10 Songs on Repeat:
1. Riot Rhythm by Sleigh Bells (2010)- A mixture of sugar-sweet pop hooks and hard-hitting noise rock riffs, Sleigh Bells often to me feel like a precursor to modern hyper-pop, with Riot Rhythm being a particularly pleasing and addictive banger.
2. Texas Rezinkoff by Mitski (2014)- There are many out there (myself included) who would argue modern indie-rock icon Mitski’s best record is her underground gem Bury Me At Make Out Creek. And the efficient yet impactful opener proves why it’s so beloved, combining soft folk with a noisy conclusion to great effect.
3. Caroline by Arlo Parks (2020)- A smooth, incredibly catchy and lowkey bedroom pop number about observing a relationship fall apart from a distance, its solid proof as to why Parks is one of the UK’s most promising rising stars.
4. A Bottle of Rum by Xiu Xiu and Liz Harris (2021)- Experimental rock provocateurs Xiu Xiu do the unthinkable on their latest single and make a straight up pop song with Grouper’s Liz Harris. That’s not to say the acoustic-driven number isn’t without their signature strangest, making me excited for their upcoming duets record.
5. Chronic Sunshine by Cosmo Pyke (2017)- Darting between indie rock, hip-hop, soul and jazz in just under five minutes, British singer-songwriter Cosmo Pyke proves himself an incredibly versatile performer in Chronic Sunshine.
6. Superconnected by Broken Social Scene (2005)- Broken Social Scene’s self-titled record is messier than its more popular predecessor You Forgot it In People, however, its unkempt nature is often to its advantage. Superconnected is an excellent example of this, a track exploding with noise and passion and a good helping of the existential.
7. Science Fair by Black Country, New Road (2020)- By the time of publication, BCNR’s debut For the First Time will likely be out. So, to bide the time, I invite you to enjoy the anxious and incredibly frightening jazz-fusion banger that is Science Fair.
8. Night Walk by Dirty Beaches (2013)- The murky opener of Drifters/Love Is the Devil, Canadian experimental act Dirty Beaches is one of the strangest projects I have come across in a while, and I cannot seem to get enough.
9. Killing Me Softly With His Song by Fugees (1996)- One of the biggest songs of the 90s, and for a good reason. It is simply a flawless masterpiece.
10. 24k by Tkay Maidza (2020)- A hip-house banger from Australia’s best and brightest rap artist, her 2020 EP Last Year Was Weird, Vol 2 has got to be one of 2020’s best collections of songs.
You can listen to this week’s tracks here- https://open.spotify.com/playlist/66CVdznPZuU3CXb7vqvCaQ?si=qYhRSjBCS2mihSaebG8AXw.
OK Human by Weezer- 5.0/10:
Weezer are likely the strangest band in the world. Not because their music is particularly unique and singular, it’s quite the opposite. It’s the band’s insistence on creating the poppiest pop albums in existence that just makes them so… odd? OK Human, announced and released before the already recorded and scheduled Van Weezer is a perfectly inoffensive pop-rock record that leaves absolutely no lasting impression. The only real thing that really stuck with me was some of the incredibly odd lyrics from Rivers Cuomo which make no sense (referencing how Kim Jong-Un could blow up his entire city and not notice because he loves playing the piano is one that is still keeping me up at night). I don’t have much more to say about this record, only that it is another generic entry into the ever-growing Weezer canon of generic albums.
Best tracks: Screens
Nobody Is Listening by Zayn- 3.5/10:
For his third album, Zayn proves the doubters wrong, finally certifying the fact that beyond One Direction, he has next to no talent. Nobody Is Listening is a one serious bore-fest, coming off as totally one-noted and lazy. The British pop-star might have a decent voice; however, his refusal to inject any personality into his vocal performances waste his talent. This fact is not helped but the dreary production which feels like an attempt to paint Zayn as more alternative than he comes off as. The one moment when Zayn does something interesting vocally, and the production picks up (namely, the track Sweat) is hampered by some incredibly un-sexy attempts at being sexy. I’ve said this before, but Harry appears to be the only former Directioner that can stand on his own, with Zayn now responsible for three albums ranging from below average to downright dull.
Best track- Sweat
Collapsed in Sunbeams by Arlo Parks- 8.7/10:
Smooth, intimate and exploding with personality, Arlo Parks has created something special on her debut LP Collapsed In Sunbeams. A wonderfully simple bedroom pop record, the production is hushed and subtle. And whilst at times it can get a little dry, it manages to be almost entirely engaging without ever over-stating itself. It is also evident that Parks has a broad appreciation of music, with influences as wide-ranging as jazz to Radiohead present on this album. For me, the biggest ace this album has up its sleeve is the incredible lyrics, delivered with a confident sensitivity that is so refreshing to hear. Touching on several complicated themes, inducing issues as heavy as suicide and abuse, it never feels overwhelming. Instead, Collapsed in Sunbeams is a tight, sensitive record that has something for everyone. A real gem from an incredibly exciting upcoming artist.
Best track: Hurt
This Weeks Feature- My Reaction to the Hottest 100:
Another year, another Hottest 100. In the car crash that was 2020, let’s see what Triple J listeners thought the best songs of the year were.
10. Therefore I Am by Billie Eilish:
Appearing at the opposite end of the top ten, Therefore I Am in my opinion isn’t Billie’s best song. Nevertheless, it’s well-produced, and the young superstar lends her unique voice to a solid if predictable track.
9. I’m Good? by The Hilltop Hoods:
This Australian rap group are no strangers to the top ten, getting an entry almost every year, they release something. Whilst I am a fan of several Hilltop songs, the years have not been kind to the rappers, with I’m Good? falling on the somewhat generic side. But it seems Millennial Australians will eat up anything these guys will do.
8. Sending Your Love by The Jungle Giants:
I really don’t get the appeal of The Jungle Giants new sound. Whilst I did like the dance-rock elements of Quiet Velocity, their EDM infused sound these days just sounds incredibly plain to me. Sorry Australia, not a fan of this one.
7. Hyperfine by G-Flip:
I feel like I can’t give much of an opinion on this song. It neither irritates me nor gets me excited. The same train of thought also applies to G-Flip herself for me. But whatever she is doing, it’s getting the attention of the Triple J scene, so good on her.
6. WAP by Cardi B with Meghan Thee Stallion:
I have spoken at length about this song, so check out the rest of the blog for my thoughts on it. Honestly, I didn’t think this was much of a ‘Triple J’ song, but obviously listeners this year couldn’t get enough of it.
5. Yesterday by Tame Impala:
Not my personal favourite on Tame’s latest LP, but a great some anyway. Kevin Parker’s project getting highly ranked was a guarantee this year, just a question of how well he would do. No surprises here.
4. Cherub by Ball Park Music:
This Queensland indie rock band have some fantastic tracks up their sleeves. In my opinion, Cherub is not one of them. However, the majority of Triple J voters seem to disagree with me.
3. The Difference by Flume with Toro y Moi:
Flume could fart into a microphone for 15 minutes and land himself a spot on the Hottest 100 top three. Luckily, The Difference is one of the better songs the Australian electronic superstar has released.
2. Booster Seat by Spacey Jane:
Australian indie is going through a bit of a crisis, in my opinion. Every year, a new band with a slight variation on jangle or psychedelic pop appears, Triple J play them to death, they do well in the Hottest 100, and the next group come along. Spacey Jane are the latest band to occupy this role. And whilst I don’t think they are at all a bad band (better than the likes of say Ocean Alley), they don’t do much for me. In my opinion, Booster Seat is a particularly dull song from the group and one of my least favourites on their debut. But once again, the Triple J crowd certainly disagree with me.
1. Heat Wave by Glass Animals:
I didn’t see this coming. For some reason, I instead foolishly thought most people shared my indifference towards the latest Glass Animals project (an album that has continually grown off me despite my lukewarm reaction to it), but once again I was wrong. Heat Wave as a song is okay, I guess. It’s catchy and has an undeniable summery vibe to it. Just doesn’t light my fire.
And there you have it, my reaction to the Hottest 100. No doubt I have made myself to seem a pretentious snob, but these are my honest thoughts. Excited what songs and artists in 2021 catch the ears of Triple J listeners, and what the latest countdown will look like.