Today is Australia Day.
During Australia Day friends and family will gather together to celebrate Australian culture around the barbecue and have a few beers. Many parties will center around the radio while they listen to the Triple J Hottest 100, a countdown of the last years greatest tracks. And when I say greatest tracks they actually are. Its an alternative list with the mainstream artists not appearing, Taylor Swift was even banned from the list. This years winner was Chet Faker who featured heavily throughout the top 20.
Because of that I would like to give you my top 5 songs that taught me about Australia and Australian culture.
We learned more from a 3-minute record, than we ever learned in school.
In no particular order.
Xaiver Rudd – Fortune Teller
I once tried to play the didgeridoo, the breathing technique required is incredibly difficult. Xavier Rudd not only can play the Didgeridoo excellently he can also play the guitar and other instruments at the same time. His songs often carry a ‘love your land’ message with Rudd being a lover of Aboriginal culture and history.
It was difficult to find the one song of Xavier Rudd to add here as I wanted to show how impressive he is musically as well as lyrically. To make a compromise I have also included a section of lyrics, if they aren’t enough to convince you watch the live video and that will.
For this sacred land
It has seen many hands
It has wealth and gold
Yet it is fragile and old
And all the greedy souls
Just don’t care to know
Of the changes it will confront
– The Message
Hilltop Hoods – Chase That Feeling
Australian Hip Hop has the country divided, you either love it or you hate it. Hilltop Hoods introduced me to Australian Hip Hop, you will hear them everywhere in Australia but probably not anywhere else in the world. Also see Bliss n Eso.
John Farnham – You’re the Voice
When I was introduced to this song the Australians told me they wanted this to be their national anthem. Unofficially I think it is.
We’re not gonna sit in silence, we’re not gonna live with fear.
Men at Work – Down Under
Everyone has heard Down Under and I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t played continuously in Australian bars. Even though the song contains very little factual lyrics it did introduce me to Vegemite. The song went to court over its famous flute riff, the writers were accused of stealing the riff from a childrens song, Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree. The band deny the claims but the court ruled that Down Under “replicated a substantial part of that song”.
John Butler Trio – Revolution
Another song with a political theme. Again John Butler has become an Australian institution and has a large fan base within the country.
I had to miss a lot from this list, I could of gone on, The Jezabels, Art Vs science, Angus and Julia Stone, Wolfmother, and Birds of Tokyo are all worth mentioning.
Please feel free to comment on what you think of my list and if you have any recommendations I would enjoy hearing them.