Mike D of the Beastie Boys once said, “We might not be a great band for three minutes, but we can always be a great band for three bars.” Obviously he hasn’t got a clue, because they totally can be a great band for these three minutes.

36. Jeff Buckley, ‘Hallelujah’

35. Radiohead, ‘Karma Police’

Like ‘Hallelujah’ before it, ‘Karma Police’ is a song a lot of us were expecting to do better than the mid-30s, because everybody in their mid-30s was supposed to be voting for it. Didn’t you get the memo? (Worthy of note: The incredible video for this song was originally pitched by its director to Marilyn Manson, who turned it down.)

34. Ben Folds Five, ‘Brick’

If you’ve ever wondered about the sense of disconnection between this song’s chorus and its verses, they were written by different people. Drummer Darren Jessee wrote the catchy chorus, while the rest of the song was written by Ben Folds about the true story of Ben Folds taking his high school girlfriend to get an abortion. Now you know.

33. The Cranberries, ‘Zombie’

Well, hell. People still like ‘Zombie’.

32. Tool, ‘Stinkfist’

Well, hell. People still like – JUST KIDDING. I still love Tool and am having trouble typing this nonsense because of the involuntary headbanging I’m doing right now.

31. Massive Attack, ‘Teardrop’

The album this is from, Mezzanine, was a departure for Massive Attack. Even more downbeat than their previous album, Protection, it was the first not to feature Tricky on any of the tracks. Andrew Vowles would leave soon after and Grant Marshall didn’t want to have anything to do with the album they recorded after this. ‘Teardrop’ was written as a goodbye for Jeff Buckley, who was a friend of Elizabeth Fraser, the Cocteau Twins singer who provides its guest vocals. Looking back, it also sounds like a goodbye for Massive Attack themselves.

30. Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘Californication’

I’d like to write something heavy about this song as well but the bit about the “first-born unicorn” stops me from being able to take it seriously.

29. Franz Ferdinand, ‘Take Me Out’

PERSONAL ANECDOTE TIME: I have a strong memory of the first time I heard this song. It was echoing out of Ric’s in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley and I was sitting in a cafe across the mall. I heard the opening seconds and said something snarky about this “desperate-sounding Strokes ripoff.” Then the song changed completely and I had to eat my words, which were as stale as the biscuit that came with my coffee. I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my life and what a tit I am. Great song.

28. Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘Scar Tissue’

Like everybody else I had trouble understanding the line “With the birds I’ll share this lonely view.” I thought it was “with the burden shed”, but thanks to Google we can laugh at some even better mondegreens: “A bird this shade is a lonely blue”, “A windowshade is a lonely view”, and my favourite, “When it’s shaved it’s a lonely pube.”

27. The Avalanches, ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’


26. System of a Down, ‘Chop Suey!’

‘Bounce’ is a better song from Toxicity, I swear to God. When System of a Down write serious songs they come up with cringeworthy lyrics like “trust in my self-righteous suicide”, but when they’re just shouting “POGO!” they’re pretty enjoyable.

25. Smashing Pumpkins, ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’

An artist’s impression of me right now.

24. Augie March, ‘One Crowded Hour’

This is the song that won the Hottest 100 in the year Gnarls Barkley released ‘Crazy’ and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs put out ‘Gold Lion’. NEVER FORGET.

23. Muse, ‘Knights of Cydonia’

The surf guitar licks, the lifts from Morricone, the galloping bass, the choral backing vocals, the bit where they turn into Queen even more blatantly than they usually do – I don’t know, I can’t get behind the hate for this song. All that stuff sounds ace to me. I was perfectly happy for this to beat Silverchair, Kings of Leon and the John Butler Trio in 2007.

22. Blur, ‘Song 2’

Two verses, two choruses in two minutes and two seconds, comes in at #22 of the best songs of the last 20 years: ‘Song 2’. Start your conspiracy theories.

21. Smashing Pumpkins, ‘1979’

We voted for this song to be played at our grade 12 graduation because it was the 1990s and of course we did. But then a group of older students who’d repeated a year or two and didn’t share our deep and meaningful emotional connection to the sound of Billy Corgan being thoroughly unhappy mounted a campaign to have it changed. Which is why I graduated high school to the sound of ’(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’ from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack instead of this song. Feel my pain.

20. The Living End, ‘Prisoner of Society’

My favourite part of this song as the backing vocal that follows “If you count to three”, which does indeed count to three in case you have trouble doing that by yourself.

19. Blink-182, ‘Dammit’

I wish.

18. OutKast, ‘Hey Ya’

I hate to join all the people saying “This songs should have been higher!” but sweet Christmas this song should have been higher.

17. Silverchair, ‘Tomorrow’

In case you’ve forgotten that you’re listening to triple j, here’s Silverchair. Daniel Johns didn’t even think it was a great song at the time and is thoroughly embarrassed by it now. Can you imagine if something you scrawled when you were 12 was dragged out on a regular basis for the rest of your life and held up as your peak? It would be like being trapped at the part of your 21st birthday party where your parents bring out the scrapbook, FOREVER.

16. Bon Iver, ‘Skinny Love’

I like this song but if I could go through life without hearing another word about Justin Vernon’s bloody cabin I’d be happy.

15. The Prodigy, ‘Breathe’

In 1996’s Hottest 100 this came in at #7, and was beaten by a bunch of songs it’s now beaten in turn. Bush’s ‘Glycerine’, Tool’s ‘Stinkfist’ and Spiderbait’s ‘Buy Me a Pony’ have all fallen to it in time. It was also beaten at the time by Powderfinger’s ‘Pick You Up’, the Ben Folds Five’s ‘Underground’ and the Butthole Surfers’ ‘Pepper’. Let’s see how many of those songs are yet to come.

14. Mumford & Sons, ‘Little Lion Man’

13. Radiohead, ‘Paranoid Android’

The fact that this song’s title and also the line about being “first against the wall” are both references to The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams are part of the foundations of an extensive drunk-thesis I will bring out at parties if you dare to suggest that Radiohead are humourless. You’ve been warned. (There’s also a bit where I attach a lot of significance to the delivery of “I want to be Jim Morrison” from ‘Anyone Can Play Guitar’.)

12. Gotye, ‘Heart’s a Mess’

From #77 in the Hottest 100 of All Time to #12 in this poll. That’s a pretty clear a demonstration of how much Gotye’s cachet has risen in this country over the last few years.

11. Queens of the Stone Age, ‘No One Knows’

This is another song I can’t write anything about because of how hard it is to type or think coherently while doing this.

10. Powderfinger, ‘My Happiness’

When Powderfinger fans complained about this song being a slice of melancholy sad-pop instead of another ballsy rock number, this was Bernard Fanning’s response: “If you don’t think there is enough rock in your life then let me know and I will personally come around to your house and chuck stones at you.” So good on him for that.

9. Gotye featuring Kimbra, ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’

If you picked this for number one then I guess you were wrong. Probably gonna be ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’ then, yeah?

8. Powderfinger, ‘These Days’

Listening to ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ being deconstructed down to its samples just then really put everything else we’ve heard on the radio today into context.

7. The Killers, ‘Mr. Brightside’

6. Foo Fighters, ‘Everlong’

It’s Dave Letterman’s favourite song! No, really. They played for him especially on the show when he returned to television after having heart surgery.

5. The Verve, ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’

People who liked them before this, when they were a shoegaze band, get very upset when you talk about The Verve as if nothing they did prior to this point matters. Fortunately, people who like shoegaze are weedy and soft so it doesn’t really matter how much you piss them off. This song is the only thing The Verve have done or will ever do that matters worth a damn.

4. Hilltop Hoods, ‘The Nosebleed Section’

I once mispronounced the name of hip-hop legend Pharoahe Monch while trying to interview the Hilltop Hoods and am still embarrassed about it. This is a pretty good song, but.

3. Jeff Buckley, ‘Last Goodbye’

2. The White Stripes, ‘Seven Nation Army’

Do you remember those weeks in 2003 when every club DJ in Australia simultaneously discovered that The White Stripes had done a song that sort of had a bassline (detuned guitar, whatever), and started putting it into their sets? Every crappy nightclub in the country suddenly had at least one song worth dancing to that would get played every night. Those were magical times.

1. Oasis, ‘Wonderwall’

Not particularly surprising once we heard ‘Last Goodbye’ at number three, yeah? 940,000 people voted and this was the song that won.

It’s over, but thanks for following the liveblog this weekend. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. And now: