Party-friendly songs top polls


Kalgoorlie Miner - - OPINION - Cameron Myles

If you’re like me, you’ll reg­u­larly look around at our cur­rent world and try to draw par­al­lels with years gone by.

It doesn’t have to be a rig­or­ously aca­demic ex­er­cise, es­pe­cially when it’s em­ployed as a pro­cras­ti­na­tion tool in the hours far from any dead­line.

But just how of­ten we re­peat our­selves and how at times pre­dictable our cul­ture can be re­ally came to a point this week on Aus­tralia Day.

No, I’m not talk­ing about the re­gur­gi­tated push to cast off our Com­mon­wealth ties and stand alone as a re­pub­lic.

And while it’s an im­por­tant con­ver­sa­tion that must be tack­led at some point in our fu­ture, I’m also not talk­ing about the mixed feel­ings to­wards the date of our na­tional cel­e­bra­tion and the idea to shift it to a more in­clu­sive and mean­ing­ful spot on the cal­en­dar.

As with many thought bub­bles in my life, this comes down to mu­sic and more specif­i­cally, how much we re­peat our­selves year-in, year-out while still man­ag­ing to com­plain about it all.

When The Rubens’ mel­low-rock ear­worm Hoops sounded through speak­ers across the na­tion as win­ner of Triple J’s Hottest 100, the first thought that crossed my mind was how we’d have to en­dure the track via pub juke­boxes and cover bands for all eternity. That’s not meant as a slight to The Rubens, by the way.

If there’s one ac­co­lade that re­ally looks good on a band’s re­sume then tak­ing out pole po­si­tion in a count­down dic­tated by young trend­set­ters across the coun­try must surely be it.

But the vic­tory’s de­trac­tors should note Nir­vana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit was No.1 in 1991, back when it was the Hottest 100 of All Time and be­fore Kanye West ru­ined the use of the phrase “of all time”.

How many peo­ple back then groaned and rolled their eyes as this shin­ing ex­am­ple of grunge was held up as one of the best songs ever recorded?

How many of those peo­ple now shout “clas­sic” when it comes on the ra­dio more than 20 years later? His­tory has shown the Hottest 100 holds among its ranks some of the most time­less songs put out since the late 1980s — and they all fol­low a rel­a­tively sim­ple rock-band setup, eas­ily em­u­lated and re­lent­lessly ac­ces­si­ble.

There’s Oa­sis’ Won­der­wall, which topped the charts in 1995, Pow­derfin­ger’s dou­ble-header of Th­ese Days and My Hap­pi­ness in 1999 and 2000 re­spec­tively, and in 2003, Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl re­ally just so­lid­i­fied the pres­ence of party-friendly rock‘n’roll at the top of the count­down.

Bernard Fan­ning in 2005, Augie March in 2006, Muse, Kings of Leon, Mum­ford and Sons, An­gus and Ju­lia Stone in the years that fol­lowed — all had songs that can be played both at any party known to man and on any acous­tic gui­tar known to man. Even Gotye, who up un­til 2011, had been just that bit too quirky for main­stream ac­cep­tance, man­aged to take out the top spot with the ab­surdly cover-able Some­body That I Used To Know. So what does this all mean? Are we re­signed to a fu­ture of easy-rock chart top­pers?

Is it some sub­con­scious na­tional de­sire we’ll never man­age to quell? Dare I say, is this our na­tional genre?

Don’t be too hasty to point to the few combo-break­ers ei­ther.

I’m sure more peo­ple now re­vile Mack­le­more’s Thrift Shop than re­joice in it.

Let’s also col­lec­tively for­get that time we voted in The Off­spring’s Pretty Fly (For A White Guy).

Per­haps over the years there’ll al­ways be some­thing ap­peal­ing about a fa­mil­iar and in­of­fen­sive catchy song that man­ages to find its way in­side your head and be­come the sound­track of the day.

Just re­mem­ber, how­ever, the next time you groan and roll your eyes about the win­ner of the Hottest 100, there’s a strong chance you’ll sing it with gusto at an im­promptu house party karaoke ses­sion 10 years later, and turn to your friends and re­mark on how good the song was back when it was re­leased. Cameron Myles is a sub-editor with West Aus­tralian Re­gional News­pa­pers.

Kurt Cobain of Nir­vana.

Sam Mar­gin, El­liott Mar­gin, Zaac Mar­gin, Scott Bald­win and Willy Zeglis are The Rubens.

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