Summer in Australia means many things: holidays, the unbearable overplaying of Christmas carols, and reminiscing over music of the year to vote in triple j’s Hottest 100.
Sitting in the lounge room, my housemates and I started our shortlists immediately after voting opened. And let me just say, choosing only ten of our favourite songs from this year was harder than deciding which hangover meal to get Deliveroo’d to our house on a Friday morning.
Their votes were pretty solid, and basically the soundtrack of our household over the past year: a lot of Methyl Ethyl, Gang of Youths, and Angus and Julia Stone.
My prediction is these artists will all top really high in this year’s countdown. Methyl Ethyl’s “Ubu” has been the anthem of every drinking event I’ve been to in 2017, and Gang of Youths album Go Farther In Lightness picked up four ARIAs out of their seven nominations this year, including Album of the Year.
There’s been some amazing albums released this year, like Lorde’s Melodrama which got a Lizzie-certified 4.5/5 at its release. But the soundtrack of my entire year has to be Alex Lahey’s I Love You Like a Brother. Two minutes in to selecting a shortlist, I already had ten songs, and they were all between these two records.
Despite being so proud that these girls absolutely killed it this year, I had to kill my darlings and promise to only pick one track per artist. But I was determined get the girls to the front and select an all-female lineup, which, to an odd satisfaction, was harder than I thought.
1. Alex Lahey – “Awkward Exchange”
Alex Lahey’s debut album makes me feel all the things I didn’t know I could feel, and I’m angry and confused that I didn’t write it myself. A whole album about being ready to jump into love with someone who is ready to jump right back out? Sounds uncomfortably familiar.
I’m sure the upbeat anthems “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself”, “Everyday’s the Weekend” and “Lotto in Reverse” are all gonna place this year, so I went with her lesser-known, equally as relatable and upbeat tune “Awkward Exchange”. It’s basically about seeing your ex for the first time while you’re still in the middle of getting over them. I’ll let Alex articulate a bit better:
2. Alex The Astronaut – “If I Could Start Today Again” (Like A Version)
It’s no secret that Alex the Astronaut is one of the best songwriters to grace our ears this year, singing about coming out to her friends and ‘billionaires for president, and parking fines at hospitals.’
But the song that got my vote was her raw cover of Paul Kelly’s tear-jerker “If I Could Start Today Again”. Recorded for triple j’s Like a Version in August, Alex did this song such justice, her soft voice and simple guitar chords capturing the pure emotion that Paul aimed for when he wrote the song in 2010.
3. Lorde – “Green Light”
I’m sure everyone in my
household hates this song because of me. In the shower, in the car, getting ready to go out or for work at 6 a.m., “Green Light” was blaring through my speakers 24/7 this year.
How a song can be so uplifting while singing about what I can only assume is man-trash shocks me every time I belt it out. Despite the single getting some negative critical reviews because of its non-Lorde sound, it’s seen a lot of commercial success. And while some would argue it has been overplayed (I’m sorry, dear housemates) my bet is it will make top three.
4. Meg Mac – “Let It Happen” (Like a Version)
Even though it was a little late in the game (she recorded it on November 2) Meg Mac’s cover of the trancey Tame Impala single is hands-down the best cover of any song I’ve ever heard.
Don’t get me wrong: I love Kevin Parker as much as the next white-girl Arts student in her twenties, but the husky female voices and harmonies between Meg Mac and her sister make this version into something completely new and mesmerising.
5. Charli XCX – “Boys”
Summary of my year: I was busy thinkin’ bout boys.
6. E^ST – “Life Goes On”
This song is a roller coaster from start to finish. The verses make me sad and nostalgic about past relationships that probably weren’t that important to the other person. Then the chorus drops and I want to run a marathon and text my exes to tell them they ain’t shit.
So if you’re in a post-relationship lull that you feel you’ll never escape, do yourself a favour and listen to this track. You too will realise that life does, in fact, go on.
7. Tove Styrke – “Mistakes”
This Swedish songstress got a whole lot of airplay with her single “Say My Name” which dropped back in May. But her song “Mistakes” won the toss-up between the two.
The perfect balance between catchy and relatable, this song has perked me up every morning at work before the sun is up. The subject of the song is being with someone you know is bad for you with the hook ‘You make me wanna make mistakes, bend my heart until it breaks.’ I guess it’s both a physical and an emotional wake up.
8. Heaps Good Friends – “Olympic Sneakers”
This Adelaide duo is a breath of fresh air for the Australian music industry. The best way I can describe their sound is if San Cisco and The Jungle Giants drank a butt-load of energy drink and then threw up their thoughts on the page, but with a female voice.
“Olympic Sneakers” is the perfect party song, dancing song or running song (if you’re into that kind of thing.) The lyrics, despite sounding like stream-of-consciousness, speak to me on a different level. The first time I heard this song was in the car on the way home from work, and I kid
you not: hearing the words ‘I know we’re not together, but I want to break up’ for the second time in a week (but only once in song form) had me shook.
9. Jack River – “Fool’s Gold”
I was drawn in from the very first line of this catchy little tune: ‘You don’t like roller coasters, how could you ever love a girl like me?’ Bruh. How do people even think of this stuff?
It’s the kind of song that will make any road-trip 10/10, once you finally figure out the words.
10. Billie Eilish – “watch”
You wouldn’t think that this American is only fifteen years old. Her incredibly unique voice sounds much more mature than her years, and drawing inspiration from indie pop princesses like Lana Del Rey, her songs are equal parts poetic and spooky.
Her hit single “Bellyache” proved how creative her songwriting was, adopting the persona of a sadistic psychopath who’s murdered all her friends.
“watch” doesn’t fall far from the creepy-lack-of-compassion tree, singing about burning a car ‘with the fire that you started in me.’ Something about Billie’s voice and her eerie yet profound language meant that this song was the icing on the cake on this list of amazing female artists.
So if you haven’t already: make your shortlist and get January 27 off work. It’s time to surround yourself with good people, soak in the sun and listen to the music that made this year a great one.