triple j will soon be counting down the Hottest 100 tracks of the year. Since the countdown’s yearly inception, we’ve so far seen thousands of songs voted into the annals of music history by dedicated fans of good tunes. Sadly though, not all the songs that made it into the countdown have stood the test of time.
While the history of the countdown has seen plenty of comedy and joke songs make the list, the passing of time has seen plenty of Hottest 100 fans look back over the songs from previous years, only to shake their heads wondering “What were they thinking,” as they looked at some of the tunes.
While there have been less and less duds as the years have gone by, we’ve decided to take a look back at the songs that were voted into the Hottest 100, but really shouldn’t have been.
‘Home Entertainment System’ – Lazaro’s Dog (#82 in 2001)
Back in 2001, Adelaide band Lazaro’s Dog seemed to become inspired enough by the technology around them to compose an ode to an over the top multimedia unit in their home. You might remember this one from some old TV ads for JVC back in the day, but let’s be fair, once you get about halfway through the track, you start to remember why this one hasn’t kept a constant presence on your iPod ever since.
‘Butterfly’ – Crazy Town (#81 in 2001)
Occasionally, pop music and triple j come together, and in many cases it can be quite fruitful and enjoyable, but other times, we get left with one of the most regrettable singles of all time making the countdown. Despite making #4 on the ARIA charts and featuring a Red Hot Chili Peppers riff as the driving force behind the track, Crazy Town’s ‘Butterfly’ has since held a reputation for being one of the worst examples of rap-rock ever, and in 2001, listeners voted it to #81.
‘(Let’s Go) Smoke Some Pot’ – Dash Rip Rock (#69 in 1995)
There’s a reason that very few parody songs have made the countdown over the years, and it’s because usually the joke doesn’t remain that funny once you’ve heard it more than say, twice. In 1995, American roots-rockers Dash Rip Rock decided to parody Danny & The Juniors’ 1957 hit ‘At The Hop’ by turning it into ‘(Let’s Go) Smoke Some Pot’. Sure, it’s humorous at first listen, but when you consider this track beat the Foo Fighters’ debut appearance in the countdown, it’s not really funny any more.
‘Boombastic’ – Shaggy (#65 in 1995)
When Shaggy released his third album, Boombastic, in 1995, music fans had no idea just how popular the album’s title track would become. In fact, on the strength of the tune’s upbeat nature and it’s repeated appearance on radios around the country, the track was loved by listeners enough to reach the #65 spot. Let’s be fair though, it would be much worse if ‘It Wasn’t Me’ had made it into the countdown.
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‘L-A-C-H-L-A-N’ – Your Wedding Night (#60 in 2004)
In 2004, members of Architecture In Helsinki and The Bites came together to form an indie supergroup of sorts called Your Wedding Night. Famed for their quirky tunes, the group managed to muscle their way into the countdown in 2004 with the track ‘L-A-C-H-L-A-N’.
Sadly, the track was just as memorable as the band itself, and now, years down the line, we’re sure that listeners are looking back on this tune and wondering just why it appealed to them enough to give it one of their votes.
‘Who Farted?’ – The Vaughans (#54 in 1995)
The #54 spot in the Hottest 100 has been held by the likes of Blink-182, Frenzal Rhomb, Hunters & Collectors, and many other acclaimed bands over the years, but in 1995, it belonged to The Vaughans and their juvenile celebration of flatulence. A song seemingly crafted after the band’s members noted that their synthesiser had a fart sound built in, this is one of the most inexplicable and cringeworthy additions to the Hottest 100 ever.
‘I Wanna Be A Hippy’ – Technohead (#48 in 1995)
Music historians can’t quite explain it, but the mid ’90s happened to see the rise of the happy hardcore/gabber style of music. One of the most prominent artists in this genre just so happened to be the husband and wife team Michael Wells and Lee Newman, better known as Technohead. For some reason, in 1995 they released the track ‘I Wanna Be A Hippy’ and the rest is history.
A largely forgettable number outside of gabber culture, there wasn’t much else to understand of this song outside of its repeated line of, “I want to be a hippie and I want to get stoned on marijuana.” The track was also accompanied by a rather cringeworthy music video which still gets airplay on some music video channels to this day, usually as part of specials looking back at where we went wrong as a culture.
‘Somewhere’ – Efua (#26 in 1993)
Coming out of England during the time when Britpop was still a burgeoning genre and all that was heard in the charts was faux-techno novelty hits, Efua Baker decided to release her debut album in hopes of changing the status quo. Featuring her biggest single ‘Somewhere’, Efua even ended up appearing in the inaugural annual Hottest 100 countdown, one spot ahead of Tool’s ‘Sober’, so her tunes must have been good, right? Well…
A rather strange track, ‘Somewhere’ begins with the sort of instrumentation and vocal hook you’d expect to find in a song from this time period, but that’s as good as it gets. From there, Efua diverges into a strange, half spoken/half sung diatribe about her experiences with relationships. Give this one a listen and ask yourself, “Did this really deserve to beat out a Tool song?” The ’90s were a different time.
‘Bubblegoose’ – Wyclef Jean (#19 in 1998)
If you remember one thing from the late ’90s, it might be the cultural impact that shows like South Park had upon our youth. Despite the moral panic the show’s ‘filthy language’ would have on kids, the show managed to even release a soundtrack album, featuring huge artists such as Rancid, Devo, Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne, and everyone’s favourite Fugee, Wyclef Jean.
Jean contributed a new version of song ‘Bubblegoose’, but due to its inclusion on the soundtrack, included a bunch of vocal additions from the South Park kids. The end result meant that what should have been a decent soulful tune was ruined by sporadic, uncharacteristically lame interjections by the show’s infamous kids. While South Park might be a brilliant show, their collaboration with Wyclef Jean and ‘Bubblegoose’ was a rare miss.
‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’ – Quindon Tarver (#16 in 1997)
The last time we checked, spoken-word life advice does not a hit single make. Somehow, a viral inspirational speech made its way to Aussie director Baz Luhrmann who, with the help of voice actor Lee Perry, helped turn it into a song before it was released on Luhrmann’s Something for Everybody compilation in 1999. Featuring the vocal talents of famed singer Quindon Tarver, this one was set for infamy right from the start.
Sadly, despite John Safran’s (comparatively better) parody of the track, ‘Not The Sunscreen Song‘, reaching 45 places higher on the ARIA charts, he was sadly absent from the 1999 Hottest 100 countdown. Robbed.
‘Asshole’ – Denis Leary (#1 in 1993)
Sometimes, the original is still the best. Back in 1993, listeners were keen as anything to see what songs might top the first annual Hottest 100 countdown. Once we got into the top ten and passed songs by The Cruel Sea, Rage Against The Machine and Radiohead, listeners wondered, what was left?
Sadly, the answer was Denis Leary’s long-winded rant that probably would’ve been better left on the stand-up stage. Thankfully, the annual countdown’s got better, because we certainly weren’t off to a good start with this one.