In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, the internet has gone into a virtual meltdown after BuzzFeed started a campaign to have Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ be included in Triple J’s Hottest 100, despite it not receiving any airtime from the alternative music station in 2014.
Since then, thousands upon thousands have begun voting for Swift’s pop hit, the hashtag #Tay4Hottest100 being seen across the globe sparking a wildfire of controversy and fear that the track could in fact win the Hottest 100. Triple J have remained fairly tight-lipped on the matter, speaking with Tone Deaf last week they stated “we don’t comment on voting campaigns whilst Hottest 100 voting is open. It draws attention to them and may influence the results of the poll.”
With the countdown taking place on Monday 26th January, Australia Day, there is still plenty of discussion as to whether or not ‘Shake It Off’ could be in the running for the #1 position in “the world’s greatest music democracy” and of this discussion, a particularly misinformed article has surfaced from The Guardian which accuses Triple J of “cultural snobbery” and being “sexist” for their exclusion of Taylor Swift in the voting shortlist.
Claiming that there is now a “black cloud” hanging over the countdown, The Guardian have chastised Triple J for their apparent lack of women, writing, “Let me tell you who hasn’t won the Hottest 100 in the quarter-century it’s been run – a woman, despite female artists and consumers dominating the popular music market…Swift, Beyonce and their ilk were as deserving of critical attention as any number of white men with guitars.”
What’s ridiculous about this statement is that ‘Shake It Off’ was co-written with Max Martin and Shellback, two Swedish men responsible for #1 hits by the likes of Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Maroon 5, so sorry, but if ‘Shake It Off’ was to win the Hottest 100, there are still two white men with guitars that make take credit.
It’s interesting that The Guardian didn’t instead focus on shortlisted frontrunners FKA-twigs or The Preatures, one a female solo artist from the UK who released one of the most forward-thinking records 2014, the latter an Aussie indie-pop band lead by magnetic frontwoman Isabella Manfredi who have dominated airwaves for the majority of the year with huge hits such as ‘Somebody’s Talking’.
In addition to this, The Guardian take a low stab against the entire Triple J community for it’s “cultural snobbery”, stating, “by holding itself apart from (or, let’s be honest, above) the mainstream, Triple J has made itself a target. It’s simple reverse psychology: if ‘Shake It Off’ had been included in the initial list of 100, it would have garnered a few votes from the more conscientious of Swift’s online fanbase before disappearing in the wake of some indie record that’s much cooler than hers” giving raise to the idea that both Triple J and its listeners wield some sort of sense of higher entitlement over say top 40 fans.
Whilst The Guardian is not wrong in highlighting the lack of female artists in Triple J’s Hottest 100, perhaps their criticisms would be better placed on the myriad of commercial radio stations that do not give any airtime to the endless list of talented female Aussie musicians instead of using one of the world’s biggest popstars as a weapon to shoot down Australia’s leading alternative radio station for promoting exactly that, alternative music.