Why this year’s Hottest 100 is all about who will get No.2.

Wally De Backer – I hope you’ve got champagne on ice.  You’re going need it around 9pm tomorrow.

The Australia Day institution that is the Triple J Hottest 100 will be blasting out of our radios from midday – now in its 21st year.  Created by my former university lecturer Lawrie Zion – the countdown celebrates the best 100 songs of the year that has passed by – as voted by Triple J listeners.

In the past, there have been winners which have lived up to the station’s alternative nature (Queens Of The Stone Age’s No One Knows, The Cranberries’ Zombie), some local artist gems (Powderfinger’s My Happiness and These Days, Augie March’s One Crowded Hour), obvious songs which owned the year (Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out, Jet’s Are You Gonna Be My Girl?) and some suprises (The Offspring’s Pretty Fly For A White Guy, Alex Lloyd’s Amazing and Bernard Fanning’s Wish You Well).

And tomorrow – another song will join those ranks.  It will be Gotye (featuring Kimbra)’s Somebody That I Used To Know.

Not since Kings Of Leon’s Sex On Fire in 2008 has there been such a hot and obvious favourite for the winner of the world’s biggest music poll.  Sportingbet had a market going last month for Somebody That I Used To Know to win at $1.15 – with ‘Any Other Song’ at around $5.

Somebody That I Used To Know ticks all the boxes when it comes to being a Hottest 100 frontrunner:

  • A Triple J-approved artist whose past releases got plenty of airplay on the station,
  • A crossover hit which went from being played on the J’s to being flogged all over commerical radio.  When you can hear it on an Austereo station’s breakfast show, you know you’ve cracked it.
  • Scored industry acclaim and numerous awards (ARIA gave it Single Of The Year, while Gotye and Kimbra won Best Male and Female artists respectively).
  • Recieve a whole new audience of ‘mainstream’ fans – who pack out your shows just to hear your new hit single (Gotye sold out four shows at The Forum in October).
  • Had numerous people covering it on YouTube or in their live shows – (just look at Canadian band Walk Off The Earth’s recent awesome cover of the song – which has clocked up over 36 million views and seen them invited to play on Ellen).

And, courtesy of my fellow blogging friend Jeremy Stevens at On The Tune – I’ve learnt another bit of news that makes Gotye’s task even easier.  His only real threat – Foster The People’s somewhat-catchy, somewhat-annoying radio staple Pumped Up Kicks is ineligible for this year’s countdown as it was released in 2010.

So, tomorrow – the only interesting thing worth listening out for is who is going to get score the second most popular song in 2011.  In any other year, that artist would be the real winners of the Hottest 100.  My prediction is fellow Triple J approved Aussie act-of-the-moment Boy & Bear may fill that spot.

Instead, they’re going to have to play second fiddle to the song which has owned altenative and commerical radio, led to an unheard-of Canadian group becoming YouTube sensations, and turned the normally pop-and-dance filled ARIA Charts on its head.

Brace yourself Australia – much like Angus and Julia Stone last year –  the crossover indie ‘hype’ act of the year is going to reign supreme again.  Gotye and Kimbra have the 2011 Triple J Hottest 100 in the bag – and I dare anyone else to suggest otherwise.

You can stream the Hottest 100 here from Midday tomorrow (AEDST).