Today was Australia Day, and you know what that means: music. Specifically the JJJ Hottest 100, which I found strangely uncompelling this year, not because I didn’t know the songs. (I did.) I voted again this year, and I’m willing to lay it all on the line for you now. Ridicule and suck.
- Beck – No Complaints
- Belle & Sebastian – Funny Little Frog
- Belle & Sebastian – The Blues Are Still Blue
- Midnight Juggernauts – Shadows
- Kimya Dawson – I Like Giants
- Augie March – One Crowded Hour
- Peter Bjorn & John – Young Folks
- Sonic Youth – Incinerate
- Thom Yorke – Atoms For Peace
- Thom Yorke – Black Swan
Basically anything I thought was good enough to download (legally) or buy.
But look at the final list. Sure, a lot of my picks were there (and in fact the Augie March tune made it to number 1). But no Belle? No Midnight Jugs? No Dawson? Instead the list is clogged with trendy stuff that, really, you wouldn’t even borrow a year from now.
So I say a curmudgeonly ‘harrumph!’ and retreat to my own musical zone, where delights new and old are always around the corner.
Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen
Album: Greatest Hits
Did Queen really get a bunch of nearly nude fat women to stage a mock bicycle race? Or did I dream it? Never mind. I’m trying to think of a song that combines fat fetishism with a positive take on child sex abuse, and I’m coming up with nothing.
The Clock by Thom Yorke
Album: The Eraser
This album works for me where other Radiohead albums don’t, and here’s (I think) why. The band carries a weight, and without them, the album feels lighter. It works well with the edgy paranoia, more electronic, more nimble. Take this track — the tick of the percussion speeds along like time itself, with Mr Yorke’s vocals dancing along the top. More chill than chill — almost uncomfortably cold.
Wear Your Love Like Heaven by Sarah McLachlan
I love random songs. How often would I take this disc out and play it? Never, that’s how. But then I’d be missing this sunny tune from the ex-Nettwerk artist Sarah McL. And that’d be a shame. And if it annoys me, it’s over soon. Which it rather does. Never mind. Onward.
I Wanna Be a Cowboy (12″ Saddle Mix) by Boys Don’t Cry
Album: I Wanna Be a Cowboy (Single)
An Aussie band from the 80’s, who charted with this hit in the USA. I think they came to Spokane once. Jeff saw them; I didn’t. (Jeffrey — tell them the ‘ta very much’ story.)
So here’s a guy who wants to be a cowboy. And you can be his cowgirl. His name is Ted. Which is funny. In fact, this is a really funny song, especially when Cowboy Ted’s girlfriend expresses her ambivalence about the dust and dirt of the trail (complete with robust cowboy chorus). Yippee yippee yi, yippee yo, yo, yo.
But then check the ending – existentialist angst where you least expect it: “My name is Ted. And one day… I’ll be dead, yo yo yo.” Where did that come from? And it has a good beat and it’s easy to dance to. I give it a nine out of ten.
All the Money or the Simple Life Honey by The Dandy Warhols
Album: Triple J Hottest 100, Volume 13
From last year’s Triple J Hottest 100. The Dandy Warhols are a band that I’m not always very interested in, but they’ve put out some great songs over the years, and I’m always surprised by how good their work is. Check their “Thirteen Tales” album; “Solid” is getting heavy play on my computer this week. This song is a good example of how to use a horn section to beef up an otherwise thin idea for a song.
Look out: it’s another Hottest 100 winner from 1998:
Dragula by Rob Zombie
Album: Hellbilly Deluxe
I decided to include this sixth song because, really, there aren’t enough webpages with Rob Zombie’s picture on them, especially looking like this. In retrospect, his decision to direct slasher b-movies should have been obvious. Still a great song. It does the quiet loud quiet thing well. Is the ‘drag’ in ‘Dragula’ supposed to be, like, him in drag? Because putting that on top of this song is scarier than anything I can think of. Or is it supposed to be motor-fueled carnage? Like the “Nyak-Nyak” comic book from the Wiseblood single? Perhaps both? Mr Zombie’s oeuvre is rich enough to suggest both without giving it all away.