Tuesday, 11 June 2013

treasure: triple j Hottest 100 - the best of the last 20 years (part 1 in a series of 4)

having spent the weekend experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions, I wanted to share the full-hearted cacophony of my deep, deep love of music with you. I'll be honest - I had a lot to say when I scrawled my thoughts down alongside these classics and favourites and old friends. too much to hold your attention for one post. so I've split it up into quarters. humour me on this.

these are all the words I wrote, good old-fashioned paper and pen.

I've written about music a lot. it's been there since I remember (and those years before I remember; the formative ones). today, triple j (an australian radio station and institution of sorts, for those overseas folk tuning in) are playing the Hottest 100 songs of the past 20 years. it's their 20th anniversary. 940,000 people voted for their favourite 20 songs released between 1 Jan 1992 and 31 Dec 2012.

these are pretty much the prime of my music-listening years, and so in the top 50 they're playing today, there is literally not one song that I don't know, love and have a teenage/young adult memory of & association with. it's made me realise that so much of my life has been made tolerable, bearable, liveable by music. my inner turmoil has been soothed by such classics as Better Man by Pearl Jam, Hallelujah covered by Buckley, Karma Police by Radiohead, Brick by Ben Folds.

I could weep for the loss of Cobain, Buckley, Elliot Smith; the feelings assuaged by their beautiful, angst-heavy tunes. I'm a sucker for lyrics, being a writer, but music really is unbeatable magic.

one of the most lovely elements of triple j's countdown is that they have musicians of well-known bands introducing the songs with a story about why they love the song so much, or what they remember from the time of its release.

Massive Attack's Teardrop takes me to my 17 year old self, persuing all those bands that a boy I was crushing on had ever mentioned that he liked. astutely, my approach with boys was to find out what they liked and listen to it with the intention of understanding them better. to this day, I doubt that I could ever truly fall in love with someone who didn't worship music like I do.

it's Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers that takes me back to weekend sleepovers at Kat's house, all us girls piled into her living room, confessing our current boy fantasies, cosy in our little worlds. it's Californication and the RHCP in general that brought me back together with Amy and Lauren, beloved high school friends, solid til the end I'm sure, for Big Day Out this year. shirtless Anthony Keidis was why we were all there, I see no point in lying.

it's remarkable to listen to 50 songs in a row, and to know all the words, all the riffs and licks, verses, choruses and bridges. it's strange to hear one big hit after another; the yearly Hottest 100 yields many little-known gems (I often only discover songs and bands at this point, when everyone else has been listening to them on high rotation all year and is somewhat sick of them).

as well, an event like this makes you realise just how connected we all are by music. my favourites, no matter their level of personal significance, are the favourites of literally millions of other people. it's nice to know that there are others out there, and that we are all feeling our feelings together. it still seems like no time has passed, when I listen to these songs. I could, possibly, be a 17 year old in a 27 year old's body.

stay tuned next week as I blather on about songs counting down from Scar Tissue by RHCP at #28 to #17; silverchair's Tomorrow. cheers.

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