Well, we made it. We’re at the end of the year, so now it’s time to look back on some of the memorable tunes that made up our 2017.
We’ve already taken a look back at some of the albums that made 2017 great, and we’ve looked at some of the artists that really blossomed this year, so now we’re going to take a look at some of that poetry which turned your favourite song from a ripping instrumental jam into a tune you can scream out from the front row of a gig.
Gang Of Youths – ‘Let Me Down Easy’
“If it’s late, you’re drunk and wanting a reason, some reason to live/I always, I always say, just put on some Whitesnake”
Gang Of Youths have seen a bloody huge year, with a phenomenal second record hitting the top of the ARIA charts, and countless sold-out shows around the world. However, at the heart of it all, the Gang Of Youths blokes are simple folks who like simple things, such as throwing on a bit of Whitesnake when things get tough.
As frontman David Le’aupepe once explained, “If you’re ever drunk, up late and looking for a reason to keep on living I always say throw on some Whitesnake. I fucking love Whitesnake. I fucking love David Coverdale.”
Ruby Fields – ‘P Plates’
“‘Cause you know that I’m just a bird with picky taste/Who has taken a liking to your face/And if it don’t work out then we can still be best mates”
Ruby Fields has easily become on of 2017’s breakout stars. With a casual approach to her songwriting and performing, Fields has become one of the most relatable musos in Australia right now. With tracks like ‘P Plates’ capturing the very essence of budding relationships (and the frustration of being on P plates), there’s a distinct element of honesty and hopefulness at play here.
‘P Plates’ shows that Ruby Fields certainly knows her way around a chorus, and she knows exactly how to speak exactly into the heart of every one of her listeners.
Bad//Dreems – ‘Gutful’
“I’ve had a gutful of your speed and coke/I’ve had a gutful of your racist jokes/I’ve had a gutful of Australia Day/I’ve had a gutful of the USA”
Following the release of last year’s ‘Mob Rule’, which was described as a “bleak yet vivid dissection of Australia’s cultural decay,” Adelaide’s Bad//Dreems have followed up with an album full of songs such as ‘Gutful’, which outlines the frustrations of Aussie culture felt by the band’s members.
Considering now that lyrics such as “I’ve had a gutful of Australia Day” have become ever-so relevant, maybe we’ll be seeing this song score a well-deserved place in this year’s Hottest 100, which has now moved from Australia Day on January 26th, to the fourth weekend in January.
Jen Cloher – ‘Forgot Myself’
“Oh God, I forgot myself/Oh God, I forgot my health/I seen it coming but it’s too late now/Oh God, oh God, I forgot myself”
Jen Cloher’s self-titled album was arguably one of the greatest rock albums of the year, and showed the phenomenal muso crafting some of the most precise and introspective songs of the year. With a tendency to evoke a multitude of differing emotions with just a quick turn of phrase, Jen Cloher’s lyrics are easily some of the greatest recorded by Aussie musos this year. We’re hardly done spinning Cloher’s new record and we’re already keen for a follow-up.
Baker Boy – ‘Marryuna’
“I’m proud black Yolngu boy with the killer flow/Listen to the yidaki listen to it blow”
Danzel Baker, better known to most as Baker Boy, has been spending the majority of 2017 cementing himself as one of the most exciting figures in the world of Aussie music. Hailing from Milingimbi in North East Arnhem Land, Baker Boy has described himself as the first Indigenous musician to rap in the Yolngu language. Having taken audiences by storm, and performing a phenomenal set at BIGSOUND, Baker Boy is on his way to becoming one of the biggest Indigenous Australian musicians ever.
The Smith Street Band – ‘Birthdays’
“We are more than future housewives/More than the sum of our past lives/Two lovers in basically matching shirts/Jaywalk together across petrified earth”
Returning with the brilliant More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me, Wil Wagner and co. delivered an album full of highly introspective bangers that capture just how everyone feels about life’s challenges. With ‘Birthdays’ focusing on the anxiety many face in new relationships, Wagner’s lyrics articulate just how important even the smallest things can be. It might be neurotic to some, but to others, it’s a cathartic anthem about overthinking in the face of blossoming romance.
Skegss – ‘Got On My Skateboard’
“I guess I’m not getting any younger/Life flashes by just while we wonder/I guess I’m not getting any younger, younger/Young once then you’re old forever”
One of Sydney’s most fun-loving and irreverent pack of musos, Skegss have created a rather nostalgic tune with ‘Got On My Skateboard’, which manages to feature some of the most wise lyrics they’ve ever crafted. A perfect tune to soundtrack your summer, whilst still reminding you to make the most of these youthful summer days while you can, because they won’t last forever.
Dune Rats – ‘6 Pack’
“My brother bought us a six pack/Bad smokes and a cask of we don’t care/My brother bought us a six pack to share”
While we certainly don’t condone underage drinking (nor do we condone spending a fifty on a single box of cask wine), Dune Rats’ ‘6 Pack’ invokes images of the simple, sneaky joy of using your connections to stock yourself up for a party before you’re quite allowed to. Short, fun, and full of life, Dune Rats do what they do best, and give their listeners fond (or maybe not so fond) memories of their past or present teenage years.
Camp Cope – ‘The Opener’
“It’s another man telling us we can’t fill up the room/It’s another man telling us to book a smaller venue/‘Nah, hey, c’mon girls we’re only thinking about you’/Well, see how far we’ve come not listening to you/’Yeah, just get a female opener, that’ll fill the quota'”
Female representation in the music scene is a topic of utmost importance which has finally been seeing the widespread attention that it needs within the last couple of years, but sadly, there’s still so much work to be done.
Songs such as Came Cope’s ‘The Opener’ have managed to shine a much-needed spotlight on the attitudes of sexist concert promoters who choose to relegate female acts to the smaller stages, or to the status of the opening band just for the sake of filling a gender-specific quota. Here’s hoping this is the wake-up call the Aussie music scene needs.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – ‘Rattlesnake’
“Rattlesnake, rattlesnake/Rattlesnake, rattles me”
Okay, bear with us here, because despite a distinct lack of traditional poetic quality within this simple repeated line, it’s managed to insert itself into the Aussie psyche so much in the last year that it’s almost become as famous as King Gizzard itself. Sure, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard might have had much better lyrics in their songs throughout the year, but nothing has had as much of a cultural impact as the simple word ‘rattlesnake’.
Big Shaq – ‘Man’s Not Hot’
“I tell her man’s not hot, I tell her man’s not hot/The girl told me, ‘Take off your jacket’/I said, “Babes, man’s not hot” (never hot)”
Alright, he’s not Australian, and he’s not what some might call a ‘serious’ musician, but damn it if Big Shaw doesn’t know how to make you enjoy what is effectively just a musical comedy routine. With some of the most thought-provoking lyrics you’ll hear all year, don’t forget that ‘Man’s Not Hot’ is still a bit of a dark horse in this year’s Hottest 100 countdown.