BMA Magazine

Questioning The #AC100

With the Hottest 100 changing dates for 2018, a bunch of alternatives have raced to the bottom to attempt to take triple j’s place in the psyche of the nation. However, instead of the more conventional rivals to the national youth broadcaster, one competitor has stood out from the pack; a very small but vocal political party. Cody Atkinson investigates what the hell is going on.

So what’s all this then?

Well, Cory Bernardi and his microparty, the Australian Conservatives, in response to triple j changing the date that they broadcast the results of the Hottest 100, have created a playlist of Australian-only songs on Spotify, except for a few Kiwi and English songs.

Wait, he couldn’t even get 100 Australian songs together?

Nah, but he did find time to chuck in ‘My Boomerang Won’t Come Back’ by the English comedian Charlie Drake, which includes the line “I’ve waved the thing all over the place / practiced till I was black in the face / I’m a big disgrace to the Aborigine race,” which was considered to be too racist to be played on the radio in the 1960s, and the lyrics had to be changed. That non-Australian song is on an Australian-only playlist in 2018.

He’s not the only one to ‘counter’ the move of the Hottest 100, is he?

Not at all. Two major metropolitan commercial radio stations, Triple M and WSFM, have announced “all-Australian” playlists on Australia Day, with the former running an ‘Ozzest 100’ countdown which, um, seems like it got it’s inspiration from somewhere else.

I wonder where…

Anyway, the Ozzest 100 has already been denounced by even the employees of the very station that was meant to be running it. Regardless of your thoughts about whether Australia Day should be moved to another date (it should), and whether the Hottest 100 should stick with their very recent tradition of broadcasting on Australia Day, the move by Triple M is at the extremely cynical, publicity seeking, end of the radio scale. Which is saying a lot.

So back to the Bernadi list…

The list is… not as terrible as you would think. I mean if you were picking a list of culturally significant Australian music from the past few decades, it ticks some of the must have boxes. I mean it’s very fucking dodgy in parts, and has the National Anthem in there as a #partystarter, but it has some choons. I would be willing to wager that the list is so good that it was made by someone other than Bernardi.

Like who?

Perhaps a staffer, or a staffer’s woke 30-something kid. There is some remarkably out there stuff for a playlist purporting to represent the most conservative political party in Australia. But a quick dig of the user who uploaded this list to Spotify, a ‘massagspace’, also has playlists of ‘Hit Rewind’, ‘Miley Cyrus – Party In The U.S.A.’ and ‘Today’s Top Hits’ up there.

So what type of stuff is on the list?

Well, let’s start with Midnight Oil’s ‘Power and the Passion’, a song sung by one of Bernardi’s former political rivals Peter Garrett, and is ostensibly about the decline of Australia due to conservatism and international military alliances, pretty much the opposite to many of the AC’s core beliefs. It also has a salute to the leadership of Gough Whitlam, something that Cory likely doesn’t agree with either.

Alright…

You’ve got several songs with very strong Indigenous messages – from ‘Djapana’ from Yothu Yindi to ‘Wiyathul’ from Gurrumul, ‘My Island Home’ by Christine Anu to Paul Kelly (and Kev Carmody’s) ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’. In particular, Anu has come out in recent days and expressed her wishes for the date of Australia Day to be changed, which is DIRECTLY OPPOSITE to what this shitposting playlist was developed to support. And it’s hard to consider such a poigniant moment of Indigenous sovereignty such at the Gurindji Strike and the story of Vincent Lingiari (honestly, if you haven’t at least read about it on wikipedia drop this damn mag and read it now) to be consistent with a counter-protest to keep Australia Day on its present date. Either Bernardi (and co.) haven’t listened to the songs they’ve chucked in, or they have and can’t comprehend basic song and lyrical structures. BOTH OPTIONS ARE EQUALLY HILARIOUS.

Is that it?

Then you have the ‘loose unit and anarchist’ parts of the playlist. You’ve got a track about getting a blowjob and the tyranny of suburbia (‘The Boys Light Up’), a Kiwi song about moving to a Communist paradise because it has good weather (‘April Sun in Cuba’), a song about anarchist rebelling against ‘the man’ (‘Prisioner of Society’), a song describing a broken former Vietnam Vet suffering from PTSD and addiction who is travelling to Hong Kong for casual sex (‘Khe Sahn’). And the Conservatives seem to like the Divinyls’ ‘Pleasure and Pain’ so much that they’ve added it twice, which includes the repeated refrain “Please don’t ask me how I have been getting off”. I do not want to think about Cory Bernardi singing along to that… but here we are in 2018, hey. Let’s face it; the list more resembles a blend of Hottest 100 Volume 7 and Great Aussie BBQ Songs than the personal playlist of a conservative scion.

So what was the reaction to the hotly anticipated list?

Almost immediately, bands and musicians who were included in the list asked to be removed. Former Savage Garden member Darren Hayes was the first, threatening to invoke his moral rights in the copyright space. Tim Rogers went a step further, invoking a lawfirm to send a letter to Bernardi and his party threatening to seek a Federal Court injunction unless ‘Berlin Chair’ was removed from the list. Perhaps the most concise and cutting response was made by Australian hip hop royalty Hilltop Hoods, who simply said, via Twitter, “Go fuck yourself @corybernardi”.

“Go fuck yourself @corybernardi”? Nothing else?

Nope, just the words “go fuck yourself @corybernardi”.

Does the @corybernardi in the statement “go fuck yourself @corybernardi” refer to the politician and leader of the Australian Conservatives?

Intensive research by our social media team at BMA has discovered, and I can now EXCLUSIVELY reveal, that the politician Cory Bernardi is purported to own the twitter account @corybernardi, and is thus the person told by the Hilltop Hoods to go fuck themselves.

Fair enough.

Indeed, Bernardi (from that Twitter account which the Hilltop Hoods told to go fuck yourself) started off having shots at Darren Hayes, who was the first musician to really have a crack at Bernardi over the playlist. It did not go well for him.

I mean yeah…

In fact, perhaps the most unifying movement in Australian music right now is how artists are uniting together to distance themselves from the Australian Conservatives, which is stunning considering the social, political and geographic divide between some of the artists involved.

Surely some artists have come out and spoke in favour of the list?

Well, at least one has. Former Nationals candidate and Rose Tattoo frontman Angry Anderson doesn’t know what the fuss is about, and he is “tired of the Left’s ridiculous antics”. It is worth noting that Rose Tattoo and Anderson did not make an appearance on the AC100.

So the whole thing will be forgotten when the Hottest 100 kicks off on the 27th?

If not before. The bad publicity stunts will go to their graves quietly, ready for another one to take its place the media cycle, somehow stupider than the last.