So, to conclude from the addition of the final 20:
No black artists. No female vocalists. Only one woman performer in any of the bands (Meg in The White Stripes). Only one song from the last five years, only three since 2000 and none of those in the top 10. In fact the most recent song in the Top 10 since was Everlong by the Foo Fighters, from 1997!
Has the demographic of Triple J changed so dramatically? Is it failing to meet the youth market and being listened to only by middle aged escapees from the grunge revolution like myself? Frighteningly, two of the songs in the Top 20 are ones my mother loves – Imagine and Bohemian Rhapsody. I think Robbie Buck made a very astute observation in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald when he said:
I think there’s probably quite a few songs here which have made it into magazine lists of the best 50 or hundred blah blah blah of all time and I wonder whether people put it down on their list because they are supposed to be in lists like this and it becomes self-perpetuating.
Guess what: our choices and taste in music are socially constructed. So I guess that explains the absence of woman and black artists.
2 women vocalists out of 100 songs.
9 black performers out of 100 songs.
That’s a pretty shameful indication of our tendency to the white male. No black rap, no female grunge, no female solo artists. Are they all so insignificant?
And really, is Muse and Knights of Cydonia really the best song the last five years have to offer? Is there nothing worthy of a Top Ten place produced since 1997?
I can’t complain that Killing in the Name of was number 2 and Smells Like Teen Spirit (the only song I voted for in the entire countdown) was number 1 – and I note that time has moved on in that there was almost no punk music. And I am sooooo happy that there was no Whitlams.
Interestingly, the last Hottest 100 of all time which was played in August 1998 had a similar lack of women and black performers – there were none in the Top 20. We go back to 1991 for a Hottest 100 of all time for a woman in the Top 20 – Kate Bush. Let’s hope that in ten years time those who are voting are a little more enlightened, and that maybe we have learnt that woman and non-white performers are equally capable of creating memorable, lasting, significant music. Or that the constraints of the music industry have changed to allow diversity a greater acceptance in music outside the mainstream.