The team here at Mulch Magazine is counting down the top 50 Australian pop songs of all time. Join us on this journey of discovery. Join us on this journey of stupidity.
50. James Reyne, “Hammer Head”: 1987
“Hammerhead” is the centrepiece of James Reyne’s 1987 solo album. The song’s moody, tightly-wound verse is punctuated by Reyne’s unique vocal style, which sounds like his mouth is stuffed full with king gobstoppers and half a load of buttered white bread. The lush, florid chorus opens things up and even brings in a female vocalist (Olivia Neutron-Bomb), reminding us all that Sydney’s ‘80s smack epidemic touched people from all walks of life: men and women, guys and girls.
49. Sadistik Exekution, “Mental Derailment”: 2004
Sadistik Exekution was an internationally-recognised band from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. “Mental Derailment” is the band’s most coherent, rhythmic and approachable work. The song is propelled by alternating polka and shuffle beats, which accentuate the nuanced vocal delivery of Rok, the band’s singer. Rok’s vocal hooks are augmented by unorthodox guitar hooks, which weave together Muddy Waters-inspired blues scales and Dick Dale-cum-Ventures adrenaline-pumping slides. The song should’ve been huge but it was overshadowed by two highly-successful extreme metal singles that were released at the same time: Shannon Noll’s “That’s What I’m Talking About” and Guy Sebastian’s “All I Need is You”.
48. Kate Cebrano, “Bedroom Eyes”: 1989
“Bedroom Eyes” is ten tonnes of sexual napalm. The song starts with Kate saying something in French, then the the band thrusts into a slapping, pulsating rumpety-pumpety beat that carries Kate’s sultry, confident vocal delivery. There’s a great film clip for this song, too. It’s got a car in it.
47. Bruce Woodley, “Friends”: 1971
“Friends” is the musical equivalent of elbow patches on a tweed jacket. It’s the sound of a guy sitting in his study just to get away from his annoying and demanding family. It’s the sound of a guy at ease with himself, but confounded by the world around him. “Friends” is a shocking song, really.
46. Matty B, Fridays: 2002
Matty B was a singer songwriter with big shorts and an even bigger heart. “Fridays” was his hit song and what a corker it is. At times the song borders on rap: think the freestyle in Blondie’s “Rapture” or some of the cadence that Robbie Williams displays on his most annoying songs.