drop it like it’s hot.

June 1, 2009

Besides being the first day of winter, today marks the first day of voting for a small little countdown known as the Hottest 100 OF ALL TIME (It deserves capitals)…

I’ve been excited about this for a while now. My friends laugh at me for how involved I get in the 100’s every year, since i discovered Triple J a few years back. Each year we collectively whoop and cheer (and more often than not, boo and hiss) at our favourite bands climbing the ladder. Drunken Australia Day parties aside, I do believe they are a seminal part of Australia’s music culture, and they provide a pretty good insight into the state of the music business in any given year. And now the J’s are counting down the best songs of all time, it’s going to be very interesting to see who gets to claim this title.

No matter who wins each year, there are always the haters. This year, I was one of them. Like many, i felt cheated by the top ten songs especially. The phrase ‘nova voters’ was thrown around quite regularly. The term, coined for those that don’t regularly listen to Triple J and only vote because everyone else was doing it, saw MGMT and the Kings of Leon rule the countdown.

The interesting thing is, not long ago i was cheering those bands on as well. But as soon as they crossed the line into commercial success, suddenly ‘true’ music lovers didn’t want anything to do with them. Whether or not mainstream music can ever be ‘good’ music is another debate entirely, but an article that details this phenomenon well is fellow music blog Be Silent’s post on Categorically Defining Your Aural Pleasure. Check it out here, it’s a good read (personally i fit somewhere in between category 3 and 4).

This question is going to be more prominent than ever when counting down the best songs of all time. Will there be a skew towards the classics, or will the ‘nova voters’ prevail?

Personally, I have said on numerous occasions if either MGMT or the Kings even get a look in the countdown on July 12th, then i would hunt each and every one of those voters down myself. But the truth of it is, am I any better? I’ve been thinking about what songs to vote for, and when i collate them a trend appears. Most of them are songs from the last 5 or so years, which coincidentally was when i really began listening to music. An older voter would most likely scoff at my list, just as I scoff at those who vote for this ‘mainstream’ music.

My debate is whether or not to vote for songs that have been the best songs of all time for me, or for songs that i believe are the best songs of all time. I could fill my top 10 with songs from the Beatles, Queen or the Rolling Stones, but none of those songs have ever had a big impact on my life. Conversely, if I only voted for songs that mattered to me, the top 10 would be filled with obscure songs like Halfway Home by TV on the Radio…but would that justify the best songs of all time? It certainly is a difficult one.

My bet is that it will all come down to the age old generation battle. Gen X voters will most likely vote for songs from the late 80’s-90’s like Nirvana or Joy Division. Most of my generation were only babies at the time those bands were in their heyday, so we will probably vote for the more recent stuff. The older listeners will probably skew towards the Stones or the Beatles. Then you have the music purists who traverse all the generations, who will probably vote for songs no-one else has ever heard of.

I think i’m going to split my vote. One half of the list consisting of songs that the music appreciator in me chooses, with songs like Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, or Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah (both of which i still find incredible pieces of art). The other list will be from Will as a teenager, and will probably include songs from Muse, TV on the Radio and Regina Spektor’s “Fidelity”. That way, we all win.

Expect a soap box rant or a joyous reminisce (depending on the results of the countdown) on here sometime after the 12th of July. Also, when i finally decide what to vote for I’ll update this post for the single viewer of this blog (thank you, whoever you are!).

Until then, happy voting!

UPDATED: After much deliberation, here’s vote, in no particular order.

TOP 10
Queen- Bohemian Rhapsody
Radiohead- Creep
Jeff Buckley- Hallelujah
Muse- Knights of Cydonia
5.    The Smiths- How Soon Is Now
6.    Ben Folds- Brick
7.    The Verve- Bittersweet Symphony
Hilltop Hoods- The Nosebleed Section
9. Massive Attack- Teardrop
Outkast- Hey Ya


-Chemical Heart- Grinspoon

-Regina Spektor- Fidelity

-Red Hot Chili Peppers- Can’t Stop

-Radiohead- Reckoner

-Bloc Party- Helicopter

-Modest Mouse- Float On

-The Killers- Mr. Brightside

-Oasis- Wonderwall

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