If you thought last year’s postal survey split opinions, wait until the voting heats up in this year’s Hottest 100. The annual online poll run by radio station Triple J once again looks set to divide friendship circles as mates argue over what should be this year’s top song and whether an Aussie artist will take out the gong for the fifth year running. With about 2.5m votes expected to be cast, we take a look at the top contenders as well as some select outsiders to see who will follow last year’s winner, Flume, into the record books. And don’t forget, if you’re planning on tuning in to the countdown, the songs will be heard on Saturday, 27 January (not Jan 26).
Sydney indie band Gang of Youths has perhaps the best chance of taking out the top prize for the local contingent. With two realistic chances in The Deepest Sighs and Let Me Down Easy, the five-piece outfit is shooting for a place inside the Hottest 100 for a third consecutive year. With a loyal following on Triple J and plenty of live local performances to support their consistent airplay, it wouldn’t surprise if they were to finish with two songs inside the Top 5.
Overcoming the outright favourite, Kendrick Lamar, could prove a challenge too great however, with the American rapper into $1.65 to win the title with his critically acclaimed hit HUMBLE. Generating over 420m views on YouTube, the track reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at #2 in Australia. Although a hip-hop/rap song has only once been declared the winner, recent trends in Hottest 100 voting indicate a greater shift toward the music style with at least one song from the genre polling inside the Top 5 across the last three years. In fact, Kendrick Lamar finished 2nd in 2015 with his track King Kunta.
Kiwi songstress Lorde is another who could take the crown given the surging popularity of her song Green Light. Taken from her second album Melodrama, the track reached #4 in Australia, #1 in NZ, and a Top 20 position in the US. Importantly, the track also received a glowing reception from the critics and was given ample airtime on Triple J (Lorde was recently announced as the most played artist on the station in 2017).
Despite double digit odds Perth group Methyl Ethel are certainly worth considering given their catchy pop number Ubu. Produced by James Ford (who has previously tasted success in this poll with the Arctic Monkeys and Last of the Shadow Puppets amongst others), the track has garnered a big cult following and enjoyed positive reviews from music bible NME.
Khalid is another who could get the win given the immense popularity of Young, Dumb & Broke. Perhaps more a success on commercial stations than Triple J, the song nonetheless gained plenty of airplay on the station and is certainly in with a shout at $12.
Another group that may surprise is The Smith Street Band. With a huge cult following on Triple J, backed up with plenty of live performances across the country, the Melbourne rock band are no strangers to the annual countdown and have had songs finish in the Top 100 in 2014 and 2016. Their track Birthdays may be worth backing to reach the final five or ten.
HUMBLE - Kendrick Lamar
Let Me Down Easy – Gang of Youths (Outright winner)
Birthdays – The Smith Street Band (Song to finish Top 5)
Electric Feel (Like a Version cover) – Tash Sultana (Song to finish Top 10)
Sally – Thundamentals (Song to finish Top 10)