Which leads me to my next point. As much as I love Triple J, and can find no other radio station that plays my favourite music, it is an unfortunate fact that it is also popular with a bogan element within the population. Whilst this in itself has never been particularly concerning to me – Rosie Beaton has a gift for humouring the drunken masses for just long enough to get a song request out of them before they become too tiresome – it has become apparent that catering to this particular portion of the listenership has become a driving force in the music selection, and has led to a situation of high repetition.
A lot of people were critical of the results of Triple J’s recent listener poll of ‘The Hottest 100 Australian Albums of All Time,’ and some even more so after Richard Kingsmill released the top 101 – 200 album losers list. Some felt that there were glaring omissions from the results, particularly when compared with the critics’ predictions, but this was always going to be the case in an opinion poll of a particular sect of the population. A poll of the general population would probably have yielded some of the critically expected albums. Whilst it doesn’t make it into my personal top ten, I think that Savage Garden’s self-titled debut should rank highly on such a list, if not at number one. It has variety and creativity (to the point where some songs were modified to be more conducive for commercial radio play) and was undeniably popular and successful. I can certainly not think of another Australian album to have generated as many successful singles as this one, and struggle to think of too many from anywhere else to have generated many more.
Of course, I wouldn’t expect it to make it into a Triple J poll. It is usually fairly easy to pick the songs that will be popular with the station’s request line and ‘Hottest 100’ polls. When placing my bets, I usually just go with the latest song to feature a chorus that encourages the shouting of swear words (although I did lose this year when Cee Lo’s Fuck You! came in lower than I’d expected.)
A request show should ideally ensure variety, and Triple J’s implementation of theme nights does, to an extent, help encourage this, but it is inevitable that pub rock fans will call in every night asking to hear the latest dance song to find cross-over appeal. The same song will be played due to popular demand ad-nauseum, and such has been the case since Pnau tapped into a market that hadn’t heard dance music since Sonic Animation released the allegedly funny Theophilus Thistler. I even heard someone call the SuperRequest show last week asking to hear ‘the song that goes like this,’ before mumbling a tune into the phone, ala Machine Gun Fellatio’s Isaac Or Fuzz. Remarkably, Rosie and her producer translated the call into Joe Goddard and Valentina’s Gabriel to the caller’s satisfaction, and mine, kind of.
So, what exactly is my complaint here? Unlike others, I have no qualms with Hottest 100 results or Australian content levels. My complaint is with the level of repetition that seems to have evolved into the station’s playlist over the past decade, which looks eager to appease the aforementioned (and probably not minimal) section of the listener base. I like variety, and for a while I haven’t been getting it, but don’t know where else to turn. Or maybe I’m just afraid of admitting that I might fit into the bogan category too.