Every year when triple j’s Hottest 100 rolls around, there’s an inevitable scurry to express surprise at “glaring omissions” of songs that might’ve seemed like safe bets for inclusion in the countdown. Obviously, since it’s user-voted, we only have ourselves to blame for this (sort of), but it’s always interesting to take a closer look at what made it, what didn’t, and why that might be the case. It’s a no-brainer that tracks that have been spruiked heavily by the j’s are infinitely more likely to be voted in that tracks that weren’t supported quite as much, but that’s not always the case. Here, we take a look at some tracks that were absolutely smashed out on full rotation (specifically, every track on this list received more than 140 plays during the year – for comparison the top 3: Never Be Like You had 134, Adore had 123 and Jungle had 146), but for whatever reason, didn’t quite make the cut.
Lonely Cities, Tigertown
Sydney alt-pop quartet Tigertown released this quasi-tropical belter quite early last year, but not so early that it wasn’t still in the running for the Hottest 100. With a huge, hands-in-the-air chorus like this, you’d think Lonely Cities would be a shoo-in – but even with a whopping 167 spins on triple j, somehow it didn’t show up in the illustrious countdown.
Tremble, Nicole Millar
Nicole Millar’s 2016 began full steam ahead when she released her Tremble EP to critical acclaim, and the title track permeated triple j’s airwaves an absolutely massive 164 times. The song’s sophisticated use of tension and deliriously satisfying release made it a favourite amongst many, but perhaps due to its early release date, it unfortunately didn’t pip the Hottest 100.
ADKOB aren’t exactly a household name (yet), which could account for their supremely quirked-out chugger of a single Glue not garnering enough votes to nab a spot. Unfair? Yes, especially considering it clocked 162 plays, but hey – Dune Rats didn’t ever make the countdown until last year, and they’ve been nationally recognised for years. Don’t give up, ADKOB! You got this.
Impact, The Creases
Brisbane’s The Creases released this climactic Britpop number in May 2016 and it was subsequently thrashed over 156 times on triple j, and was followed by a national tour and an incredibly fun video clip. Adding to that frontman Joe Agius’ recent win for QMAs Most Promising Male Songwriter, it really looked like this was going to be their year to make the countdown, but sadly they missed out.
Edge Of Town, Middle Kids
With 144 plays, this one was difficult not to take personally because it was this writer’s Fave Aussie Song Of The Year. That slide guitar sounding like a firework going off, those made-for-screaming-along-in-your-car vocals, the lyrics that walked the line between inscrutable and intrinsically relatable so perfectly… but, of course, Middle Kids are still very new on the scene even though their rise is nothing short of meteoric (they’re about to perform on Conan O’Brien FFS). Next year maybe??
Not My Friends, Tired Lion
The relentlessly excellent Tired Lion have been consistently everywhere for a while now, with so many festival slots under their belts it’d be difficult to count. For this single, spun 152 times, to make an appearance in the Hottest 100 would have made all the sense in the world. It was released in May though, so perhaps a touch too early to still be making listeners feel starry-eyed when voting opened.
Nihilist Party Anthem, Ball Park Music
Finally, an anthem we can all relate to. Obviously the j’s thought so too, cos they gave love to this track 147 times over. BPM have made the countdown plenty of times, so maybe it’s a case of listener fatigue, but that doesn’t really make much sense considering how hard they’ve worked to consistently develop their sound and release music that builds on what’s come before instead of repeating themselves. To compensate the band for their loss I propose we make this the new national anthem.
Smoke Signals, Olympia
Olympia f*cking owned 2016. It was her year. She sold out shows, released her debut album Self Talk, and along with it a bevy of intelligent, catchy singles. Self Talk has been shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize, which has previously been won by national treasures like Courtney Barnett and Big Scary. So, yeah. She’s killed it. This song nabbed 142 plays. I’m salty about this. Can you tell?
All these songs had a huge amount of exposure on triple j, so it’s reasonable to assume that they all have a high level of listener recognition. So why didn’t they make it in?
Clearly, release timing plays a massive part here: for anything released too early in the year, it can be difficult for voters to still feel that initial connection that made them fall in love with the tune in the first place when the polls open. Another factor that might be at play here is looking at what else was released around the same time as these tracks that might have overshadowed them. The times each track was played is another element to consider: just because they’ve got 140+ spins under their belt doesn’t mean the majority of those plays were during primetime listener engagement. And, of course, there’s always the possibility that a tune just didn’t quite connect with its audience in the way triple j might have expected it to. Either way, it will be interesting to see which of these crops up in tomorrow’s 101-200 countdown, beginning 10am AEDST.
Photo: triple j / Facebook