Who will win triple j’s Hottest 100 for 2015?

Kendrick Lamar is shot at the #1 spot in the triple j Hottest 100.
Kendrick Lamar is shot at the #1 spot in the triple j Hottest 100.

AUSTRALIA Day is upon us again and that means it’s time for triple j’s Hottest 100.

The biggest musical democracy in the world is likely to enrage, intrigue and entertain in equal amounts as per usual this year.

But who is going to win? The Standard’s music reporter and Hottest 100 enthusiast MATT NEAL lays out the cases for and against the favourites, taking into account the odds, the charts, a social network survey dubbed The Tepid 100, journalist Patrick Avenell’s historical assessment of past voting trends, and more to predict the most likely winner.

Here are the favourites:

King Kunta - Kendrick Lamar

Sportsbet: $2.20 (favourite)

ARIA charts: #33

Tepid 100 prediction: #1

Patrick Avenell’s “Ultimate Form Guide”: #10

Why it will win:

Firming as favourite in recent weeks ahead of Major Lazer’s Lean On, this big single from the POTUS-certified Greatest Rapper In The World Right Now has been featuring prominently on almost every “songs of the year” list you can find. His album To Pimp A Butterfly was voted #3 by triple j listeners in the 2015 album of the year poll, and he was the 11th most played artist of the year on the station. There’s a lot of love for Kendrick out there.

Why it won’t win:

Rap traditionally struggles in the Hottest 100. Australia’s biggest rappers Hilltop Hoods have only ever reached #3 (three times in fact), and the only hip hop track to top the chart was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ Thrift Shop, which was dismissed by many as a novelty. One thing Thrift Shop had going for it was mainstream crossover appeal (a surprisingly important factor in the countdown) - it spent seven weeks at #1 in the lead-up to Australia Day. King Kunta only made it #33 and hasn’t made the jump to mainstream radio (which is still largely terrified of hip hop, especially the kind of swear-heavy stuff coming straight outta Compton that Lamar drops).

The Trouble With Us - Marcus Marr & Chet Faker

Sportsbet: $17 (seventh favourite)

ARIA charts: #8

Tepid 100: #8

Patrick Avenell: #3

Why it will win:

The ultimate mainstream crossover appeal reason - I heard this played in a supermarket the other day. But seriously. Despite being released later in the year, this collaboration between the Hottest 100 reigning champ and UK DJ Marr was the 99th biggest selling single of the year in Australia and enjoyed the rare double of getting regular rotation on both triple j and its “mature” sister station Double J. There’s still a fervour for Faker, who had four tracks in the countdown last year, including three in the top 10.

Why it won’t win:

Nobody’s gone back-to-back before except Powderfinger (1999 & 2000 - and frontman Bernard Fanning won again as a solo artist in 2005). Maybe Chet is the dude to break the ‘Finger’s stranglehold. But it’s worth noting there’s been a run of pop-funk tracks that have done well in recent years, but none have reached #1 - Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk stalled at #6 while Daft Punk’s Get Lucky made it #3.

Hotline Bling - Drake

Sportsbet: $18 (eighth favourite)

ARIA charts: #2

Tepid 100: #19

Patrick Avenell: #9

Why it will win:

Winning songs, for some reason, tend to reach further than just the ears of triple j listeners - they often get spun on mainstream radio, chart reasonably well, and generally the average punter in the street tends to have a level of awareness about the track. This is Hotline Bling’s ace up its proverbial sleeve. No other song’s film clip got turned into a meme like this one did, creating an unparalleled amount of viral promo, helping it become one of the 50 biggest-selling singles of the year.

Why it won’t win:

The Tepid 100 compiled over 2000 votes found on Instagram and found “people (and Sportsbet) have hugely overestimated the position of [Major Lazer & DJ Snake’s] Lean On, and [Drake’s] Hotline Bling to a lesser extent”, according to a Musicfeeds.com interview with compiler Ed Pitt. It’s not that surprising when you consider the love/hate relationship triple j listeners have with Drake - while a lot of people might have voted for him, there are likely as many people appalled by the fact the Canadian R&B star is getting played on the station at all.

Say My Name - Peking Duk feat. Benjamin Joseph

Sportsbet: $41 (equal 20th favourite)

ARIA charts: #29

Tepid 100: #42

Patrick Avenell: #8

Why it will win:

After coming in at #2 and #5 last year, this Canberra electro duo have put all their Duk eggs in this bangin’ basket this year. It came with a film clip that’s been watched over a million times on YouTube, plus their headlining spots at Falls and Stereosonic meant this has been the festival anthem of the summer for many. Also it’s arguably their best track to date.

Why it won’t win:

It hasn’t crossed over. Sportsbet don’t rate it, the Tepid 100 doesn’t either, and it barely cracked the top 30 on the ARIA charts.

Can’t Feel My Face - The Weeknd

Sportsbet: $7.50 (fourth favourite)

ARIA charts: #2

Tepid 100: #16

Patrick Avenell: #7

Why it will win:

This Michael Jackson-channelling groover has spent 31 weeks in the ARIA charts and its film clip has had over 380 million views on YouTube. The Weeknd’s album Beauty Behind The Madness has triple j head honcho Richard Kingsmill’s seal of approval, which meant it got played a lot on the station. The young’uns love it - this track sits right in the wheelhouse of the j’s demographic at the moment.

Why it won’t win:

The Weeknd’s other big track The Hills may take some votes away from it, and the Tepid 100 doesn’t rate Can’t Feel My Face’s chances. There’s also the possibility it’s seen as too popular and that some of the sheen may have worn off it as it’s been overplayed over the past five months.

Let It Happen - Tame Impala

Sportsbet: $16 (sixth favourite)

ARIA charts: N/A

Tepid 100: #5

Patrick Avenell: #6

Why it will win:

Tame Impala were the most played band on triple j in 2015 and listeners voted Currents as album of the year. Currents also debuted at #1 on the ARIA charts and has been in the top 50 for 26 weeks so far. And while this track - the album’s first single - didn’t chart and Tame Impala don’t really have the crossover appeal of other acts on this list, they’re so loved among the triple j set they may break the afore-mentioned mainstream rule.

Why it won’t win:

Second single Less I Know The Better will probably split the Tame Impala vote (‘Cause I’m A Man will also probably get some love), most likely giving them two in the top 10 as per 2012 when Elephant and Feels Like We Only Go Backwards reached #7 and #9 respectively. The Tepid 100 predicts Let It Happen and Less I Know The Better will both go top five but bizarrely, Sportsbet and the Tepid 100 rate Less I Know The Better as a better chance than Let It Happen. Am I missing something here? I was certain Let It Happen was the bigger single.

Hoops - The Rubens

Sportsbet: $4 (third favourite)

ARIA charts: #25

Tepid 100: #2

Patrick Avenell: #5

Why it will win:

This impossibly catchy tune from the indie-rockers was something of a surprise chart success for The Rubens. It bodes well for the band that triple j listeners rated the album Hoops the fifth best of the year and that they were the 14th most played act on the station for 2015. Aussie bands always do well in the countdown (four of the last five winners have been Aussies) and this one is a red hot chance.

Why it won’t win:

There’s no real reason why they can’t win. The Rubens made the top 10 in 2012 so they’ve got runs on the board with triple j listeners. But there’s something about the song that feels top 10 as opposed to #1 - it’s more of a Stolen Dance (#4, 2014), a Rock It (#2, 2010), or a Breezeblocks (#3, 2012) than say a chart-topper like Someone That I Used To Know or a Thrift Shop.

Lean On - Major Lazer & DJ Snake feat. MØ

Sportsbet: $2.80 (second favourite)

ARIA charts: #1

Tepid 100: #6

Patrick Avenell: #1

Why it will win:

If you didn’t believe me before about the importance of the mainstream crossover effect, here are some facts - six Hottest 100 winners have been ARIA #1s, 11 winners have been top 10 singles, and only five winners over the 22 countdowns have not cracked the top 50 (the last one being Muse’s Knights Of Cydonia in 2007). Lean On went to #1, it’s also the sixth biggest-selling single of the year in Australia, and Major Lazer were the 10th most played act on triple j in 2015. These factors have Avenell tipping it to be #1. If it does happen to win, it will be only the fifth time a female artist (Icelandic singer MØ) has featured in the winning track.

Why it won’t win:

Sportsbet had this as the early favourite but have cooled on it as King Kunta’s fortunes have risen. And as mentioned before, the Tepid 100’s sample of votes found the chances of this track to be “overestimated”. Personally, I thought Major Lazer’s Powerful was a better track.

Magnets - Disclosure feat. Lorde

Sportsbet: $34 (equal 16th favourite)

ARIA charts: #14

Tepid 100: #9

Patrick Avenell: N/A

Why it will win:

There’s a possible top 10 finish in line for this song, but no one is really expecting this to win. Having said that, Disclosure and Lorde have good track records in the countdown. According to the Unofficial Hottest 100 database and their Hottest Number All Time List (where a #1 is worth 100 points, #2 is worth 99 points, etc.), Disclosure are the 147th biggest act of all time and Lorde is the 60th biggest.

Why it won’t win:

It just won’t. It’s rating high in a lot of computations but is probably only likely to go top 20, top 10 at best.

Do You Remember - Jarryd James

Sportsbet: $21 (10th favourite)

ARIA charts: #2

Tepid 100: #13

Patrick Avenell: #4

Why it will win:

This Brisbane singer-songwriter came out of nowhere earlier this year, dropping this haunting single (and pre-empting Daniel Johns’ solo sound somewhat before Johns could drop his album). Triple j went mad for it and James was the sixth most played artist on the station for 2015. This has a lot going for it.

Why it won’t win:

Do You Remember came out in January - this isn’t a surefire cooler, but a lot of songs have come out between then and now. How much can it remain in the forefront of people’s minds?

MATT NEAL’s predicted top 10

  1. The Trouble With Us - Marcus Marr & Chet Faker
  2. King Kunta - Kendrick Lamar
  3. Let It Happen - Tame Impala
  4. Can’t Feel My Face - The Weeknd
  5. Say My Name - Peking Duk feat. Benjamin Joseph
  6. Hoops - The Rubens
  7. Do You Remember? - Jarryd James
  8. Less I Know The Better - Tame Impala
  9. Lean On - Major Lazer & DJ Snake feat. MØ
  10. Hotline Bling - Drake

And some roughies to keep an eye on:

  • Like Soda - Violent Soho
  • The Buzz - Hermitude feat. Mataya & Young Tapz
  • Never Be - Meg Mac
  • Magnolia - Gang Of Youths
  • Ocean Drive - Duke Dumont
  • Fire & Flood - Vance Joy
  • M.O.B. - Tkay Maidza
  • Young - Vallis Alps
  • You Were Right - RUFUS
  • Mountain At My Gates - Foals
  • Middle - DJ Snake feat. Bipolar Sunshine
  • Downtown - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis


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