We take a punt on this year's countdown.
2020 was a year gone and best forgotten, but also a year that brought in plenty of great new music. After the longest Covid lockdowns in the world for some parts of the country, this year’s countdown brings in its greatest excuse to celebrate with some mates and, as Dan Andrews would say, get on the beers.
So today we are picking our lists and locking in our predictions and theories for eleven songs that could, should and will rank in this year’s Triple J’s Hottest 100 – for better or worse.
Four Hot Contenders
Glass Animals – ‘Heat Waves’
Spacey Jane’s ‘Booster Seat’ may threaten to take the top spot, but the current number one pick for 2020’s countdown is ‘Heat Waves’, the smash hit from the UK based indie-electronic act Glass Animals.
The fourth single from the bands third studio album Dreamland, Heat Waves presents the groups signature brand of psychedelic pop with singer Dave Bayley’s soft vocal performance guiding the track.
Despite the song’s overall laid-back tone being reminiscent of their older hits such as ‘Season 2 Episode 3’ and ‘Youth’, which ranked at #98 and #38 in 2016’s Hottest 100, ‘Heat Waves’ is looking like a hot contender to take the top spot in 2020 – unless Spacey Jane have something to say about it…
Flume feat. Toro Y Moi – ‘The Difference’
Released in March 2020, ‘The Difference’ sees former Hottest 100 winner Flume link up with chillwave pioneer Toro Y Moi for a cut that looks like another lock for this year’s top ten.
Marking the duo’s first time working together, ‘The Difference’ is a perfect blend of Flume’s infectious and rhythmic electronic production, this time focusing on a fast drum and bass like tempo met with and Toro Y Moi’s melodic vocals.
This one’s looking to be another top ten berth for the Australian producer, a trend that doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
Tame Impala – ‘Lost in Yesterday’
After winning the Hottest 100 of the Decade with ‘The Less I Know The Better’, Tame Impala have been a top ten staple in the Hottest 100 over the past decade, and it’s looking like 2020 won’t be any different.
The fourth single released from the Australian psychedelic project’s fourth studio album The Slow Rush, ‘Lost in Yesterday’ features all the hallmarks of Kevin Parker’s productions, with a catchy chorus and a dreamy, washed-out soundscape of synths and guitars, all punctuated by a punchy bass line.
‘Lost in Yesterday’ is looking to start Tame Impala in the top ten spot this decade, and we wouldn’t put it past ‘Breathe Deeper’ and ‘Is It True?’ to get a good look in either.
G Flip – ‘Hyperfine’
Rounding out the list of likely picks is ‘Hyperfine’ by Melbourne musician, singer, songwriter, producer and drummer G Flip, which marked her first official release since her 2019 debut album About Us.
Dropping the single in May 2020, G Flip first performed ‘Hyperfine’ in one of Triple J’s last Like a Versions prior to the broadcaster putting the covers on hold during lockdown. ‘Hyperfine’ continues the trend for the promising young artist and looks to be top ten bound, with its excellent indie pop sound and production breaming with sonic and creative authenticity.
Four Dark Horses
Mac Miller – ‘Good News’
Released right at the beginning of the year, listeners could be forgiven for letting Mac Miller’s final album Circles fade from their memories of 2020 – after all, it was a big year.
Nonetheless, Circles was met with both universal praise and mournful tribute, serving as Mac Miller’s final project before his untimely passing in September 2018 and further showcasing the evolving sound that his 2018 release Swimming hinted at.
‘Good News’ is anthemic of Miller’s career, featuring soft and dreamy production against Miller’s reserved and sullen vocals, with the rapper offering an insight into his state of mind while recording the project. A bittersweet single that resonated with listeners all around the world, ‘Good News’ is a definite dark horse for this year’s countdown.
The Strokes – ‘Bad Decisions’
The second single from the band’s sixth studio album The New Abnormal – which also marked their first full-length since 2013’s Comedown Machine – ‘Bad Decisions’ was yet another single that was lost in the early stages of 2020’s hysteria.
The single served as a reminder for Strokes’ fans on why they fell in love with the band in the first place, marking a return to the band’s roots with a sound reminiscent of their iconic debut Is This It?. Don’t be surprised if nostalgia kicks ‘Bad Decisions’ further up the list than previously anticipated – you can never be too sure about anything these days.
Lime Cordiale – ‘Reality Check Please’
The fourth single from 14 Steps to a Better You and one of many songs likely to appear in this year’s countdown from the Sydney pop phenoms, Lime Cordiale’s ‘Reality Check Please’ is an outside leg to keep an eye on.
A personal pick on Australian Labor Leader leader Anthony Albanese’s list, the track encapsulates the bands pop rock tongue in cheek upbeat style. The only thing working against the songs favour and its position on the list though may be the overall success of the album and singles like ‘On Our Own’ and ‘Screw Loose’ pinching votes off one another.
Ocean Alley – ‘Tombstone’
Our last outside track to keep an eye out for is from Northern Beaches boys Ocean Alley with their single ‘Tombstone’. Heavy hitters of countdowns gone past, Ocean Alley boasted four songs in the 2018 countdown with ‘Happy Sad’ at #100, their Like A Version of Player’s ‘Baby Come Back’ at number 16, ‘Knees’ at #10 and ‘Confidence’ at #1.
With such a strong pull in votes in recent years, you can never count out these guys from making an appearance high up the list, and with a song this smooth, we’re expecting big things.
Three Potential Upsets
Mashd N Kutcher – ‘Get on the Beers (Ft. Dan Andrews)’
Starting off with the anthem for Melbourne’s first lockdown, ‘Get on the Beers’ is looking likely to make an entrance in this year’s countdown, with some even predicting a top 20 spot for the lockdown anthem.
The catchphrase now synonymous with Victorian premier Daniel Andrew’s response to COVID-19, DJ duo Mashd N Kutcher sampled vocal snippets from a press conference of the premier pleading Melburnians to not “get on the beers” with mates in their homes.
Remixing the snippets over a Melbourne club beat, the remix turned the phrase into a now household expression in Victoria and a slogan that encapsulated the irreverent optimism a lot of Melbournians had to adopt during the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world.
Needless to say, if this one ranks high, we might have to reach for something a little more top shelf…
100 Gecs – ‘hand crushed by a mallet (Remix) Feat. Fall Out Boy, Craig Owens, Nicole Dollanger’
100 Gecs may possibly be the most contentious and polarising group on this list, however despite their divided opinion, it cannot be denied that ‘hand crushed by a mallet’ is a song that stood out in 2020.
‘hand crushed by a mallet’ showcases not just 100 Gecs’ signature chaotic pace, vocal distortion and glitchy genre splicing (most notably pop punk and electro punk), but the group’s range to produce creative and unique collaborative projects.
With a sound that seemingly emulates every major music genre from 2007 being thrown into a bender together, ‘hand crushed by a mallet’ is a guilty pleasure for all the right reasons.
WAP (Ft. Megan Thee Stallion) – Cardi B
The most probable in this category to rank in the top 20, ‘WAP’ by American rapper Cardi B is the most commercially successful song on this entire list.
Featuring vocals from Megan Thee Stallion, a raunchy hip hop beat with a heavy bass and plenty of explicit sexual innuendos, ‘WAP’ dominated the airwaves and the internet in 2020, being the most Googled lyrics of the year and receiving some major meme action along the way.
Being heralded for not just its virality and catchiness, but praised for its positive sexual confidence and message, ‘WAP’ spent weeks atop charts in 2020 and will no doubt poll in the top end of the Hottest 100 countdown.
Tune into the Triple J Hottest 100 for 2020 when it all kicks off at 12pm on Saturday January 24.