The Hottest of the Hottest: The Best #100-1 in the History of Triple J’s Hottest 100

The Hottest of the Hottest: The Best #100-1 in the History of Triple J’s Hottest 100

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Dubbed the “world’s largest music democracy,” the Triple J Hottest 100 is a day for music fans all around Australia--and the world--to come together and celebrate the century of songs most loved by the listening audience of Australia’s national youth broadcaster. The countdown’s been a summer staple in Australia since 1993, and with 26 years of counting down in the books, I’m taking a look at the best of the best: the single greatest song to come in at each position in the countdown, from number 100 all the way down to number 1, in the history of the Hottest 100.

And, since rifling through 2500 songs worth of music wasn’t hard enough, I thought I’d put some extra constraints on--namely, that for generational balance we’re including at least three songs from every countdown--with the exception of 2018’s, due to my belief that it takes a full year post-countdown to fully evaluate a song’s place in Hottest 100 history. But don’t worry! This won’t dilute the quality of the countdown; rather, there are heaps of great songs to go around. So what are we waiting for! Let’s get started:

 

100. The Cat Empire, “Party Started” (2005)

The Cat Empire - Party Started

 

Who else could be at number 100 other than the only act to land there multiple times? Melbourne’s leading ska rock outfit rocketed to the center of the musical conversation when their eponymous debut landed three songs in the 2003 countdown, including “The Chariot” at number 100--only to see them hit four times in 2005, landing the century spot once again with this fun, funky bop that, true to its name, gets the party started. What’s more, the album it’s drawn from, Two Shoes, featured on Triple J’s 2011 countdown of the Top 100 Australian Albums of All Time--coming in at, you guessed it, number 100.

 

99. The Hives, “Tick Tick Boom” (2007)

The Hives - Tick Tick Boom

 

This is the epitome of the phrase “ya joking, shoulda been higher!” The Hives and their garage rock sound are so stereotypically Australian that I was shocked to learn they were actually Swedish. How this song only charted at #99 I’ll never know, but it appears The Hives have a thing for double numbers when it comes to the Hottest 100: their other two entries, “Hate To Say I Told You So” (2002) and “Walk Idiot Walk” (2004) hit numbers 33 and 55, respectively.

 

98. Foals, “Spanish Sahara” (2010)

Foals - Spanish Sahara

 

What is it about #98 and indie anthems? While The Gossip’s 2006 belter “Standing in the Way of Control” came close to taking this one out, in the end it had to go to the sweeping lead single from Foals’ second album, Total Life Forever. The way the song builds behind Yannis Philippakis’ haunting vocals resonated with every NME-reading indie kid in skinny jeans around the turn of the decade, enough to sneak it into the 2010 countdown--and into this list.

 

97. Ini Kamoze, “Here Comes the Hotstepper” (1994)

Ini Kamoze - Here Comes the Hotstepper (Video Version)

 

Don’t f**king test me when it comes to this song. I will out-sing you, out-dance you, and out-fact you (did you know that the intro is an interpolation of Cannibal & the Headhunters’ 1965 hit “Land of 1000 Dances?”). This was my ANTHEM when I was sixteen, and even at twenty-three you’ll find me tearing it up on the d-floor within seconds of HCTH coming on. Add to that the New York City subway’s beloved M train making a cameo in the video and you’ve got a runaway winner for #97--nothing even comes close.

 

96. Local H, “Bound For the Floor” (1997)

Local H - Bound For The Floor

 

Is there a better relic from the ’90s post-grunge scene than Local H? Hailing from near Chicago, the group’s hallmark single remains the dark and raging sing-along, “Bound For the Floor.” Taken from their second full-length effort As Good As Dead--which takes its name from the refrain of a song named “Eddie Vedder” in honor of the patron saint of grunge himself--the song’s chorus remains etched in the memory of every ’90s rock music lover: and you just don’t get it/you keep it copacetic…

95. Grouplove, “Naked Kids” (2011)

 

Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m writing this from the midst of a cold and grey New York winter, but the carefree summer vibes that emanate from all over Grouplove’s 2011 debut Never Trust a Happy Song sound pretty damn good right now. And no song is drenched in as much sunshine as “Naked Kids,” the first of three singles from that album to chart in the 2011 countdown. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a Hottest 100 summer BBQ, so lucky it snuck in at #95.

 

94. The Vines, “Ride” (2004)

 

Ahh, The Vines. One of Australia’s premier garage rock bands cleaned up the 2002 countdown with three tracks in the top 21 off their debut album Highly Evolved. Though they were never able to repeat the same success, they did land one more track in the Hottest 100 of 2004: their commercial hit “Ride,” which was in advertisements for practically everything back then--at least, it was here in the States.

 

93. Snakadaktal, “Dance Bear” (2012)

Snakadaktal - Dance Bear (Official)

 

Give me a moment while I reach for the tissues please…Snakadaktal sung their way into the Hottest 100 in 2011 when they won Triple J’s Unearthed High competition, their hit “Air” landing the number 22 spot. They followed that up the next year with “Dance Bear,” using their trademark combination of dream-pop harmonies and esoteric lyrics to capture our hearts, only to break them when they subsequently split. At least Phoebe and Joey continue to make music as Two People, their debut album First Body dropping just last week. (Side note: who else loves the City Calm Down t-shirt appearance in the video?)

 

92. Pendulum, “Propane Nightmares” (2008)

Propane Nightmares

 

The drum and bass kings from Perth have landed five songs in the Hottest 100 over the years, but in my opinion, none are better than 2008’s “Propane Nightmares.” Along with being the perfect song to sprint to on the treadmill, it’s an absolute dynamite combination of interesting rhythms with a catchy hook that’s really everything you could ask for as a layperson from an electronic song.

 

91. Lisa Mitchell, “Neopolitan Dreams” (2008)

Lisa Mitchell - Neopolitan Dreams [Official Video]

 

Why does the 2008 countdown get its second straight entry in this all-time list? I’ve got two words for you: glockenspiel solo. Former Australian Idol contestant Lisa Mitchell broke free of the shackles of reality television with “Neopolitan Dreams,” the Dann Hume-produced beauty whose infectious fingerpicked guitar riff and use of glockenspiel announced to the world that Lisa Mitchell was here and was a force to be reckoned with. And three albums later, she remains such: her song “Warhol” off of 2016’s Warriors is a criminally underrated masterpiece, and I will not back down from that statement.

 

90. Florence + The Machine, “Kiss With a Fist” (2009)

Florence + The Machine - Kiss With A Fist

 

Florence Welch and her Machine thundered onto the scene in 2009 with Lungs, the stunning debut album that redefined what it meant to be an indie artist with worldwide mainstream appeal. And before she was selling out stadiums, she was dominating the Hottest 100 of 2009: four tracks from Lungs made the countdown, including this frenetic track that perfectly encapsulates everything Florence: maximalist lyrics, raucous drums, and of course, the best voice in the business.

 

89. Warren G & Nate Dogg, “Regulate” (1994)

Warren G - Regulate ft. Nate Dogg

 

G-Funk: where rhythm is life, and life is rhythm. Or so goes the credo that Warren G and Nate Dogg put forth in their 1994 classic, “Regulate.” The duo--who formed the collective with Snoop Dogg known as “213” after the area code of their home of Long Beach, California--changed hip-hop forever with one of the more unlikely samples you’ll find in gangsta rap. By sampling Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin’,” the duo laid down their hallmark single, in which Warren G relays the story of being robbed at gunpoint while looking for women to pick up, only to be saved by his buddy, Nate Dogg. You know, typical Michael McDonald stuff.

 

88. DZ Deathrays, “Gina Works at Hearts” (2014)

DZ Deathrays - Gina Works At Hearts

 

Brisbane’s beloved punk trio DZ Deathrays are likely to score their third total song in the Hottest 100 this weekend, as “Like People” is set to chart pretty high. If you ask me, though, nothing compares to their first. Off their second album Black Rat, 2014’s “Gina Works at Hearts” is the perfect encapsulation of everything that makes DZ great: searing guitars, a pulsating groove, and an absolute belter of a chorus. I’d have placed it higher than #88, but hey, 2014 was an all-star countdown.

 

87. Placebo, “You Don’t Care About Us” (1999)

 

PLACEBO 'You Don't Care About Us'

 

Number 87 had some strong competitors, from Junior Senior’s danceterpiece “Move Your Feet” (2003) to Sneaker Pimps’ fantastic trip hop track “6 Underground” (1997). But as the arbiter of this countdown, I’d be remiss if I snubbed my favorite song from one of my favorite bands. Placebo’s Hottest 100 legacy is long, and with good reason-- a whopping fourteen total songs in the countdown is only fitting for one of the best rock bands of the last 25 years. While it’s the lowest of the three that charted off their stunning sophomore album Without You I’m Nothing, “You Don’t Care About Us” is the perfect marriage of Brian Molko’s melancholy guitar fuzz and impassioned vocals that make Placebo…well, Placebo.

 

86. TLC, “Waterfalls” (1995)

TLC - Waterfalls (Official Video)

 

Is there a more iconic song on this countdown? I don’t think so. Atlanta’s trio of T-Boz, Left Eye and Chili gave us plenty of songs to vibe to--and for Michael Keaton to reference--over their years as TLC. But it’s “Waterfalls” that stands above the rest. A touching tale of a mother pleading for her son to stay out of gang violence featuring one of the best rap verses of the ’90s? An easy choice for #86.

 

85. Purity Ring, “Fineshrine” (2012)

Purity Ring - Fineshrine

 

Edmonton, Canada’s best synthpop band scored one song in the countdown off each of their first two albums, but it’s the first of those two that makes our list. “Fineshrine,” taken from their debut record Shrines, is a spine-tingling, euphoria inducing ballad that honestly makes the perfect soundtrack for the rapture--meaning it would have been right on time if that whole “2012” thing actually happened.

 

84. British India, “Summer Forgive Me” (2013)

British India - Summer Forgive Me

 

Feel like a simple “one, two, three, four” is a played out way to start a song? How about if it’s said in four languages? That’s the way Melbourne rock outfit British India start “Summer Forgive Me,” the second single off their fourth album Controller. Now I can’t speak for Summer, but if someone wronged me and wrote as ripper of a track as this one to apologize? They’d be forgiven in a heartbeat. This one still stands as my favorite of British India’s eight songs to make the Hottest 100, even though it’s the lowest charting.

 

83. Amy Shark, “Blood Brothers” (2017)

 

Queen of the Gold Coast, indie pop royalty Amy Shark shot to the top of the countdown in 2016, with her debut single “Adore” reaching #2 just a few months after it was uploaded to Triple J Unearthed--finally kickstarting a music career that was ten years in the making. Her debut EP Night Thinker, released the following April, saw two more songs chart in 2017 edition of the countdown--including this absolute bop. Protip: if you ever go see Sharky’s live show, this song goes hard.

 

82. Courtney Barnett, “Depreston” (2015)

Depreston - Courtney Barnett

 

Courtney’s 2015 debut LP Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit absolutely dominated the countdown that year, landing four tracks, tied with Tame Impala’s Currents for the most off one album that year. Of those four, “Depreston” most deftly weaves her observational humor into the depressing reality of suburban life. Who else could achieve that level of detail without sounding needlessly verbose? Nobody does that better than Courtney Barnett.

 

81. Arcade Fire, “No Cars Go” (2007)

 

It was a very, very tough choice to not give this spot to Bran Van 3000’s 1998 jam and three quarters, “Drinking in L.A.” But as much as I love that song, I also love Arcade Fire, in particular their 2007 album Neon Bible which remains my favorite--yes, even more than Funeral or The Suburbs. And since I love a good haunting accordion riff on top of tremolo guitar and layered horns, it was “No Cars Go” that got the call. Plus, would this countdown have been legit without one of the best live acts in the world? Seriously: if you’ve ever got the chance to go see Arcade Fire, do NOT miss them. You’ll thank me later.

 

80. Alice In Chains, “No Excuses” (1994)

Alice In Chains - No Excuses

 

I don’t think there have been better harmonies in rock music than the magic that happened every time Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell sang together with Alice in Chains. While they rocked hard and loud on their albums Facelift and Dirt, the Seattle grunge legends quieted down on their acoustic EPs Sap and Jar of Flies, which if you haven’t heard, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Taken from the second of those two EPs, “No Excuses” is the Staley-Cantrell partnership at its finest. Their voices blend together as they sing Cantrell’s bittersweet lyrics about his rocky friendship with Staley, who battled a heroin addiction that ultimately cost him his life in 2002. The final verse always brings a tear to my eye: You my friend/I will defend/And if we change/Well, I love you anyway…

 

79. Kelis, “Milkshake” (2003)

Kelis - Milkshake (Video)

 

While this spot nearly went to A$AP Rocky, 2 Chainz, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar with their spectacular 2013 collab “F**in’ Problems,” could I really have given it to anyone other than Kelis in the end? Even as an eight year old in 2003 I knew this song banged (bung?), and it still does. How else could you explain its continued influence?  Let’s be real here: this track is the definition of a floor filler.

 

78. OMC, “How Bizarre” (1996)

 

The highest selling Kiwi single of all time until Lorde’s “Royals” came around, OMC’s seminal song still belongs in a museum. Short for “Otara Millionaire’s Club” in a tongue-in-cheek reference to their upbringing in one of Auckland’s rougher suburbs, bandmates Pauly Fuemana and Alan Jansson made it big with this worldwide hit, a staple of any good summer road trip playlist which can’t help but put a smile on your face. On top of that, it still has perhaps the best final line in the history of pop music: Wanna know the rest? Hey, buy the rights.

 

77. The Streets, “Has It Come to This?” (2002)

The Streets - Has It Come to This? (Official Video)

 

There aren’t many acts out there like Mike Skinner’s The Streets. The Birmingham, UK native spouts his own breed of UK garage-style indie hip-hop, a pendulum which swings from loud and aggressive to chill and jazzy. “Has It Come to This?” is one of the latter tracks, and serves as a brash introduction to their first LP Original Pirate Material, as Skinner assuredly reminds you: you’re listening to The Streets. And if you like this one, check out The Streets’ second album, 2004’s A Grand Don’t Come for Free. As far as hip-hop concept albums go, it’s an all-timer.

 

76. Jet, “Rip It Up” (2006)

 

You knew there had to be some Jet on this countdown. After taking out the 2003 Hottest 100 with the anthemic “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” off their ever-popular debut Get Born, the Cester brothers returned in 2006 with Shine On, whose third single, “Rip It Up,” does exactly that. Frenetic and powerful, it’s--no pun intended--a shining example of what Jet does best.

 

75. The Avalanches, “Because I’m Me” (2016)

The Avalanches - Because I'm Me (Official Video)

 

Wanna know how to make a comeback? Just look to The Avalanches for advice. After dropping one of the most influential albums of the new millennium in 2001’s Since I Left You, the master turntablists took an unbelievable fifteen year hiatus--before announcing their grand return with 2016’s Wildflower. This track, one of three off of Wildflower to feature in the 2016 countdown, reimagines the R&B classic “Why Can’t I Get It Too” by Six Boys in Trouble, all while adding the tightest rap verses from hip hop legend Sonny Cheeba of New York City’s most underrated group of the ’90s, Camp Lo. Add to that the adorable young kid dancing in a NYC subway station for the video, and you’ve got a winning mix.

 

74. Grinspoon, “Sickfest” (1995)

 

The original Unearthed all-stars, Grinspoon, released their debut LP Guide to Better Living in 1997, which is to date the best thing I’ve ever purchased from the Salvo’s on New Town Road in Hobart. However one of the best tracks off that album had actually been kicking around for a while before its release. “Sickfest,” a masterful three minute rock song and one that’s exemplary of Grinspoon’s early grunge days, scored #74 in the 1995 countdown--the year yours truly was born. Sorry if I just made you feel old there.

 

73. Weezer, “Dope Nose” (2002)

Weezer - Dope Nose

 

A lot of people have a lot of opinions on Weezer, as this SNL skit suggests. And why shouldn’t they--I mean, who among us hasn’t had at least one serious Weezer phase? I’m more in the Matt Damon camp of Weezer having made some pretty damn good music post-2001, and “Dope Nose” exhibit A. The lead single off 2002’s Maladroit, it’s the hidden gem of Weezer’s millennial discography, which the “purists” are missing out on. If you haven’t dove in deeper than the Blue Album and “Beverly Hills,” do yourself a favor and get your ears around this one.

72. Run the Jewels, “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” (2014)

Run The Jewels - Close Your Eyes And Count To F*ck feat. Zack De La Rocha (from Run The Jewels 2)

 

Can someone say GET HYPE??? That’s the phrase that’s best used to describe this uber-aggressive BANGER from American rap duo Run the Jewels. Off their second LP, Run the Jewels 2, the hook and final verse are performed by a very special guest: former Rage Against the Machine frontman Zach De La Rocha. If you listen to this track and don’t feel like ripping someone’s head off with revolutionary fervor?…well, maybe Run the Jewels isn’t for you. But for the rest of us, it’s f**ing fantastic.

 

71. Grimes, “Flesh without Blood” (2015)

Grimes - Flesh without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream

 

This song appeared 70 spots too low in the 2015 countdown. If it were up to me, Grimes would have taken out that year’s Hottest 100 with this, her opus from the album Art Angels. I could listen to this song for a week on repeat and never get tired of it--which is pretty much what happened the seven days after I heard it for the first time. And don’t even get me started on the video, which I wrote a 12-page paper on in college. And while the paper sucked, the video most definitely does not (see above).

 

70. Manic Street Preachers, “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next” (1998)

If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

 

There’s a scene in Elizabeth Marcus’ 2015 documentary No Manifesto where fans of the Welsh band Manic Street Preachers relate the crippling loneliness of being a Manics fan in the United States--a subject I have a lot to say about. One of the biggest bands of the ’90s in the UK, the Blackwood lads barely made a ripple in the U.S. market, leaving the few Americans who, like myself, really love them--to fend for themselves. As for Australia, the band made a sizable enough impression to land one song in the Hottest 100 of 1998: the impressively titled “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next,” their biggest commercial hit off their spectacular fifth album This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours. The band’s got a sordid and mysterious history that I won’t get into here; all I’ll say is that if you’re unfamiliar, they recently released their THIRTEENTH studio album--nearly all of which are fantastic.

 

69. Muse, “Hysteria” (2003)

Muse - Hysteria [Official Music Video]

 

Once when I was in high school and severely depressed, I found myself unable to sit in calculus class a moment longer, so I walked out the door, left the school, put on this song and ran like a maniac at full speed around the block as a break from the routine malaise. That’s the kind of song “Hysteria” is: floating, raging euphoria; a perfect antidote for any stick in the mud. Muse may have won the Hottest 100 in 2007 with “Knights of Cydonia,” but you could argue that having the greatest #69 in the history of the countdown is an even greater achievement.

 

68. Blueline Medic, “Making the Nouveau Riche” (2001)

Blueline Medic - Making The Nouveau Riche

 

Early 2000s Melbourne-based rock group Blueline Medic were way ahead of their time. The lyrical astuteness and complexity of Gang of Youths with the relatable rage and ennui of The Smith Street Band, Blueline would fit perfectly in today’s Aussie rock scene. I think history will look back at them with reverence, but particularly this track. “Making the Nouveau Riche” is an anthem for the post-grad generation, a biting retort from any idling young adult to anyone who’s told them to “get a real life.” And if you don’t believe me, it beat out Dandy Warhols to get this spot, so you KNOW it’s gotta be good.

 

67. Flume ft. T-Shirt, “On Top” (2012)

Flume Ft. T-Shirt - On Top

 

Flume is the prototypical example of how quickly someone can rise to fame in the digital age of Triple J Unearthed. Within months of uploading “Sleepless” to Unearthed, Harley Streten--AKA Flume--found himself with four tracks in the Hottest 100 of 2012, including three in the top 20. He’d clock three more in the top ten over the next few years, including winning the thing in 2016 with “Never Be Like You.” However, it’s his lowest charting of that original group of four that makes this list. “On Top” features Flume’s plinky-plonky production with some self-assured bars of fire from otherwise anonymous U.S. rapper T. Shirt, and should stand as his best track, despite what the voters say. Why else would Illy have included it in his medley of Aussie classics?

 

66. Children Collide, “Farewell Rocketship” (2008)

Children Collide - Farewell Rocketship

 

So, about that Illy medley…it came in at 66 in the 2013 countdown, and came so close to nabbing that spot here. Really, really, achingly close. But in a neck and neck battle, it was the greatest Aussie rock band of the late 2000s that won out. My first taste of Children Collide came from “Skeleton Dance” making an appearance on the FIFA 08 soundtrack, but when it comes to which CC song is the most resonant? That honor goes to “Farewell Rocketship.” I mean, who hasn’t wanted to leave war and politics behind and run away to explore the expanses of the universe? I know I have, and so did the voters who made it their 66th favorite song of 2008.

 

65. Chemical Brothers ft. Q-Tip, “Galvanize” (2004)

The Chemical Brothers - Galvanize (Official Video)

 

Don’t. Hold. BACK. The searing mandate that Q-Tip delivers over Chemical Brothers’ delicious sample of strings from Moroccan artist Najat Aatabou remains a hallmark of the mid-2000s--even if you don’t know it, you know it…you know? If you ever saw a Nike commercial on television, you’ll have heard the refrain. But the whole song is powerful as heck, especially the breakdown and buildup before the final drop: a phrase like “my finger is on the button” has never sounded so cool.

 

64. The National, “Graceless” (2013)

The National - Graceless

 

This was the first song I heard by The National, and the first song I voted for in my first Hottest 100 ballot. Though they’ve had heaps of great albums, nothing quite grips me like the resigned yet somehow hopeful despair of Trouble Will Find Me. And while I love every track off that record, “Graceless” takes the cake. How it swings from sad to happy and back around again…it really is peak Berninger.

 

63. TV on the Radio, “Wolf Like Me” (2006)

TV On The Radio - Wolf Like Me

 

While 2014’s “Happy Idiot” charted higher at number 49, Tunde Adebimpe and company’s biggest worldwide hit remains the lead single from their 2006 sophomore album, Return to Cookie Mountain. I’ll admit it took me a while to get around this song, and finally seeing TV on the Radio live in 2017 definitely helped. But now? I can’t get enough of it, really. I mean, what kind of person doesn’t get moved when Tunde comes in with the “we’re howling forever, oh-oh” refrain in the outro? F**k me, man. That’s gold.

 

62. Angus & Julia Stone, “Heart Beats Slow” (2014)

Angus & Julia Stone - Heart Beats Slow

 

Did you know that Julia Stone and I have the same birthday? I see no reason why you would have. Regardless, she and brother Angus have been one of Australia’s most consistent acts over the last decade and a half, charting at least one song in the Hottest 100 off each of their four studio albums. This one, the lead single off their self-titled third album from 2014, feels like part of the natural progression from the acoustic-driven sound of A Book Like This and Down the Way to the mellow fuzz of Snow. Plus, it features more of the sibling call and response we see in later Stone records compared to the earlier ones--making “Heart Beats Slow” the gateway to a new era of A & J.

 

61. The Mavis’s, “Cry” (1998)

The Mavis's - Cry (1998)

 

Ballarat’s finest pop rock group of the late ’90s, The Mavis’s, scored one track in each of the three Hottest 100 countdowns from 1996-1998. It was the third of those three, “Cry,” which helps make the 1998 edition one of my favorite countdowns in history. Harmonies that tug the heartstrings give this song its spot on the list; and while a 2001 breakup meant the Mavis’s glory days were short-lived, their catalogue lives on for generations of music lovers to feel to.

 

60. Sofi Tukker, “Drinkee” (2016)

SOFI TUKKER - Drinkee (Official Video)

 

Every year, the house music crowd will get behind a song or two and push them into the countdown. In the case of Sofi Tukker, all Triple J listeners should be grateful for that. The duo released their debut EP Soft Animals in July of 2016, and before long, “Drinkee”  hit the charts. The song’s lyrics are drawn from a poem by Brazilian poet Chacal, but that’s not the point--what is the point, according to the two best friends from Brown University, is that you get lost in the music and feel moved to dance. And I do, every time.

 

59. The Strokes, “Hard to Explain” (2001)

The Strokes - Hard To Explain (Official Music Video)

 

It’s The Strokes everyone! Woohoo! New York’s favorite sons, spearheads of the indie rock revival, and creators of many great albums, including their hugely influential 2001 debut, Is This It?. While “Last Nite” and “Someday” are arguably more anthemic, of all the tracks off that record, “Hard to Explain” holds a special place in my heart. Delightfully awkward yet effortlessly cool, the song and its video are exhibit A of The Strokes’ appeal.

 

58. Ali Barter, “Girlie Bits” (2016)

Ali Barter - Girlie Bits

 

Ali Barter is perhaps Australia’s best kept secret at the moment. Currently hard at work on album two, she gave us a monster of a debut with 2017’s A Suitable Girl, and it’s only a matter of time until the world takes notice. Take for example this pre-album lead single: a biting, satirical commentary that highlights the struggles women in entertainment face if they don’t fit into any particular box. Frankly, this track should be taught in schools…and “Professor Barter” has a nice ring to it.

 

57. Missy Elliott, “Work It” (2003)

Missy Elliott - Work It (Official Video)

 

Oh my goodness. This only reached number 57? How is that possible?! “Work It” is on the shortlist for biggest banger of the 21st century, and a big reason why Missy Elliott now has the honor of being the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Now admittedly I’m a huge Missy fan, but had I been conscious of the countdown in 2003, I’d have been beating down doors to demand a recount.

 

56. Frente!, “Bizarre Love Triangle” (1994)

Bizarre Love Triangle (2014 Remaster)

 

Frente! are an absolutely classic Australian band that don’t get the recognition they deserve outside Oz. If you don’t believe me, go listen to the unbearably fun “Accidentally Kelly Street” of their cheekily titled debut album, Marvin the Album. While originally released before the countdown started, it was re-released internationally in 1994, with a new closing track: a tender, haunting cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”, which just so happens to be my favorite song of all time. Their unique spin on a beloved classic was enough to earn it a spot in the ’94 countdown, and a spot on this list.

 

55. Radiohead, “No Surprises” (1998)

Radiohead - No Surprises

 

There have been eleven Radiohead tracks to make the countdown over the years, spanning a massive twenty-three years--the longest of any artist in Hottest 100 history. While “No Surprises” didn’t chart as high as other songs off OK Computer--“Paranoid Android” and “Karma Police” were both top ten--I’d argue it’s the most touching song off of one of the most emotionally devastating records of all time. As a result, Thom Yorke and co. find themselves firmly entrenched at the number 55 spot.

 

54. The Whitlams, “Thank You (For Loving Me At My Worst)” (1999)

Thank You (For Loving Me At My Worst)

 

This song bizarrely charted twice in the countdown, having been released on record in November and as a single in January--but we’re considering it for the number it landed at during its original release in 1999. While The Whitlams owned the countdown with five songs off their classic third album Eternal Nightcap, including the 1997 #1 “No Aphrodisiac,” it’s this puppy from their followup fourth record Love This City that shows Tim Freedman at his most relatable. They say you don’t truly love someone until you love them at their worst, and if you do, you definitely deserve a thank you.

 

53. Missy Higgins, “Steer” (2007)

Missy Higgins - Steer (Video)

 

Okay, everyone: it’s finally Missy Higgins time. While she may have won the hearts of a nation and beyond with her classic debut album The Sound of White, it was her followup LP, On a Clear Night, where songwriter extraordinaire Missy Higgins proved that she wasn’t just a flash in the pan. Take for example this absolute stunner, which feels like you’re flying through the air after years of being weighed down by your own guilt and uncertainty. You DO control where you go. Your life is your own, and you can direct it wherever you please: YOU CAN STEER. Goosebumps.

 

52. Soul Asylum, “Runaway Train” (1993)

Soul Asylum - Runaway Train

 

What’s this? A Minnesota band represented on the Ultimate Hottest 100 countdown? Well, regardless of my love for the music of the place I spent my college days, “Runaway Train” is a downright classic. While it remains Soul Asylum’s best known song, and the only one to make the Hottest 100, “Misery” and “Somebody to Shove” are both A grade certified fresh tunas. You heard it here first, folks.

 

51. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, “Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow” (2001)

Nick Cave - Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow

 

Picture this: an abandoned embassy in Kazakhstan. 30 random celebrities dancing in a fluorescent room to a dark and cryptic song about children disappeared in wintertime sung by a lanky goth with a voice that makes your hairs stand on end. It must be the work of the Nick Cave. He’s a member of the Australian Order for a reason, and it’s because he’s a god damn national treasure--strike that, he’s a global treasure. “Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow” is Nick at his darkest, creepiest, and best of all, his weirdest. Sign me the heck up, please. Special shoutout to CHVRCHES’ “Clearest Blue,” a brilliant song that would have snagged this spot had it not been for Cave.

 

50. Arctic Monkeys, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” (2005)

Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Official Video)

 

This was the first of twelve Arctic Monkeys songs to make the Hottest 100 over the years, with surely more to come this year given the popular yet polarizing Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. But in my opinion, it doesn’t get any better than “I Bet…” It’s a song that’s made for the indie disco, the definition of dance punk, and a statement of a debut from a band that would go on to dominate the next decade and a half of rock and roll. Alex Turner, take a bow.

 

49. San Cisco, “Too Much Time Together” (2015)

San Cisco - 'Too Much Time Together' Official Music Video

 

Fremantle’s favorite sons (and daughter!) are countdown veterans, hitting the top ten barely four months after uploading their song “Awkward” to Unearthed in 2011. While their self-titled debut charted the best overseas, their 2015 sophomore album Gracetown is still my favorite, and this song is the cream of the crop. I knew it from the moment it got its first play on JJJ that it was special, and thankfully, enough people agreed to give it a spot on that year’s countdown--making it a shoo-in for this spot.

 

48. Queens of the Stone Age, “Go With the Flow” (2002)

Queens Of The Stone Age - Go With The Flow

 

Few albums have dominated the Hottest 100 like Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf did in 2002. Scoring a total of tracks, including the winner, “No One Knows,” it was how Josh Homme and company cemented themselves as one of Australia’s favorite Yankee bands. The album’s best track, however, wasn’t the winner. “Go With the Flow,” while charting third highest out of the five off the record, has this irresistible drive pulsating through it, giving it the kind of manic energy that makes a phenomenal rock song. Sixteen years and countless great singles later, it remains--in my opinion--QOTSA’s magnum opus.

 

47. Sparkadia, “Mary” (2011)

Sparkadia: Mary (Official Video)

 

One of three songs from their second record The Great Impression to make the Hottest 100, “Mary” is Sydney’s pop rock kings, Sparkadia, at their very finest. It’s by far their most anthemic song, and the amount of space it commands from the listener’s ears is praiseworthy and then some. It’s the kind of song that makes you feel like something truly epic is about to go down; listen on the right set of speakers, and prepare to have a religious experience.

 

46. Rage Against the Machine, “Bulls on Parade” (1996)

Rage Against The Machine - Bulls On Parade

 

Guitar Hero III anyone? Everyone who was anyone from my generation was falling in love with this song as part of the soundtrack to the greatest rhythm game ever created. For some of us, it was our introduction to RATM; for others, it was a reminder of how much fun it was to be anti-establishment, well-off, and criminally lacking in self-awareness. As cringeworthy as we may have been as preteens, the love for this song remains. Plus, it taught me what a “commode” was, so that’s cool.

 

45. Wolfmother, “Woman” (2004)

Wolfmother - Woman (Official Video)

 

This was another Guitar Hero anthem, featuring on the game’s second installment. But as far as the Hottest 100 goes, it was far more than that. The first of SEVEN tracks from Wolfmother’s debut album to chart on the countdown--a record that may never be broken--“Woman” was Andrew Stockdale announcing that the spirit of the ’70s rock gods was alive and well in his band. I saw them live a couple of years ago, and let me tell you: it holds up.

 

44. My Chemical Romance, “Teenagers” (2007)

My Chemical Romance - Teenagers [Official Music Video]

 

If anyone is going to slander My Chemical Romance, please do so to my face, so I can calmly tell you how wrong you are. MCR should go down in history as one of the U.S.A’s best bands of the new millennium, and their brilliant concept album The Black Parade is all the evidence you need to back it up. This song eloquently related the fear inherent in being faced with the potential danger of a pack of juveniles--a full six years before Gang of Youths were even a thing! One day, I pray for a reunion so I’ll get the chance to experience the live show. Until that day, though? I’ll have the best #44 in Hottest 100 history to tide me over.

 

43. Smashing Pumpkins, “Cherub Rock” (1993)

The Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock

 

Their debut album Gish put them on the map in indie circles in 1991, but it was 1993’s Siamese Dream that made Smashing Pumpkins into a household name. And kicking that record off was this masterpiece: a perfect scoop of mellowed out fuzz that would define the sound of Siamese-era Pumpkins. It’s a staple of any good ’90s cover band’s setlist, and why shouldn’t it be? It’s four minutes and fifty-eight seconds of pure bliss.

 

42. The Grates, “Inside Outside” (2006)

The Grates - Inside, Outside

 

Patience Hodgson is one of the coolest frontpersons in the world, and is a big part of what makes Brisbane’s The Grates one of the funkiest, funnest bands in recent memory. “Inside Outside” is them in a nutshell; you’ll never see a more precious and inoffensive use of the word “motherf**ker.” They released three records filled to the brim with their unique brand of quirky, energetic indie rock before going on a well-earned hiatus. Luckily for us, though the band is back together and gearing up to finally tour again! Woohoo!

 

41. Gang of Youths, “Blood (Like a Version)” (2017)

Gang of Youths cover The Middle East 'Blood' for Like A Version

 

Triple J started their weekly Friday morning “Like a Version” cover segment in 2004, and since then, 19 different Like a Versions have made the Hottest 100. The highest charting was DMA’s reimagination of Cher’s “Believe,” which landed at #6 in 2016. The best, though? That honor goes to Sydney’s Gang of Youths, who on a Friday morning in September of 2017, took on a modern Aussie classic--and in the process, rewrote the manual of what made a great LAV. The Middle East’s “Blood” is a great song in its own right--it reached #64 in the 2009 countdown--but Gang of Youths making it their own felt, in a way, like destiny. Very rarely is a song as well suited for the band covering it as this one was for Gangs. Their addition of a live string section, plus the one-of-a-kind drums of Mr. Donnie Borzestowski, unlocked the full potential of “Blood,” and we have both Gang of Youths and Triple J to thank for it.

 

40. Bloc Party, “Helicopter” (2005)

Bloc Party - Helicopter

 

If you know the words, sing it with me: NORTH TO SOUTH….EMPTY….RUNNING ON….BRAVADO! As “Helicopter” moves from its unforgettable intro riff to these first lyrics, no one with a soul can help but find themselves belting them out. Kele Okekere has written some ripper tunes over the years, but this one takes the cake. Remember how I said “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” was made for the indie disco? Yeah, that goes double for this one. A special shoutout to New Zealand sibling synthpop duo Broods, and their spectacular song “Mother and Father” (2014), which came very close to taking this one out.

 

39. Something for Kate, “Captain (A Million Miles an Hour)” (1997)

Something For Kate - Captain (Million Miles An Hour)

 

Australian rock legend Paul Dempsey has had a long and storied career, both solo and with his band Something for Kate. While they reached #2 in the 2001 countdown with “Monsters,” this song--the first single of their debut record Elsewhere for 8 Minutes--has always been my favorite. I, too, have wanted to fly away through the air at a million miles an hour…though I’ve never had anyone call me “captain” before. Probably for the best, really.

 

38. Pulp, “Common People” (1995)

Pulp - Common People

 

I love Pulp. I love Pulp SO much. Do I love Pulp too much? That’s not for you to say. Anyway, Pulp’s most famous record--1995’s Different Class--holds that title for a reason; it’s one of the best albums of the entire Britpop movement according to many, including yours truly. It’s shining star: “Common People,” the song voted by NME readers as the third best indie anthem of all time, and subject of one of the best William Shatner spoken word covers of all time. Fun fact: based on the information given in the song, many have theorized that it’s about Danae Stratou, the wife of former Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis. Go figure.

 

37. Kendrick Lamar, “Alright” (2015)

Kendrick Lamar - Alright

 

Kendrick Lamar is the pre-eminent rapper of this generation. I believe it, and evidently, so do Triple J listeners, who have voted him into the top two twice, including making him the first person of color to win the countdown with “HUMBLE.” in 2017. His 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly is widely recognized as one of the greatest rap albums of all time. “King Kunta” scored highest off the album by landing at #2, and while it’s a phenomenal song, nothing encapsulates its musical themes of jazz with its lyrical themes of healing and resistance better than “Alright.” It’s one of those songs you want to put in a time capsule as a snapshot of a generation.

 

36. Primitive Radio Gods, “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” (1996)

Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand

 

Chris O’Connor of Primitive Radio Gods took a sample of the old B.B. King classic “How Blue Can You Get” and made it the chorus of a patient, soothing indie song--and so, “Standing Outside…” was born. The song’s got heaps of quotable lines, but the one I’ve always found most resonant: if I die before I learn to speak/will money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep? And if you were wondering if this was the longest song title in Hottest 100 history? Close, but no cigar. That honor goes to Panic at the Disco, whose “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage” landed at #91 in 2006.

 

35. Harvey Danger, “Flagpole Sitta” (1998)

Harvey Danger - Flagpole Sitta (Official Music Video)

 

It was the theme song to Peep Show; it was polka-ed up by Weird Al. “Flagpole Sitta” has been a lot of things, but one thing it’s never been is played out. Harvey Danger may be the dictionary definition of one-hit wonder, but this is the hit that keeps on giving. Some songs from the late 1990s have had their time in the sun, but “Flagpole Sitta” is timeless. As long as karaoke bars exist, this song will have a life, and it will NEVER go out of style--and thank god for that.

 

34. The Naked & Famous, “Punching in a Dream” (2010)

The Naked And Famous - Punching In A Dream

 

The Naked and Famous are one of New Zealand’s top exports of the 2010s, along with Lorde, Kimbra, and the films of Taika Waititi. Since they were robbed of a countdown spot in 2016 when “Higher” ludicrously missed out, 2010 remains the only year they’ve placed--but that’s enough to land them on this list. “Punching in a Dream” is pure pop magic; it’s like eating a synth sandwich and finishing it off with a cool, crispy soda made from drum fills. It’s also the best song off the FIFA 11 soundtrack, in case you were wondering.

 

33. James, “Getting Away With It (All Messed Up” (2001)

James - Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)

 

Before I talk about James, I want to say how hard it was to not put “California Love” (1996) in this spot. I mean, I think that 2Pac is the greatest rapper of all time, and that his collab with Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman is an all-timer. That being said, James is a very, very special band. Their song “Laid” is their most popular by far, and reached #12 in the 1994 countdown. While they have a whole mess of other phenomenal songs, many of them are from 1989-1992, thus predating the countdown. Their only other entrant was “Getting Away With It (All Messed Up),” a song that proves that you can be a decade into your career and still be at the top of your game. Most powerful lines: Are you aching for the grave?/That’s okay/We’re insured.

 

32. CHVRCHES, “Leave a Trace” (2015)

CHVRCHES - Leave A Trace

 

Hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, CHVRCHES were one of the first bands I really got into as an adult. Their 2013 album The Bones of What You Believe is an all-timer as far as debuts go, but it’s the lead single from their sophomore release, Every Open Eye, that lands the number 32 spot on our countdown. A vindictive yet triumphant breakup song, its release saw singer Lauren Mayberry undergo a transformation from timid to fierce before our very eyes. It signaled a new era of CHVRCHES, one that our world is all the better for having.

 

31. Ball Park Music, “It’s Nice to Be Alive” (2011)

Ball Park Music - It's Nice To Be Alive (Official Video)

 

Lemme tell you a little something about Ball Park Music. They’re not only the best Australian band of the 2010s, they are--in my opinion--the world’s best band of the 2010s. Unfortunately for the world, their touring outside of Australia has been very limited--so far anyway. When they finally do break it big worldwide, they’ll have five phenomenal records of material to choose from. This gem, taken from their hit-laden first album Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs, delivers a delightfully simple yet vitally important and desperately needed message: don’t stress, that’s dumb/I’m here, and it’s nice to be alive. With you Ball Park? It certainly is.

30. Silverchair, “Miss You Love” (1999)

Silverchair - Miss You Love (Video)

 

Silverchair are one of Australia’s most decorated bands, landing an insane total of seventeen songs in the Hottest 100 over the course of five albums. Of those five, two of them--2002’s Diorama and 1999’s Neon Ballrom, scored five tracks each. Your favorite Silverchair album says a lot about who you are, and for me it’s Neon Ballroom, thanks in large part to this gutwrenching ballad. A damning indictment of toxic masculinity, the line I love the way you love/but I hate the way I’m supposed to love you back rings just as loud today as it did when Daniel Johns sang it twenty years ago. And if that wasn’t enough, don’t tell me you weren’t overcome with emotion when they used this in Looking for Alibrandi. Josie’s just figuring herself out, okay? I think we can all identify with that.

 

29. Vera Blue, “Mended” (2017)

Vera Blue - Mended (Official Audio)

 

When I first heard this song in July of 2017, my first thought was “Hottest 100 number one.” Well, it landed about 28 spots lower than my initial prediction, but it’s not a bad showing for budding superstar Vera Blue, whose debut album Perennial was one of the best of that year. There’s something about the “it’s getting close…” refrain that hooks me every single time--and that’s not even mentioning how Blue--born Celia Pavey--has one of the most stunning voices in music right now. It won’t be long until Vera Blue is a household name outside of just Australia, and it’s songs like this that are getting her there. Obligatory shout out to my guys Third Eye Blind: “Semi Charmed Life” (1997) would have taken this spot a year ago.

 

28. Architecture in Helsinki, “That Beep” (2008)

Architecture In Helsinki - That Beep [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

 

They were one of the most unique pop bands of the 2000s, and it’s this beauty that saw them develop from the more traditional instrumentation of their earlier records to the fully electronic sounds we heard on 2011’s Moment Bends. “That Beep” was part of that album, but it was first released in 2008--and reached the #28 spot on that year’s countdown. Its importance to AIH’s catalogue, and in turn their importance to Australian Music of the new millennium, lands “That Beep” a spot on this list, just beating out Silversun Pickups and “Lazy Eye” (2007) from the year before. Well, that and the fact that it’s an absolute dance ANTHEM.

27. Operator Please, “Just a Song About Ping Pong” (2007)

Operator Please - Just A Song About Ping Pong

 

A group of high schoolers from the Gold Coast record one of the punchiest, funnest songs of the 2000s…and it’s about ping pong. The song is as to the point as its title, barely lasting two minutes--long enough, however, to deliver a masterclass in pop punk. There’s a reason the phrase “Operator Please” elicits waves of nostalgia from all my Aussie friends who are old enough to remember 2007. Because of this song, I’ll NEVER forget that beef jerky has an aftertaste.

 

26. Metric, “Help I’m Alive” (2009)

 

Emily Haines cut her teeth as a member of Canadian indie legends Broken Social Scene, though it can be hard to remember that considering BSS has about as many members as the Wu-Tang Clan. But it was the band that she fronted, Metric, that saw her break out into even more popular acclaim. Their fourth album, Fantasies, was the first to chart worldwide, thanks in large part to its lead single. “Help I’m Alive” is a shout into the void, a call for companionship in a sleepwalking world. It thunders, it lurches, and it beats--like a hammer.

 

25. Belly, “Feed the Tree” (1993)

Belly - Feed The Tree (Video)

 

Tanya Donnelly was all over the first ever Hottest 100 way back in 1993. As the bassist for The Breeders, she landed in the top five with “Cannonball.” Much like Emily Haines, however, she stepped out in front of her own band; Belly, as they were called, put a hippie slant on the rock and roll music that she played as a Breeder. Exemplifying this was a song called “Feed the Tree.” Taken off their debut album Star, “Feed the Tree” used kooky and abstract lyrics beside sound that’s as sweet as marshmallows. The result: the number 25 spot in the original Hottest 100.

 

24. Cub Sport, “Come On Mess Me Up” (2016)

Cub Sport - Come On Mess Me Up (Official Video)

 

“Come On Mess Me Up” was a landmark moment in the career of Brisbane favorites, Cub Sport. Having started off their career playing a more traditional indie jangle-pop under the name Cub Scouts, the fourpiece underwent a great deal more than just a name change in the years leading up to the long-awaited release of their debut album, This Is Our Vice. Vast personal transformation underscored the release of the newly-branded Cub Sport’s first three albums in thirty-four months, but it’s “COMMU” that feels like the real coming out moment. It’s a song that says: this is who we are, this is Cub Sport. It’s a reckoning of sorts, and I “reckon” that it’s a pretty good one.

 

23. You Am I, “Berlin Chair” (1994)

You Am I - Berlin Chair

 

Few bands have woven as much into the rich tapestry of Australian music as You Am I have. Perhaps the premier Aussie alt-rockers of the 1990s, the Tim Rogers-led crew released a bevy of great albums--Sound as Ever and Hourly, Daily currently stand as my favorites. They scored fourteen songs in the first ten countdowns from 1993-2002, a phenomenal scoring rate of 1.4 songs per countdown. While we could sit and discuss You Am I’s legacy for hours, let’s just chalk “Berlin Chair” up for what it is: a masterful eulogy for a toxic relationship whose vivid lyrics like “the blankest face you’ve ever had to forgive” make it one of the best Aussie rock songs of all time.

 

22. Moby, “Porcelain” (2000)

Moby - Porcelain (Official Video)

 

American electronic music legend Moby landed three songs in the Hottest 100 off his pioneering fifth album Play. The best, “Porcelain,” does things that are so beautiful that no words I can use can do them justice. I can, however, relate a personal experience: once while wandering the foothillls of Italy while listening to “Porcelain” and staring at the sun peek out from behind the clouds, I realized something crucial about our world: that I don’t care who made it or how it got there, I’m just grateful that it did.

 

21. Gang of Youths, “Magnolia” (2015)

Gang of Youths - Magnolia

 

Gang of Youths may have tied a Hottest 100 record in 2017 with three songs in the top ten off their second album, Go Farther in Lightness. However, it’s the one song to make the countdown from their debut album The Positions that takes the “position” of number 21. Gang of Youths would not be one of the best bands in the world were it not for the unflinching vulnerability of singer Dave Le’aupepe, and it’s “Magnolia”--which details Le’aupepe’s suicide attempt of June 3rd, 2014--that does that the best. He welcomes you in with an outstretched hand, beckoning you to join him in his pain, his catharsis, his healing. A lot of people are only around today because not only did Dave make it through that night, he channeled it into a piece of art that is, without exaggeration or hyperbole, lifesaving.

 

20. Washington, “Sunday Best” (2010)

Washington - Sunday Best (Official Video)

 

When we get to the end of the year and all the music publications are making their “best of the decade” lists, I sincerely hope they don’t forget about Megan Washington and her stunning 2010 debut album, I Believe You Liar. It’s infectious art pop that’s drenched in auteurism, because man oh man is Washington a heck of a songwriter. Case in point, this ditty. The album’s lead single has a refrain that’s not only catchy as anything, but thought-provoking: do you, do you, do you know what’s in my head when I’m below you? Really makes you wonder, doesn’t it.

 

19. Flight Facilities ft. Giselle, “Crave You” (2010)

Flight Facilities - Crave you feat. Giselle (Official Video)

 

When the 2010s are all said and done, 2016 might be the only year that Flight Facilities don’t have a song in the Hottest 100 this decade. The DJ duo that dresses like pilots are a bona fide international treasure at this point, and one of the big reasons why is this breakout single from 2010. Silky gold vocals over a tropical house beat? I’ll have what they’re having, thank you. Songs that just missed the cut at this number include “Animal” by Jebediah (1999), “Dry Your Eyes” by The Streets (2004), and “Heart It Races” by Architecture in Helsinki (2007).

 

18. Ball Park Music, “Exactly How You Are” (2017)

Ball Park Music - Exactly How You Are

 

As needed as Ball Park’s “It’s Nice to Be Alive” was in 2011, “Exactly How You Are” was just as needed in 2017. The first single from their fifth album Good Mood, it’s what every insecure, anxiety-ridden young person needs to hear: that they’re okay, and loved, as who they are. At number 18, it’s Ball Park’s highest charting song on the Hottest 100 to date.

 

17. The Prodigy, “Firestarter” (1996)

The Prodigy - Firestarter (Official Video)

 

The Prodigy are one of the wackiest, strangest, and best dance acts of all time, and having a Hottest of the Hottest countdown without them just wouldn’t feel right. They had two songs in the top 20 of 1996, “Breathe” (#7) and “Firestarter,” which is a must-have on any pump up playlist. Never has what basically amounts to an arson confession over a dance beat been so damn good.

 

16. Machine Gun Fellatio, “Unsent Letter” (2000)

MGF - Unsent Letter

 

Perhaps the most colorfully titled band on this list, MGF dominated the 2002 countdown with their album Paging Mr. Strike, but it’s this unheralded beauty from 2000’s Bring It On! that beats out some stiff competition for the number 16 slot, including my favorite song from middle school. It plods along, slowly but surely, brimming with emotion yet somehow masterfully restrained, giving us one-line gems like “I don’t know if I lied when I said we’re not together.” Of all the songs that deserve a second visit, this is near the top.

 

15. The Living End, “Prisoner of Society” (1997)

The Living End - Prisoner Of Society (Video)

 

You’d expect The Living End to show up somewhere on this list, considering how they hold the record for appearing in the most consecutive countdowns--an astounding ten from 1997-2006. And it’s one from that first year that takes our number 15 spot: arguably their most famous song, “Prisoner of Society” is everything that the Melbourne punk rockers are all about. Frenetic guitar alongside an angsty anti-establishment diatribe, it ticks all the boxes that you’d want a ’90s punk anthem to tick.

 

14. The Superjesus, “Down Again” (1997)

Down Again - The Superjesus

 

Sorry, Violent Soho fans: while “Covered in Chrome” (2013) came close, it’s an Adelaide band that lands this one. The Superjesus were a behemoth of Aussie alt-rock in the late 1990s, a status that was cemented by “Down Again.” The first single from their first album Sumo, it’s a timeless track that shows off Sarah McLeod’s songwriting, vocal AND guitar chops. Their 2003 breakup stopped their momentum before they could make it big worldwide, but I’m confident that had they the opportunity, they could have rivaled the Foo Fighters. Bright side: they’ve been active again since 2013, restoring hope that maybe this American kid can see them live one day.

 

13. Florence + The Machine, “Shake It Out” (2011)

Florence + The Machine - Shake It Out

 

This one was diffcult on the surface. We have multiple songs at number 13 that could have been number one in their respective years, like “Mr. Brightside” (2004) and “Welcome to the Black Parade” (2006). And then you have this one. Was there really any way that someone could beat Florence here? No, she had to take this one. This song is religious redemption rolled into one four and a half minute piece of music: hallelujah choirs, ritual drums, and an exorcism through dance--all at the pulpit of Pastor Florence? I couldn’t possibly think of a better way to get the devil off my back.

 

12. Underworld, “Born Slippy.NUXX” (1996)

Underworld - Born Slippy (Nuxx)

 

Put a gun to my head and ask me to tell you the name of the greatest techno song of all time, and I’ll immediately blurt out the name of this one. While you’ve really got to listen to the full 9:45 version to get the full effect, even a taste of this Underworld masterpiece is a little slice of heaven. You haven’t lived until you’ve listened to “Born Slippy” as the sun comes up after a long night out, I’ll tell you that much. The song, of course, is most famous for being used in the final scene of the film Trainspotting. Even if you haven’t seen it, though, you can still fall in love with this song’s trance-inducing repetitive intensity.

 

11. Modest Mouse, “Float On” (2004)

Modest Mouse - Float On (Video)

 

Good News For People Who Love Bad News was a landmark album for Modest Mouse. It launched the U.S. college rock mainstays into the mainstream in their home country and abroad, and it gave the world one of the best rock singles of the 2000s in “Float On.” Even if you don’t know Modest Mouse, you know the song--that’s how pervasive it is. But while that word often carries a negative connotation, when it comes to Modest Mouse, it’s nothing but positive pervasiveness.

 

10. London Grammar, “Strong” (2013)

London Grammar - Strong [Official Video]

 

I still maintain that this song should have won the Hottest 100 of 2013, because it was the best song of 2013. And not only is it the best song of 2013, it’s the best song of the 2010s so far, and with one year to go, it’s gonna be hard to beat. Hannah Reid’s voice is so singularly powerful that you almost don’t notice the sparseness of the instrumentation. These two together make what I can only describe as sonic perfection. Guys: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I really, really love this song.

 

9. Hilltop Hoods, “The Nosebleed Section” (2003)

The Nosebleed Section

 

If “Northern Touch” by Rascalz is the “Stairway to Heaven” of late ’90s Canadian hip-hop, then “The Nosebleed Section” is the Stairway of Aussie hip-hop. Every once in a while, a song will come around that serves as a benchmark for an entire generation of a genre, and for a now-burgeoning Aussie hip-hop scene, this song is that. One perfectly used Melanie sample from the 1970s spawned a revolution, all thanks to the Hoods.

 

8. Gotye, “Hearts a Mess” (2006)

Gotye - Hearts A Mess - official video

 

Five years before he won the Hottest 100 and received international acclaim for his breakout hit “Somebody That I Used to Know,” the Belgian-born, Melbourne-bred Wally De Backer--AKA Gotye--released his second album, Like Drawing Blood. On it was this fantastically bizarre, vaguely vaudevillian, unique track whose harp-and-organ combination toes the line between endearing and really creepy. While that sets up the appeal, it’s Gotye’s vocals that bring it home. Every time I hear him hit the high note on the line “desperate to connect“, I think to myself: damn, that’s impressive. You go, Gotye.

 

7. Jebediah, “Harpoon” (1998)

Jebediah - Harpoon [1080p]

 

The Kevin Mitchell-led rock band from Perth known as Jebediah were Hottest 100 mainstays in the late ’90s, and of all their hits, it’s “Harpoon” that makes it onto our list. The song toes the line between happy and sad so well, drifting between ballad and power-chord rock anthem. It stands the test of time better than a lot of its contemporaries; my one complaint is that it isn’t as common in karaoke songbooks outside of Australia as it should be.

 

6. Regurgitator, “! (The Song Formerly Known As)” (1998)

Regurgitator - ! (The Song Formerly Known As)

 

Regurgitator had fifteen songs in the Hottest 100 between 1995 and 2004, and while all of them range from good to fantastic, only one breached the top ten. That was 1998’s “! (The Song Formerly Known As),” a synthful dance anthem that marked the shift between the band’s straightforward rock and roll sound to the dancier elements seen throughout their landmark album Unit. Allow me to geek out for a second, if you will: how good a songwriter is Quan Yeomans? Not only did he pen all these hits for Regurgitator, he was also responsible for Happyland’s entire discography, alongside Spiderbait’s Janet English: go listen to all of Unit, and then throw on “Don’t You Know Who I Am” when you’re done. Are you not impressed?! I am.

 

5. Bluejuice, “Broken Leg” (2009)

Bluejuice - Broken Leg

 

Bluejuice released four albums between 2007 and 2014, and in that span, established themselves as one of Australia’s favorite bands. Now five years on from their breakup, legions of devoted fans are sitting and waiting and hoping for a reunion. What is there to do in the meantime? Well, you could listen to this belter. “Broken Leg” is not only Bluejuice’s highest charting single in the Hottest 100, it’s also got one of the best music videos there is. I mean, what’s more exciting than a jump rope competition? There’s a reason that Jump In was a success, and it wasn’t Corbin Bleu’s acting skills.

 

4. The Verve, “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (1997)

The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony (Official Video)

 

Name a more iconic violin riff--I’ll wait. No, but seriously: The Verve’s Urban Hymns was as much of a Britpop masterpiece as Pulp’s Different Class was, and as Pulp had “Common People,” so The Verve had “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” There’s many reasons why this song is so entrenched into the fabric of Western music culture, but the most important one is that it deserves to be. Then again, the person writing this may or may not have taken a pilgrimage to that very same London intersection to re-enact Richard Ashcroft walking down Hoxton Street in the song’s music video…do with that information what you wish.

 

3. The Cranberries, “Linger” (1993)

The Cranberries - Linger (Official Music Video)

 

Twenty five years on and we haven’t found a better number three than the first one. Frankly, I don’t think we ever will. It was a year ago around this time that Dolores O’Riordan left us, and there’s not a day goes by that I’m not thankful we got to hear her voice. The Cranberries were the first female fronted band to win the Hottest 100 in 1994 with “Zombie,” but it’s “Linger,” coming in at #3 the year before, that I keep coming back to in moments of uncertainty. There’s something about her vocals in harmony with the rest of the band that’s so calm, so reassuring, so delightfully Irish…it’s a song to cherish.

 

2. Smashing Pumpkins, “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” (1995)

The Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet with Butterfly Wings

 

So Siamese Dream launched the Pumpkins to stardom in 1993. But it was two years later--October 24th, to be exact--that they released their masterpiece. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, a winding, two-hour, 28-track double album whose two discs represent the cycle of day and night, is my favorite album of all time. So it’s no wonder that of all the number twos that have come and gone in these past 25 years, I picked the song that, since the time I first heard it at age 13, has been consistently there to remind me who I am and what I love. I will forever maintain that there is no better opening to a song in history than “The world is a vampire…” You can change my mind on a lot of things, but not that. I won’t do that.

 

1. Powderfinger, “My Happiness” (2000)

Powderfinger - My Happiness

 

Powderfinger are, simply put, the kings of the Hottest 100. They’ve charted an unbelievable 22 TIMES, and are the only act to win multiple times, taking it out in back to back years: 1999 with “These Days,” and 2000, with this bad boy. It’s a feeling that many of us are viscerally familiar with--the first glimmers of hope after a long period of darkness. The unspeakable beauty of, after oceans of sadness, the first of the bright waves start to crest: that our happiness is, slowly, creeping back. Perfectly timed for the turn of the millennium, it’s a song about a fresh start, of hope starting anew, of the possibility that anyone, no matter who you are or what you’ve done, is capable of absolution. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

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