Every Hottest 100 Of The Decade Song Reviewed In Under 50 Words

"'Big Jet Plane': A nursery rhyme for adults."

Hottest 100 of the decade review photoHottest 100 of the decade review photo

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A decade is a long time in musical terms. The distance between now and Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’ is the same as that between Nirvana’s Nevermind and The Strokes debut album. Time expands then contracts.

Which is all to say an uncontrollable flood of music comes out over a ten year span, entire bands and movements begin and end, and the songs that stick out to you through this torrent are usually linked to a time of your life when everything seemed to radiate: first loves, true loves, lost loves — all that Wonder Years shit.

With that in mind, I have completely compressed an entire ten-year span of boundless musical expression, plus all your related memories and feelings, to a sentence or two about each of the songs that happened to be voted into the triple j Hottest 100 of the decade. Enjoy!

100. Bon Iver — ‘Holocene’ (2011)

Here’s some insider information. Triple j actually rigged the countdown to begin with this song, in order to lure in people who happen to be channel surfing around lunchtime on a Saturday, trying to find smoothfm or anything gentle, really.

99. Ruel — ‘Dazed & Confused’ (2018)

I love when people reappropriate classic song titles. I dare someone to steal the title ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. That would be the move.

98. Disclosure — ‘You & Me’ (2013)

Disclosure were a proper thing for a while, weren’t they?

97. Adele — ‘Rolling In The Deep’ (2010)

I still don’t know what rolling in the deep means. If I’m honest with myself, I suspect I never will.

96. Major Lazer — ‘Get Free’ (feat. Amber Coffman) (2012)

“Comin’ down, feelin’ like a battery hen” is a fantastic line.

95. Fisher — ‘Losing It’ (2018)

This was #2 in the 2018 Hottest 100, just a little over year ago, but real time and internet time are different things.

94. The Preatures — ‘Is This How You Feel?’ (2013)

This could have landed at number one and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid.

93. Flume — ‘Sleepless’ (2012)

Oh, hey Flume. Pull up a seat. Drink?

92. Kendrick Lamar — ‘M.A.A.D. City’ (2012)

I love it when rappers write their own superhero theme tune. I love it when boy bands do it, too.

91. Rex Orange County — ‘Loving Is Easy’ (2017)

This song sounds like when you drink Coke too quickly and the bubbles burn through your throat and it feels like drowning but you like it.

90. Childish Gambino — ‘This Is America’ (2018)

Possibly the most important song of the decade — but it still sounds an awful lot like he raps “underpants, underpants, underpants” at one point.

89. Two Door Cinema Club — ‘Undercover Martyn’ (2010)

Bloc Party spawned more children than Genghis Khan.

88. Glass Animals — ‘Gooey’ (2014)

This song sounds like a rainbow Paddle Pop slowly melting in the sun.

87: Matt Corby — ‘Resolution’ (2013)

In the long run, I think triple j benefitted more from Australian Idol than Channel Ten did.

86. The Wombats — ‘Greek Tragedy’ (2015)

…and now I’m imagining a bunch of cute marsupials dressed in togas and sandals, holding concrete tablets.

85. J. Cole — ‘No Role Modelz’ (2014)

You can tell he means it just by his flagrant use of the ‘z’.

84. Ruby Fields — ‘Dinosaurs’ (2018)

I keep expecting kids to stop loving dinosaurs, but nope, every kid loves dinosaurs.

83. Ruel — ‘Painkiller’ (2019)

The kids have come out in droves for Ruel. I like it.

82. Flume — ‘On Top’ (2012)

My favourite Flume songs are always the ones that sound like a tape is rewinding.

81. Cub Sport — ‘Come On Mess Me Up’ (2016)

I predict Lorde-level U.S domination by these guys in the next few years.

80. Kanye West — ‘Ultralight Beam’ (2016)

Will this be the only song featuring Reverend Kirk Franklin to make the chart? Stay tuned!

79. Mallrat — ‘Charlie’ (2019)

A tender ballad about fast-forwarding through the ‘Cheer Up, Charlie’ scene every time you watch the Willy Wonka movie.

78. San Cisco — ‘Awkward’ (2011)

This song makes me uncomfortable.

77. Kanye West — ‘Black Skinhead’ (2013)

Have you noticed that at least a dozen TV ads for utes and sports drinks and things involving energy have copied this song’s sound? So many soundalikes.

76. Travis Scott — ‘SICKO MODE’ (2018)

Look, this was the best way to sneak Drake onto the chart.

75. Calvin Harris — ‘Feel So Close’ (2011)

When are we going to admit that Calvin Harris belongs on smoothfm?

74. Robyn — ‘Dancing On My Own’ (2010)

Nobody gave a shit about this song for the longest time. Then Lena Dunham did.

73. Arctic Monkeys — ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ (2013)

I can’t think of anything worse than calling someone while high.

72. Kanye West — ‘Monster’ (feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver) (2010)

In which Jay-Z simply lists different types of monsters.

71. Billie Eilish — ‘bad guy’ (2019)

I’m pretty sure Billie Eilish is a serial killer.

70. Catfish and the Bottlemen — ‘7’ (2016)

Released in Germany under the title ‘sieben’.

69. Flume & Nick Murphy/Chet Faker — ‘Drop The Game’ (2013)

The rebranding of old Chet Faker songs as Nick Murphy songs is revisionist history goddammit, and I will not play any part in it.

68. Azealia Banks — ‘212’ (feat. Lazy Jay) (2012)

Until this clip came out, I didn’t realise my ‘thing’ was cute girls in Mickey Mouse jumpers repeating the word ‘cunt’.

67. Hilltop Hoods — ‘I Love It’ (feat. Sia) (2011)

I feel the Hoods leaned heavily on their Adelaide connection to convince Sia to be on this.

66. Tame Impala — ‘Elephant’ (2012)

If you wanna make friends at a party, sing ‘Woman’ by Wolfmother over this song.

65. Tame Impala — ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ (2012)

I love when votes cluster like this, and it’s clear that everyone voted for both Tame Impala songs except one person. Were you this one person? It’s okay if you were.

64. RÜFÜS DU SOL — ‘Innerbloom’ (What So Not Remix) (2015)

I have a great conspiracy theory about why this charted. Meet you back at #5.

63. Hermitude — ‘The Buzz’ (feat. Mataya & Young Tapz) (2015)

Just a great song. What do you mean by ‘that’s not a review’?

62. Frank Ocean — ‘Thinkin Bout You’ (2012)

Fact: Any album that opens with the Playstation startup sound is destined to be a classic.

61. Lorde — ‘Green Light’ (2017)

So much spite in such a joyous sounding song. It’s brilliant.

60. Kendrick Lamar — ‘Swimming Pools’ (Drank)

A sobering cautionary tale about imbibing pool water and getting a chlorine tummy ache.

59. Adrian Lux — ‘Teenage Crime’ (2010)

The coolest type of crime.

58. Sticky Fingers — ‘Gold Snafu’ (2014)

“We can broadcast them if the listeners vote them in. I mean, we have to, right?”

57. Kendrick Lamar — ‘HUMBLE.’ (2017)

You can’t tell people to be humble if your last album ended with a doctored conversation between you, and an old video of Tupac.

56. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis — ‘Thrift Shop’ (feat. Wanz) (2012)

I guarantee everybody that ended up voting for this song hadn’t thought about this song for years.

55. Skrillex — ‘Bangarang’ (feat. Sirah) (2011)

Here’s something I need you to mull over for a while: this song made the countdown because a large group of people are nostalgic for Skrillex.

54. Grouplove — ‘Tongue Tied’ (2011)

This song is part of a genre I refer to as Dawson’s Creek disco.

53. Sia — ‘Chandelier’ (2014)

Sia doesn’t want you to see her face, unless you buy one of her numerous albums that features her face on the cover.

52. Gang Of Youths — ‘The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows’ (2017)

I love how Springsteen these guys are.

51. Amy Shark — ‘Adore’ (2016)


50. Daft Punk — ‘Get Lucky’ (feat. Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers) (2013)

Remember when everyone went absolutely mental for this album, travelling to a remote country town to listen to it, slowly releasing it’s just a bunch of pretty decent songs that sound like Boney M and Donna Summer.

49. Tash Sultana — ‘Jungle’ (2016)

The first sign that you live in the future is that loop pedals sound quaint. Also, Alexa, Siri, etc.

48. Hermitude — ‘HyperParadise’ (Flume Remix)

If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is there to hear it, will Flume still remix it?

47. Mumford & Sons — ‘I Will Wait’ (2012)

Remember when people were way into bands who dressed like the gold rush era and played banjos and fiddles and shit? Same.

46. The Rubens — ‘Hoops’ (2015)

The only legal way Powderfinger could make this countdown.

45. The Black Keys — ‘Lonely Boy’ (2011)

Fun fact: The man who dances in this memorable video clip is named Derrick T. Tuggle. That somehow makes the clip even better.

44. Florence + The Machine — ‘Shake It Out’ (2011)

Prediction: This will be the final song that plays in your head if you ever accidentally ride a horse over a cliff.

43. Angus & Julia Stone — ‘Chateau’ (2017)

Angus Stone might have the secret to life worked out. Julia might too.

42. Arctic Monkeys — ‘R U Mine?’ (2012)

Imagining needing to ask such a searing personal question and yet not taking the time to write out the first two three-letter words? Also, I bet this was a 3am text.

41. DMA’s — ‘Believe’ (triple j Like A Version) (2016)

I love the vocals on this, yet I kinda wish he’d have done the Cher autotune thing but just with his mouth.

40. Disclosure — ‘Latch’ (feat. Sam Smith) (2012)

Kirk from Gilmore Girls and Sam Smith are the same person. I think.

39. Flight Facilities — ‘Crave You’ (feat. Giselle) (2010)

I think I would file a restraining order on anyone who said they ‘crave’ me.

38. Avicii — ‘Levels’ (2011)

Can’t really make an Avicii joke yet, can I?

37. Milky Chance — ‘Stolen Dance’ (2013)

On Saturday while listening to the countdown, my friends and I spent this entire song’s running time speculating on what the name ‘Milky Chance’ could possibly mean. I bring you no definitive answer.

36. The Hilltop Hoods — ‘1955’ (feat. Montaigne & Tom Thum) (2016)

Hilltop Hoods are in their 26th year. Really think about that.

35. Ocean Alley — ‘Confidence’ (2018)

There wasn’t as much recency bias in the chart as I expected.

34. Frank Ocean — ‘Lost’ (2012)

Listing off capital cities and/or countries in a song will guarantee its success. Try it!

33. Sticky Fingers — ‘Rum Rage’ (2014)

A documentary.

32. Peking Duk — ‘High’ (feat. Nicole Millar) (2014)

Is this the one about the stranger?

31. The Wombats — ‘Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)’ (2010)

Wolves must be pretty miffed that they are always lumped in with vampires and zombies and other supernatural creatures.

30. Of Monsters and Men — ‘Little Talks’ (2011)

“There are no little talks, only little conversationalists.” — Ancient proverb I just made up.

29. Lana Del Rey — ‘Video Games’ (2011)

Lana Del Rey is quietly the best, most prolific artist of the decade. Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

28. Childish Gambino — ‘Redbone’ (2016)

This song wants to fuck you.

27. Childish Gambino — ‘3005’ (2013)

Hey, Donald Glover released a surprise album today. Go listen to it.

26. Tame Impala — ‘Let It Happen’ (2015)

Emo music comes in many shapes and sizes.

25. Flight Facilities — ‘Clair De Lune’ (feat. Christine Hoberg) (2012)

Can’t believe they covered Debussy on Like A Version.

24. Kanye West and Jay-Z — ‘Ni**as in Paris’ (2011)

Remember when Gwyneth Paltrow posted a photo of Kayne and Jay-Z, in Paris, with this song title as a caption, and the internet went mental? That wasn’t a good move.

23. Kendrick Lamar — ‘King Kunta’ (2015)

I haven’t done the maths, but I bet Kendrick slipped the word ‘bitch’ into this countdown more than any other artist.

22. M83 — ‘Midnight City’ (2011)

This is what people in the 1980s thought the 2000s would sound like. They were off by a decade, but still, good guess.

21. DMA’s — ‘Delete’ (2014)

Fun fact: The ‘baby’ he refers to in this song is his saved game on Mario 64.

20. Hilltop Hoods — ‘Cosby Sweater’ (2014)

Coming soon, the new Hoods single, ‘Woody Allen Glasses’.

19. Gang Of Youths — ‘Let Me Down Easy’ (2017)

True solipsism is using the word ‘solipsism’ in a rock song and presuming it’s fine to do so.

18. Flume — ‘Holdin On’ (2012)

Here is your regularly scheduled Flume.

17. Ball Park Music — ‘It’s Nice To Be Alive’ (2011)

Good sentiment. No, really.

16. Lorde — ‘Royals’ (2013)

Meghan Markle used to sing along to this song, but it wouldn’t be appropriate now.

15. Sticky Fingers — ‘Australia Street’ (2013)

The best street in Newtown. The third best Stones album. Also: Gross.

14. Kanye West — ‘Runaway’ (feat. Pusha T) (2010)

Kanye started the decade with a kaleidoscopic, opulent masterpiece about fame and love and drugs and everything — and ended the decade by releasing a recording of a church service.

13. Vance Joy — ‘Riptide’ (2013)

Why isn’t there a K-mart surf brand named Riptide? There probably is, hey?

12. alt-J — ‘Breezeblocks’ (2012)

A polite British band named after a Mac keystroke shortcut is the most 2010s thing ever.

11. Chet Faker/Nick Murphy — ‘Talk Is Cheap’ (2014)

I’m simply not calling him Nick Murphy.

10. Matt Corby — ‘Brother’ (2011)

The ‘ooh-wah-oooh’ song, as drunken friends at music festivals refer to it as.

9. Angus & Julia Stone — ‘Big Jet Plane’ (2010)

A nursery rhyme for adults.

8. Flume — ‘Never Be Like You’ (2016)

Wait, Flume didn’t get number one? Do triple j know about this?

7. Foster The People — ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ (2010)

Should have been the soundtrack to the glorious rebirth of basketball shoes that pump up, but alas, it was a cruel decade.

6. Gang of Youths — ‘Magnolia’ (2014)

About the Tom Cruise evangelistic scene in the film of the same name.

5. RÜFÜS DU SOL — ‘Innerbloom’ (2015)

Conspiracy theory: All the people who voted in the What So Not remix at #64 accidentally did so, and split the votes, robbing this song of a possible #1 placing.

4. Violent Soho — ‘Covered In Chrome’ (2013)

Like ‘She Loves You’ by the Beatles and ‘Lithium’ by Nirvana, this is once again proof that the only word you need to make a memorable chorus is ‘yeah’.

3. Arctic Monkeys — ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ (2013)

Between this and Tame Impala, there is some serious sticking of heads in sand and blocking of ears while singing la la la loudly. Knowledge is power, lads. The truth will set you free. Or something.

2. Gotye — ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ (feat. Kimbra) (2011)

It was a loooong decade.

1. Tame Impala — ‘The Less I Know The Better’ (2015)

A song about when the tragedy of losing your partner to another guy is compounded by the fact that the other guy’s name is ‘Trevor’. And not just cos it kinda rhymes with better (but it kinda does).

Nathan Jolly was formerly the Editor of The Music Network, and tweets from @NathanJolly.