If you’re spending your Saturday at a barbecue with your mates, there are some things you’re likely to find: charred snags, lukewarm tinnies, and Triple J Hottest 100 obsessives.
We all know them. They’re the ones who pepper the entire day with commentary about their top five predictions and whether or not [insert artist’s name] has sold out and indignation that [insert song title] didn’t crack the top 30.
Many moons ago, I fancied myself as one of them. I’d spend hours agonising over which songs would make my shortlist (one year I used two separate email addresses so I’d have 20 votes instead of 10), and post my votes on Facebook, and come The Big Day I’d spend the entire time listening intently and analysing.
I was so ~with it~, you guys. But then I dropped the ball, never to be picked up again, so these days I spend every Hottest 100 listening party looking like this:
If this sounds all too familiar, and you'd prefer not to let on what a total music noob you are at today's Hottest 100 BBQ/beach hangs, there are a few handy catchphrases you need to keep up your sleeve.
Without further ado, I present: The foolproof* guide to bluffing your way through the Triple J Hottest 100.
Know a few key Aussie musos to name-drop.
Last year, of the top 100 songs this year, 66 were by Aussie artists (yaaaaasss). Zan Rowe's advice is to wax lyrical about how great our local talent is.
Brissie band Violent Soho is a good name to know. "They've been around for a while, so if you want to be a bit cheeky you can throw in an, 'I like their old stuff better than their new stuff' sentence and you'd be OK," Zan advises.
Be warned, you might find yourself in trouble if you say that to a die-hard Violent Soho fan. But it's worth the gamble.
Another piece of dignity-saving information: Chet Faker - the golden boy of the Hottest 100 two years back - no longer goes by that name.
In September, the artist decided to drop the stage name and go by his actual name, Nick Murphy. So name-drop him instead.
Just yell 'TUUUUUUNE!'
This is another tip from Zan Rowe, and if Zan Rowe is wrong I sure as hell don't wanna be right.
By yelling "tuuuuune" any time a semi-decent sounding song plays, you don't have to demonstrate that you know anything at all about it — or that you've never even heard it before — but nobody will doubt your enthusiasm.
"You have to shout it, really elongate the U. Take a step back from your friends and yell 'TUUUUUUUNE!'" Zan advises. Noted.
Listen: Zan Rowe shares her best Hottest 100-bluffing tips on Mamamia Out Loud. (Post continues after audio.)
Reminisce about Hottest 100s past
Get all misty-eyed, gaze off into the distance, and say, "This is OK, but it's got nothing on the 1996 Hottest 100."
Alternatively, throw shade at famously unpopular Number Ones from bygone years — "I still can't believe Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) won it that time. Terrible."
Nobody's going to argue with you on that.
Make an excuse for why you're not singing along
"Oh I love this song! But I can never figure out what they're saying..." should do the trick, though you won't get away with it 100 times over. Use it sparingly.
Constantly refer to your [non-existent] voting form
This one's a winner, because nobody can know for sure that you definitely didn't vote.
When a song comes on that everyone else seems to be very excited about, there's your time to pounce on the bandwagon. "Niiiiiiice, this was my sixth choice," said with a tone of deep appreciation in your voice.
If you really want to nail it, add something like: "I thought it would crack the top 20, at least." (NB: This won't work if the countdown has already hit the top 20, so you're going to have to listen carefully as the songs are announced.)
When in doubt, a sprinkle of faux-elitism goes a long way
Desperate times call for musical grandstanding. You could try something like, "Ugh, this is so derivative of Depeche Mode/Joy Division/[insert respectable band/muso of your choice here]."
Whingeing about how 'commercialised' the countdown has become, and how mainstream voters are ruining everything, is another good conversation-starter. (Mention Macklemore's 2012 win and you'll really set the purists off.)
And when you're sick of the entire charade, stage a boycott. Stand up, announce, "Nah, I'm done. Triple J's completely sold out**. They've lost me", and storm off. NAILED. IT.
*OK, so I can't guarantee you'll pull it off. You're on your own here.
**I don't mean that, Triple J. Love you guys.