Jul 13, 2009

Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time

So, unless you have been living in a cave for the last week you would probably be aware that Triple J has been counting down the greatest 100 hundred songs of all time as voted by their listeners. The countdown finished yesterday, with Nirvana taking out the number one spot. Now obviously any poll like this is going to pose questions and in some cases indignation. You can't please everyone, that sort of thing. I don't listen to the radio much anymore, preferring to source new music via the internet and although Triple J is far from perfect it is still light years ahead of the commercial alternative. When I have listened to Triple J though, they do seem to play too much hip hop and bland pop for my liking and I was worried that the poll would feature a lot of dud songs. But, on the whole, the 100 songs were pretty good. Some true classics in there and not too many bad ones.

FYI, here are the ten songs that I voted for-

Wilco - Sunken Treasure
Neutral Milk Hotel - A Baby For Pree
Wolf Parade - I'll Believe In Anything
Built to Spill - Car
Palace Music - New Partner
Arcade Fire - Wake Up
My Morning Jacket - The Bear
Teenage Fanclub - Everything Flows
The Beach Boys - God Only Knows
The Band - The Weight

Of these, only The Beach Boys showed up. I really didn't expect any of the others to make an appearance, except for "Wake Up". I was truly shocked by the absence of this amazing song. Especially as they have become a major factor in recent years. As stated, the poll did reveal many great songs but I can not fathom that the following acts were left out-
Neil Young
Bruce Springsteen
The Flaming Lips

I thought all of these acts were big enough and important enough to get a jersey. Especially when lightweights like Kings of Leon, John Butler Trio, Bloc Party, The Killers and The Living End stuck their nose in. The poll did seem to reveal a huge amount of 90s rock to be the flavour. Thankfully, most of these have stood the test of time.

The full list can be accessed here, but I thought I would offer some commentary on the top twenty songs.
Please feel free to give your thoughts on the list.

1. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Truly seminal. Still sends chills. Hard to argue with this choice.
2. Rage Against the Machine - Killing In The Name
I had nearly forgotten how powerful this song remains. Kicks ass.
3. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
Never been a huge fan. It's a good song, but number 3????
4. Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Wow! This song will never age. Just truly extraordinary.
5. Radiohead - Paranoid Android
Didn't expect this so high. Great song from a seminal album.
6. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
No, no, no. Queen are vastly over rated. This song sounds oooooold.
7. Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye
See number 3. Just an average song.
8. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge
Um, used to like this. Hasn't aged too well. Decent, but too high.
9. Foo Fighters - Everlong
What? I thought they said 'Avalon'. One level above pub rock.
10. Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
Feels like a 'had to vote for this' song. Black Dog is way better.
11. John Lennon - Imagine
Yes, this is a timeless classic. Iconic.
12. Oasis - Wonderwall
Yeah, good song. Too high, but it is a wonderful melody.
13. Radiohead - Creep
Surprised this went so high. This band wrote so many better songs.
14. The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony
Never a great fan. It's good, but not great.
15. Radiohead - Karma Police
Truly amazing song. Deserves this spot.
16. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Yes, this is wonderful. Their best song. Clearly.
17. Hilltop Hoods - The Nosebleed Section
WTF!!!! Highest Australian song!!! I think I liked Taxiride more...
18. Muse - Knights Of Cydonia
Truly awful. This song is just plain bad. Shame, shame, shame.
19. Metallica - One
Pretty wanky, very predictable. Not too good.
20. White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
Just a superb song. This will never grow old.

So, there you have it. In an ideal world we might have Sunset Rubdown and Animal Collective and Sufjan Stevens and Wolf Parade and Okkervil River and Destroyer making a list like this. But we do live in the real world...

My partner and I were discussing the difference between favourite and best songs yesterday. You know, like 'my fav song is Song 2 by Blur, but clearly Like A Rolling Stone is a better song'. It's an interesting argument but I do believe that favourite and best is truly the same. That is, if a song or album is your favourite then you must naturally believe it to be the best. Well, that's what I think anyway.

Also, in 2004 Rolling Stone published their 500 greatest songs of all time.
Here is the Top Ten-
1. Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone
2. The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction
3. John Lennon - Imagine
4. Marvin Gaye - What's Going On
5. Aretha Franklin - Respect
6. The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
7. Chuck Berry - Johnny B Goode
8. The Beatles - Hey Jude
9. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
10. Ray Charles - What'd I Say


  • At July 13, 2009 , Anonymous James said...

    Yeah I agree. A decent list. I was surprised with no Arcade Fire either.

    They really need to do "Hottest 100" of each decade. That would be a much better list ;)

  • At July 13, 2009 , Blogger elemento said...

    I think to some extent Wayne, the teeming millions will always conclude with a more generic list than people with perhaps more refined or expansive taste would. Likewise, and while I'm by no means defending a song like The Nosebleed Section (though I do personally like the song/group/genre), the placing of that song to me is indicative of its cultural impact in the fanbase that's voting for it - i.e. the song was popular with festival going folk in the late 90s in their formative years of music appreciation who are now 30 somethings with mortgages trying to recapture the essence of their long departed youth. Put succinctly, 85+% of all music fans' taste in music is static, few passionately seek new aural experiences at a great rate of knots and therefore a 'greatest of all time' will simply capture that impact that the song(s) had at that time, where as, someone like your good self, for example, I would venture would have a different top 10 songs of all time in five years time (though some the same, naturally).

    It's truly a wonderful social experiment and great to see your personal selection (though I'm sad to see no Pavement in your list! ;)

  • At July 13, 2009 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Ben, your points are extremely well made and I basically agree with them. I think it is a great social experiment too and even though there are some choices I find hard to fathom, I think there are some great songs in this list.

    As for Pavement, they have so many great songs that I found it very hard to single any of them out. If I had to, Fillmore Jive, Zurich Is Stained and Here would be somewhere near the top of the list.

  • At July 13, 2009 , Anonymous Tim said...

    haha @ the taxiride reference. 'get set' was certainly unlucky to miss out. must've been #101.

  • At July 14, 2009 , Anonymous Ad said...

    Loved the dig at Taxiride too. 'God Only Knows' was the only song of my personal 10 to make the list also. Enjoyed your rundown of the top 20.

    I totally forgot about REM and Springsteen in my list of obvious ommissions. Good call.


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