Sunday, July 19, 2009

Triple J - Hottest 100 of All Time - best artists by decade?

Welcome to the third post - where we look at the best artists for each decade. I'm just listing the top five for each decade.


The Beatles
The Rolling Stones
Jimi Hendrix
The Beach Boys
Bob Dylan

No real surprises there.


Pink Floyd
Led Zeppelin
John Lennon
Elton John

Ok - but I would have given the nod to The Clash (#6) or Bowie (#7) over the Johns.


Michael Jackson
Joy Division
Hunters & Collectors

With the Pixies (#6), New Order (#7), G'n'R (#8) and Crowded House (#9) this constitutes a pretty diverse group - and the first appearance of Aussie / Kiwi artists.


Jeff Buckley
Smashing Pumpkins
Pearl Jam

Add RATM (#6), Tool (#7), Massive Attack (#8), RHCP (#9) and Foo Fighters (#10) for a pretty awesome bunch of artists. Possibly less diverse than the 80s - but certainly "weightier".


Daft Punk
Hilltop Hoods
White Stripes

Killers (#6), Bloc Party (#7), QoTSA (#8)? I think think the pickings are much slimmer than any of the previous decades.

Are we treading water until the next explosian of creativity? Will we look back on the 2000s as a bit of a musical desert? Or will other great songs / artists from the 2000s be discovered / remembered with more time to reflect? Or is the Age of Rock passing, like the Elves from Middle Earth?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Triple J - Hottest 100 of All Time - best decade?

Welcome to the second post, in which we look at release dates of songs in the Hottest 100. Given the youth demographic targeted by JJJ, I was expecting a high proportion of songs in the 00s (especially as we are nearly at the end of the decade), with less and less songs for each preceding decade.

Here's the results by number of songs:

1960-9: 8
1970-9: 11
1980-9: 15
1990-9: 44
2000-9: 22

Here's the weighted results:

1960-9: 7%
1970-9: 10%
1980-9: 16%
1990-9: 50%
2000-9: 17%

Nothing before the 60s - probably not that surprising as material by the Beatles, Stones, Hendrix etc resonates to contemporary listeners in a way that earlier music doesn't.

But the overwhelming dominance of the 90s is surprising - especially as the 00s are only approximately as popular as the 80s. From the 90s back popularity tails off as expected.

Here are a few possible explanations:

1. Better music

Was the music released in the 90s just better than more recent music? The 90s gave us Nirvana, RATM, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, RHCP. (Not to mention Massive Attack, Pearl Jam, Tool.) That's an amazing roster. While some of those artists are still creatively active, their breakthroughs were in the 90s.

Will Bloc Party, Muse, White Stripes, Powderfinger, The Killers (or QoTSA and John Butler) be more or less relevant in ten years time? Without detracting at all from these artists, in my view, with the exception of Muse, the 90s list is far more impressive.

In my next post I'll develop this theme more and look at best artists by decade.

2. JJJ Demographic

Maybe the Triple J demographic is older than I thought. Radio is decidedly old school after all. The youth demographic has media choices that didn't exist 15 years ago.

3. Activism

Maybe listeners who were in their teens and early 20s during the 90s are more active (i.e. more likely to vote) than those currently in that age group.

There are various other permutations. What are your views?

Triple J - Hottest 100 of All Time - best artist?

Welcome to my first post.

I love quantitative analysis and music. So lists of musical "best ofs" are heaven for me.

In the next few posts I will be looking at the recently published Triple J - Hottest 100 of All Time.

So, who was the best artist?

Here are the results. (See below for the methodology.)

1. Radiohead
2. Jeff Buckley
3. Nirvana
4. The Beatles
5. Smashing Pumpkins
6. Powderfinger
7. Metallica
8. Pearl Jam
9. Michael Jackson
10. Pink Floyd

Looks fairly promising as a top ten. I could live with that as a desert island selection.

11. Rage Against the Machine
12. Tool
13. Led Zeppelin
14. Massive Attack
15. AC/DC
16. Daft Punk
17. The Rolling Stones
18. Joy Division
19. Queen
20. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Well that pretty well ticks all the boxes for me. As an overview of rock music I think that's as good a twenty artists as you could get.

There is, however, a decided lack of funk - the late King of Pop being the closest thing. Although the influence permeates many of the other artists - particularly the Chilis.

21. Foo Fighters
22. John Lennon
23. Oasis
24. The Verve
25. Hilltop Hoods
26. Muse
27. White Stripes
28. Hunters & Collectors
29. Pixies
30. Jimi Hendrix

Fair enough - although I think Hendrix really deserves to be in the top 20. And I'd probably swap Muse for Tool for cerebral contemporary heavy rock.

31. New Order
32. Silverchair
33. The Living End
34. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
35. The Killers
36. Bloc Party
37. The Beach Boys
38. Queens of the Stone Age
39. Faith No More
40. John Butler Trio
41. Beastie Boys
42. Guns'n'Roses
43. Crowded House
44. You Am I
45. The Cure
46. Bob Dylan
47. Augie March
48. Johnny Cash
49. Blur
50. Nine Inch Nails

Oops - how could I forget about Bob Dylan - thought he should have placed higher.

51. Violent Femmes
52. Underworld
53. Elton John
54. Ben Folds Five
55. Blink 182
56. The Prodigy
57. The Smiths
58. The Shins
59. The Clash
60. Green Day
61. The Stone Roses
62. Gotye
63. David Bowie
64. Pulp
65. System of a Down
66. Placebo
67. Bob Marley & The Wailers
68. The Dandy Warhols
69. Coldplay
70. Kings of Leon
71. Bon Iver
72. Modest Mouse
73. Stevie Wonder
74. Midnight Oil
75. TV on the Radio
76. Franz Ferdinand

That's it. What do you think were the major omissions? For me its the low representation of funk/soul/R&B/hip hop artists. But if we accept it as the Hottest 100 ROCK Songs of All Time, its pretty good.

Thanks JJJ for running the survey and providing us music geeks with plenty to play with.