Australian Vance Joy's ukuele-driven love song Riptide has topped Triple J’s annual Hottest 100 countdown of listeners’ favourite songs from 2013, touted as “the world’s biggest musical democracy” and almost certainly the biggest Australian radio event of the year.
Joy, whose real name is James Keogh, beat teen Kiwi megastar Lorde (who is up for several Grammy Awards tomorrow Australian time) to the top spot by the relatively narrow margin of 1000 votes with his debut single.
Riptide peaked at number seven on the ARIA charts in April last year but went on to achieve triple platinum status, which is more than 210,000 sales.
Triple J's Music Director Richard Kingsmill said Joy's win was a first in two respects: "We've never had a winning song from an artist who is so new that they've not even had an album to their name yet. It's also the first ... to have been written on a ukulele." Joy also had a second song in the top 100, Play With Fire, which scraped into the top 100.
The last Australian artist to top the countdown was Gotye in 2011, with Somebody That I Used To Know, which went on to become one of the world’s biggest pop songs of 2012.
Royals finished runner-up, ahead of Daft Punk's Get Lucky. The Arctic Monkeys (Do I Wanna Know) and Flume's collaboration with Chet Faker (Drop The Game) rounded out the top five.
By a quirk of the station’s voting system, Get Lucky featured twice. Fremantle band San Cisco’s cover of the song, recorded in the station’s popular Like A Version sessions, also made the countdown, came in at number 33.
Triple J says 173,658 people voted from 169 countries. The station estimated 5700 “listening parties” were held to follow the countdown, which has become an Australia Day ritual for those under-30s with musical interests beyond global pop.
The station’s unashamed position of promoting Australian artists and playlisting new music was reflected in the good results for Australian musicians in the top 100. A remarkable 44 per cent of the songs in the countdown were by Australian artists and 42 per cent were by performers who’d never had a song in a previous Hottest 100.
The most played song across all Australian commercial radio in 2013, Lanterns, by Birds of Tokyo, only came in at number 22 proving there remains a huge difference between mainstream radio and the national youth network.
Matt Corby underlined his status as a favourite of Triple J listeners with his second top 10 entry: he reached number 7 with Resolution, which also earned the former reality TV contestant the Song of the Year award at the ARIA Awards in November.
There were several major talking points prior to this year’s Triple J countdown: most discussed was whether the statisticians behind www.warmest100.com.au would again spoil the party and predict the major places and whether a female artist could reach number one for the first time in the countdown’s 21 year history.
In the end, the Warmest 100, whose organisers admitted they were restricted to a sample size around half as big as last year after Triple J withdrew an automatic option to post voters’ top 10s to social media, enjoyed only mixed success, picking just 9 of the top 20 - although to be fair it did pick the winner. In 2013 the Warmest 100 correctly picked the top 10, including five songs in the right order.
While Lorde couldn't give the countdown its first female winner, Triple J voters opted for a much healthier female representation than last June's Hottest 100 of the past 20 years, when only nine female-focused acts (either female solo artists or bands fronted by women) made the top 100. Sunday's countdown featured 20 songs by 11 female-focused acts, seven of those in the top 20.
TRIPLE J HOTTEST 100
Top 20 places (Warmest 100 estimate in brackets)
1- Riptide, Vance Joy (1)
2- Royals, Lorde (8)
3- Get Lucky, Daft Punk (15)
4- Do I Wanna Know, Arctic Monkeys (2)
5- Drop The Game, Flume & Chet Faker (3)
6- Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High? Arctic Monkeys (4)
7-Young and Beautiful, Lana Del Rey (24)
8- Resolution, Matt Corby (12)
9- Is This How You Feel, The Preatures (6)
10- Strong, London Grammar (10)
11- The Wire, Haim (22)
12- Tennis Court, Lorde (29)
13- Retrograde, James Blake (7)
14- Covered in Chrome, Violent Soho (5)
15- Team, Lorde (27)
16- Reflektor, Arcade Fire (30)
17- Lose Yourself to Dance, Daft Punk (45)
18- Arabella, Arctic Monkeys (18)
19- Given The Chance, The Kite String Tangle (11)
20- Black Skinhead, Kanye West (14)