The triple j Hottest 100 of 2016 was a highpoint for Australian artists, and a barometer for what Aussie music lovers listened to throughout the year.
But which of the songs will go down in history, and which will be forgotten the moment Flume releases his next remix?
We’ve reviewed every single song from the 2016 countdown in one sentence (OK, some of them are slightly longer) to find out.
100. Birds Of Toyko – Brace
The song that plays during the big demolition derby scene in Fast and the Furious 9: Mechwarrior Revenge, which is set in the utopian past of 2016.
99. Drake – Too Good (ft. Rihanna)
This is Drake finally realising his main flaw is that he is simply too good to women, and they don’t deserve his love. Phew, that’s the end of that, then.
98. Glass Animals – Season 2, Episode 3
I do love music that sounds like a Game Boy or like a melted paddle pop or a cassette warped by the sun. Incidentally, season 2, episode 3 is the one where the old man under Rachel and Monica’s apartment dies and leaves them all his junk.
97. Alex Lahey – You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me
Holy rush of shoegaze. This song sounds like what falling for someone a bit wrong for you feels like. Don’t know who Alex Lahey is, but I hope it’s a woman and not a band with a person’s name.
96. Elk Road – Hanging By A Thread (ft. Natalie Foster)
I gotta say I’m loving how all this glassy girlie indie music sounds like Belinda Carlisle’s ‘90s hits produced by whoever wrote the Donkey Kong Country music, but the title of this song is reminding me of ‘Hanging By A Moment’ so the moment is ruined.
95. Flume – Lose It (ft. Vic Mensa)
This only got to 95?! LOL, Flume is over. See you later, EDM.
94. Vallis Alps – Fading
If I have to sum up the sound of 2016 in a few words, it would be “sounds like a Pretty Little Thing clothing commercial”, and it wouldn’t be an insult.
93. Empire Of The Sun – High and Low
Sure, you’d have to be an idiot not to chase that Empire Of The Sun money around the globe for a few years, but you do owe us a Sleepy Jackson album, so let’s wrap this up soon.
92. Violent Soho – How To Taste
A band that have their formula so perfected that to call it a formula seems like an insult. Just because I can tell when the heavy yelling bit is coming doesn’t mean it isn’t thrilling when it comes. That might be an allegory.
91. The Avalanches – Subways
“You walk on the subway, it moves around.” With the trains hurtling past and high congestion, a moving subway seems fraught with danger. If every Avalanches song sounds like a foggy memory of a party, rather than a party, can it truly be be party music?
90. Luca Brasi – Anything Near Conviction
Everyone you talk to at a Luca Brasi show reckons they discovered the band. I’m not even kidding. I think this is true of most great punk bands. Also true is that people will bristle at them being called a punk band.
89. SAFIA – Over You
Sincere, but in a nice way.
88. Childish Gambino – Me and Your Mama
This guy has the best career in the world and will be the biggest star in the world by 2018. Also, this sounds like a demonic Prince, which is an under–utilised sound.
87. Dope Lemon – Uptown Folks
Oh man, I can’t like an Angus Stone song can I? I can’t love a song named Uptown Folks can I?
86. Bliss N Eso – Dopamine (ft. Thief)
Can’t really make a Bliss N Eso joke, can I now?
85. SAFIA – My Love Is Gone
Sounds like an ad for those Ministry compilations, which it probably is.
84. Frank Ocean – Pink + White
Everyone is all “It’s not as good as Channel Orange” about this album, as if anything else has been either? Why don’t they write that in the review of the new Green Day album?
83. Tkay Maidza – Simulation
I don’t know how this wasn’t a #1 single.
82. Thundamentals – Think About It (ft. Peta and the Wolves)
This has a similar breezy vibe to ‘Keep On Movin’ by 5ive, which I know is going to be taken as a slam, but have you heard that song recently? It’s basically what a quarter of the triple j playlist sounds like.
81. Desiigner – Panda
The most avant garde song to hit #1 since ‘MMMBop’.
80. Banks – Gemini Feed
Singing about getting to the altar; Banks is lucky that some sorting computer at ABC didn’t just auto–playlist this on Radio National or whatever golden oldies regional stations they have, and skip triple j altogether.
79. Radiohead – Burn The Witch
I don’t even know what this is anymore.
78. Vera Blue – Settle
“Yeah, it’s nice. I said it’s nice, I don’t know what else you want me to say.” – Me, being a dick, when shown songs like this by someone who really needs me to love it.
77. Catfish and The Bottlemen – Soundcheck
Have you seen these little lads? Most inappropriately named band since The Killers.
76. The Amity Affliction – This Could Be Heartbreak
Emo is back! But this is a blend of Breakfast Club emo, Dario emo, MCR emo, and screamo emo! “No it’s not!” you say. “Check out the title,” I reply. “Catch the hint of DeLonge enunciation towards the back half of the chorus,” I add. You remain unconvinced.
75. The Avalanches – Because I’m Me
This samples the same ‘70s song as Ricki–Lee Coulter’s 2005 gem ‘Sunshine’, which I assume is something that will happen in Australian music every 11 or so years from now.
74. Camp Cope – Lost: Season One
This song is what going to university in Newcastle sounded like.
73. Violent Soho – No Shade
Any song that starts with a rumbling bassline triggers something instinctual in humans, I swear.
72. Kanye West – Famous
Taylor Swift hated being referred to as a ‘bitch’ in this song, which is obviously completely expected and correct and all, but she also threw so much support behind Kendrick Lamar whose two biggest singles refer to women as bitches in the chorus. I guess my point is that bitches are fickle.
71. Broods – Free
Did they sample an actual whip in this song? What happened to sampling actual whips for music? I miss that organic whip sound.
70. Golden Features – Wolfie (ft. Julia Stone)
Oh man, I can’t like a Julia Stone song can I? At least it’s named ‘Wolfie’ – that’s awesome.
69. Violent Soho – So Sentimental
I love how a song with ‘sentimental’ in the title can make me feel sentimental for the music I loved as a teen. Isn’t that what Inception was about?
68. L D R U – Next To You (ft. Savoi)
Some projects have a name which is built for one–hit wonder status. This was on an ad, right?
67. The Amity Affliction – I Bring The Weather With Me
The answer song to Crowded House’s hit single.
66. Beyonce – Hold Up
Yeah yeah yeah…
65. The Amity Affliction – All Fucked Up
The verses of this sound so sweet, like the guy was told by his mother, “You have a nice voice, if you just stop all that silly screaming, people will be able to hear how nice it is.”
64 Maggie Rogers – Alaska
I may need to listen to this to be sure, but judging on the name and title, this was included in the list after ’20 Country Greats’ was accidentally played during the morning show.
63. Glass Animals – Life Itself
This dude sits in his car and listens to static, doesn’t work, lives with his mum, sips codeine, and thinks he has two million freckles. I can’t tell if he is happy or sad.
62. Dope Lemon – Marinade
I thought Paul Kelly was the only artist that ARIA has allowed to do spoken word over laconic ‘80s instrumentals? Sounds like the mood Channel 7 always try to present in their summer station promos.
61. King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife
It’s Countdown and Molly just flubbed the intro but only because he knows this song is about to tear a hole through him, and Skyhooks are on next week’s show, and he is on a roll, our Molly.
60. Sofi Tukker – Drinkee
Sounds like a kid practising riffs in his room with the noise from the club across the road bleeding through his walls, and now the French girl next door is practising her singing, and what’s the point of doing scales if he can’t hear himself properly?
59. Frank Ocean – Solo
One of four in an exciting series of brand jingles on Frank Ocean’s new album, alongside ‘Nikes’, ‘Facebook Story’ and ‘White Ferrari’. Slam this track down fast!
58. Ali Barter – Girlie Bits
Holy shit, this sounds like Juliana Hatfield and Liz Phair and the good songs from Daria that you never found out who sang.
57. Catfish and The Bottlemen – Twice
Do you think there is a draft each year where all the UK bands that sound like this compete for the NME cover stories and BBC Radio 6 playlist slots? “Sorry, Razorlight and The Vaccines, you’re free agents for the next 12 months. Write a song about Leeds or ‘knockers’ or something then try again next year.”
56. Paces – Keeping Score (ft. Guy Sebastian)
Using Guy Sebastian is cheating. Disqualification! Also, with the controversy still surrounding his 2003 Idol win, triple j don’t need this.
55. RUFUS – Say A Prayer For Me
I could hear this a hundred times and not recall anything about it. Is this pure survival instinct? Hard to say.
54. Blink–182 – Bored To Death
They use the same flange drum trick they used in ‘Feeling This’ to signal some form of change is coming, but then Mark sings about being 17 and not coming home, and before too long you’re hooked and you don’t even notice the guy doing the Tom voice isn’t Tom at all.
53. Violent Soho – Blanket
I hope these guys never attempt to make a mature album with “a bit of hip hop production” or “these cool string parts” or “our bass player sings the ballad” or anything that doesn’t make me instantly think “hell fuck yeah” (or “hell fuck yes” if I am feeling particularly formal).
52. Halsey – Love Yourself
Adding swearing to a pop song is funny. (See: Old School)
51. Sticky Fingers – Outcast At Last
You all have some moral decisions to make. Don’t pretend you can or should separate these things.
50. Gang Of Youths – Strange Diseases
A perfectly pompous orchestral intro where you can just tell the song is about to kick into the stratosphere is still one of the most satisfying musical tricks, if done well.
49. Hilltop Hoods – Higher
A faithful cover of the Creed single, covered for the tribute album Don’t Stapp Thinking About Tomorrow.
48. Kingswood – Creepin’
These guys are one of those true blue Aussie rock bands who don’t mind getting sweaty and writing the kinda true blue rock that your uncle was yelling doesn’t exist anymore during the BBQ last Xmas. Remember? He started talking about them when ‘Run To Paradise’ came on.
47. D.D Dumbo – Walrus
This is only the second trippiest song with ‘Walrus’ in the title, but it’s still fairly trippy. The part from 96 seconds in is psychotropic heaven.
46. Mac Miller – Dang! (ft. Anderson .Paak)
Mac Miller is coming for that Drake crown, and he is bringing Anderson .Paak along to snatch away that Kendrick crown, because why not?
45. A.B. Original – Dumb Things (ft. Paul Kelly and Dan Sultan)
Why did we start putting the featured artist as part of the song title? Surely that’s not the way to do it, right? (This is a good version of ‘Dumb Things’, too – if you’re still relying on the ‘review’ part of our agreement).
44. D.D Dumbo – Satan
Paul Simon! Thaaaat’s who this dude sounds like.
43. MØ– Final Song
Madonna’s ‘La Isla Bonita’ might be the most influential song of all time. Or of 2016.
42. Broods – Heartlines
Now that they don’t make Roswell episodes anymore, what show will this be on the finale of?
41. The Weeknd – I Feel It Coming
So, Marvin Gaye can sue and win for something that kinda copies a groove, yet The Weeknd unfreezes MJ’s corpse, reanimates him, and forces him to record this Thriller-era mid–tempo disco ballad, and we all go “The Weeknd is so brilliant” and vote for him?
40. Kid Cudi – Surfin (ft. Pharrell Williams)
These guys have really captured what it feels like to surf.
39. DMA’s – Step Up The Morphine
The way these guys look, sound, and hold themselves means they would be absolutely slaughtered by everyone, except they are just too damn good at writing songs. Ironically, this is also true of Oasis, The Stone Roses, and Primal Scream. It’s DNA – or good tambourine game.
38. Glass Animals – Youth
The butcher in the town I grew up in collected little cute porcelain pigs, often dressed in clothes, and had them scattered all around the store. He also had dead pigs hanging from hooks behind him, and would often pick bits of fat and meat off these and just chew on them.
37. Flume – Smoke and Retribution
Oh boy. It’s really not his year, is it?
36. Sticky Fingers – Sad Songs
DMA’s have this sorted. We don’t need these guys anymore.
35. Client Liaison – World Of Our Love
This is as good a time as any to promote Retrosweat, an ‘80s–themed aerobics class that runs out of Sydney. This is not a paid commercial.
34. Dune Rats – Scott Green
Dune Rats sound like Rancid, look like Ugly Kid Joe, and sing about being high, while being high. There’s no roof to this.
33. Dune Rats – Bullshit
They are right, there is a lot of bullshit – just generally. This song isn’t bullshit, though.
32. Tash Sultana – Notion
This is a genuinely great song, but I secretly think all the success is because the instrumental intro reminds everyone of the Friday Night Lights soundtrack. Close your eyes, and you can see Riggins, can’t you?
31. Drake – One Dance
Drake is obsessed with residential pools, and his goal is to have the biggest residential pool in the world. True story. I believe in his ability to achieve this – ‘cos Drake achieves things.
30. RUFUS – Innerbloom (What So Not Remix)
I can’t judge this, I don’t know what the original sounded like. What So Not may have ruined this, or fixed it, comparatively speaking. I just don’t know, sorry.
29. Sticky Fingers – Our Town
Ever think it’s weird how NFL players get punished for bad behaviour more severely than musicians with music marketed at kids?
28. The Avalanches – Frankie Sinatra
This is the sound of Cypress Hill crashing a bar mitzvah.
27. Gretta Ray – Drive
I love when songs named ‘Drive’ sound like driving. It’s a neat trick. I also love how this song takes its time ‘cos it knows there’s no rush to get to the good bit when they are all the good bit.
26. SAFIA – Make Them Wheels Roll
This doesn’t feel like driving. Maybe in a hovercraft; haven’t used one.
25. Montaigne – Because I Love You
She sings the verse of this with the kind of cadence I assume our first sentient robots will adopt, and those bleeping sounds aren’t changing my mind about this, either. Her album is great, so buy it.
24. Cub Sport – Come On Mess Me Up
Breezy–but–frosty ballads with a sprinkle of epic seem to be popular these days. What does this say about the public temperature?
23. Illy – Catch 22 (ft. Anne–Marie)
It has to be borderline racist how so many of these vocalists affect Rihanna’s Barbados accent, right? Sia is the worst offender, but she’s literally writing demos for Rihanna so maybe she gets a pass?
22. Kanye West – Ultralight Beam
Kanye knows he can say anything and as long as he keeps putting out songs as transcendent as this, people will just put up with it. It’s like how Noel Gallagher declared himself the best songwriter in the world then put out ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and everyone quietly went, “Yeah, well… OK.”
21. The Smith Street Band – Death To The Lads
The only contender for the next Bright Eyes/Springsteen as far as I can see, as long as Wil Wagner doesn’t screw it up by writing a lads’ anthem.
20. The xx – On Hold
You think you have them on hold, until you know you don’t. At least have the good nature to refer to it as having them “on lay-by” and stay classy about it.
19. Catfish and The Bottlemen – 7
These fucking guys, again…
18. Chance The Rapper – All Night (ft. Knox Fortune)
I’m glad the high-five is back in hip hop songs. I was sick of hand gestures that represented indifference. What if we do care?
17. Big Scary – The Opposite Of Us
These guys signed a publishing deal the other day, and I saw someone freak out online that they wouldn’t be indie anymore, and it was so quaint and zine-era snobbish that I saw hope for the future.
16. A.B. Original – January 26 (ft. Dan Sultan)
This song is powerful, and the message is clearly important, but it’s just not very cool sounding, sorry. Otherwise it would have gone to #1. It sounds like The Rockmelons or something – prove me wrong, kids!
15. Miike Snow – Genghis Khan
For triple j listeners to vote a song which claims “I get a little Genghis Khan” one slot above a song protesting a day which celebrates genocide can be read into so many different ways. Or maybe just in one really unfortunate way.
14. Violent Soho – Viceroy
Has a bit of ‘Jessie’s Girl’ and ‘Just what I Needed’ in the pre–chorus, which is always welcome.
13. Mura Masa – Lovesick (ft. A$AP Rocky)
Another hit song that began life as a Pretty Little Thing fashion campaign, and impossible to dance to, despite being a dancefloor smash.
12. Milky Chance – Cocoon
I thought this was a Coldplay song until half a minute ago.
11. Pnau – Chameleon
I love how Elton John is such a massive fan of these guys. I can’t picture it, to be honest.
10. The Weeknd – Starboy
“Shoot for a Starman, and even if you miss you’ll land among the Starboys” – proverb
9. Peking Duk – Stranger
The controversial Peking Duk hit, which destroyed all the great work numerous Stranger Danger campaigns had done for awareness.
8. Flume – Say It
You can tell that’s not really Flume singing.
7. Illy – Papercuts (ft. Vera Blue)
I remember when rappers used to guest on pop stars’ singles, and not the other way around.
6. DMA’s – Believe
He has such a pure voice, and this is such a down–the–middle heartfelt cover of this song, and then the very instant he stops singing he snaps back into his “fookin’ mad for it, innit?” lad act so quickly, it’s really quite something.
5. Childish Gambino – Redbone
He couldn’t have timed his amazing Fallon performance and Golden Globes victory any more perfectly for this late-burst Hottest 100 run. We know what he’s up to.
4. Hilltop Hoods – 1955 (ft. Montaigne and Tom Thum)
Well, The Avalanches didn’t use any old-timey voiceover “that boy needs therapy” style samples on their new single, so that real estate is wide open.
3. Tash Sultana – Jungle
She is single-handedly responsible for the surge in solo artists giving the loop pedal a go as if it isn’t an extremely difficult thing to do well, just ‘cos she makes it look so cool and effortless. Next time you see someone flub a loop pedal guitar solo, send Tash Sultana a complaint letter.
2. Amy Shark – Adore
Oh man, when the dust settles in a few years, this is going to be so many people’s favourite song ever. It has that “favourite song ever” vibe.
1. Flume – Never Be Like You (ft. Kai)
Flume’s entire career is because he learned how to mix on a program he got in a box of cereal when he was 13. Imagine if his mother bought Weet-Bix and instead he got a sticker with Kieren Perkins on it. Things would be a lot different…