Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hummingbird/Hottest100Women overall

So, how many songs did we have in common, and how many were different?

Well, 24 songs appeared in both lists. These songs were more likely to occur in the second 50 of the Hummingbird 100, and in the first 55 of the Hottest 100. That is to say - the songs we had in common were more likely to be the more popular alternative songs, which were less popular than the standard pop songs. So to speak.

Also, there were 64 artists appearing in the Hummingbird, compared to 69 in the Hottest 100 (which we should point out here, is actually 110). This equals a 64% uniqueness ratio (yes, that's the official term) for the Hummingbird, and 63% for H110 - ie, Hummingbird has a slightly higher ratio of individual artists.

Of those 64 artists, 22 were in the Hottest110 - meaning we had a much higher overlap of artists, than of songs. Which makes plenty of sense.

Hummingbird/Hottest100Women Top 10s

Okay, so, comparing the top 10s.

The top 10 for the two countdowns, and their corresponding rankings in the other countdown:

ArtistSongH100W positionHummingbird position
Aretha FranklinRespect11
Kate BushWuthering Heights247
Tori AmosCornflake Girl371
PortisheadGlory Box468
BreedersCannonballEqual 5--
Janis JoplinAnother Piece Of My HeartEqual 5--
Sinead O'ConnorNothing Compares 2 U748
Dusty SpringfieldSon Of A Preacher Man863
Veruca Salt Seether9--
BjorkHyperballad Equal 10--
Mazzy StarFade Into YouEqual 10--

ArtistSongHummingbird positionH100W position
Aretha FranklinRespect11
PinkSo What2--
Gloria GaynorI Will Survive3Equal 96
AbbaDancing Queen4--
MadonnaLike A Prayer5Equal 28
Lady GagaPokerFace6--
BanglesEternal Flame7--
FergieBig Girls Don't Cry8--
BlondieHeart of Glass9Equal 16
MadonnaLike A Virgin10--

What can we read into this? Well, it looks like songs which were massively popular in the H110W countdown were more likely to be popular across the board - regardless of whether people prefer pop or alternative. Whereas songs that were massively popular in the Hummingbird100 countdown were more likely to be popular only within the pop fan base. Half of the Hummingbird100 top 10 songs which didn't make it into the H100W at all, were from the 2000s. IE Hummingbird is more likely to have more recent songs which are more likely to be popular only among people who are more likely to like more recent songs! A more specific top 10, I guess.

What I like about the Hummingbird100 top 10 is the totally disco feel, in fact. Madonna, Abba, Gloria Gaynor, and Blondie. I could dance to those songs all night long! I can't really say the same for the H100W top 10 - they're more bottle-of-wine and good-cheese and rage-til-the-morning kinda songs. Songs that say "I used to rock really hard. Now, I reminisce." *grins* Sorry, but it's true!

Hummingbird 100 results

So for those who felt that the Hottest 100 Women countdown was too 90s-heavy and too alternative-ish, head over to the Hummingbird 100 and enjoy their very very pop-py countdown! Some artists they included which we didn't, are P!nk (crazy popular in Australia), TLC (awesome R&B), Bic Runga (local-ish!), Kylie Minogue (we loved her when she was Charlene), Beyonce (that woman is astonishing - watch the Single Women video and tell me she isn't half Amazon!), and Kate Miller-Heidke (I think we're all ashamed she wasn't in the H100W). There is a clear focus on songs from the last decade or so, suggesting that the average Hummingbird voter was younger than the average H100W voter. There's also a preponderance of "mainstream"y music - songs you'd hear on Fox rather than on 3RRR (here in Melbourne).

Hey, it's not a countdown I would like to listen to - because I am a 90s alternative fan! But that's not to say that it isn't just as valid a countdown, or as valid a set of results (they had almost 10 times the votes that we did, after all). Are we all into "Women's Music - but only if it is Artistically Valid, which means She Can't Show Her Boobs, and There Will Be No Pop Melodies"? I admit there are elements of some of the Hummingbird artists that I dislike - the "raunch is empowerment" philosophy of Christina Aguilera, the "shock doesn't need to have meaning" of Lady Gaga (though I may be misinterpreting her whole schtick). But that doesn't mean that they are not artists. Their art is not my art. Their values are not my values. But hell, they are still artists, and their music IS music! Whether the countdown promotes as much of a variety of music styles - as much of a feminist flavour to the music - and as much musical invention and creativity as the H100W countdown - well, that's really a personal call. And as you could expect, as a left-leaning, feminist, alternative woman, I do prefer my own countdown. I don't like raunch culture. I don't like Fox FM. I don't like "post feminist" culture. But hey. That's me.

Just as the JJJ countdown should really have been called "Top 100 songs of all time by men", the Hummingbird countdown can be called "Top 100 noughties-heavy pop songs of all time by women", and the H100W countdown can be called "Top 100 90s-heavy alternative-cred songs of all time by women". We all have biases. There is no such thing as "better" music. Sorry!

(BTW, there will be another post with some fun comparisons in more detail.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hummingbird 100 countdown

Before I get into this in any depth, in the interests of full disclosure, you should know I may be receiving some free beer from the wonderful women behind the Hummingbird 100. However, I haven't drunk any yet, and in my life I don't count my chickens before they're hatched, so be assured this post is written not having been bribed by alcohol - but after having spent an evening in the company of some excellent and well-listened women.

I'm a sucker for anyone who knows the Robert Downey Jnr Driving Naked While Throwing Imaginary Rats Out Of His Car story.

I'll boil it down for you quite simply:

The Hummingbird 100 countdown is sponsored by the company that brought us alcopops.

The countdown is being run by some seriously dedicated, music-mad women who are just as pissed off at JJJ as I am.

Alcopops and a beer that claims that women haven't had any beer made just for them, are not pinnacles of western culture. I like beer as it is. I don't believe we need special beer for women. I think we're capable of drinking Guinness, VB, Coopers, Little Creatures, Asahi - you name it.

The countdown is going to be BIG. It is going to generate interest in women's music.

And in beer.

The technology they're using to tally the votes - this is being paid for by beer. If I had received as many votes as they're going to - I couldn't have done the countdown. I would have needed a lot of help.

The kind of help provided by, you know, beer. Or, a dedicated team of passionate volunteers. Not necessarily beer.

But, in this case, beer.

And a hell of a lot of publicity, as orchestrated by people who know how these things work. And who know how to exploit the system to get recognition for women's music.

It's up to you, folks. Make your own judgement call. But, if you do decide to support the Hummingbird 100, get involved with it, just like you did with my countdown. Encourage your friends and family to vote. Post links on your blogs and Twitters. Join in the forums.

If you don't decide to support it, that's utterly and totally cool, and your choice. No judgement here. Love you all.

(And yes, it's possible I'm just so excited to be able to actually vote, since I barred myself from my own countdown.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Brilliant UNIFEM benefit in Sydney

And before I forget - on Thursday 22nd October, at the Red Rattler Theatre in 6 Faversham st, Marrickville, UNIFEM are hosting a gig to raise money to help eradicate sexual violence and rape being used as weapons of war. Absolutely brilliant cause - and I believe the music is going to *ahem* RAWK, too. As the flier says - get loud, get cross, and get active.

Vote tampering at JJJ?

News Limited has run with a story today in The Australian, MX (here in Melbourne), Perth Now, and presumably a raft of its newspapers overall, about alleged vote tampering at JJJ in this year's Hottest 100 Of All Time. Specifically, Hack journalists re-analysed the votes and came up with results which were substantially different to the official results. They believe this suggests that results were tampered with, perhaps to ensure the final CD would sell well in stores. ABC Head of Radio Kate Dundas is quoted in The Australian as saying:
So the journalists did not have access to all the data and therefore the algorithm was wrong.
The journalists, James West and Kate O'Toole, apparently were using the base set of 487,000 votes, and were missing up to another 50,000 votes which were submitted outside of JJJ's pre-fab voting system.

Look, it's possible that those 50,000 votes juggled around the bottom, say, 50 songs, and some songs would have dropped out if the journos had included those votes. I saw something similar with my own poll - those bottom ranks are very perilous places to dwell, with lots of hungry, ambitious tunes seeking to knock you off by getting just one ... more ... vote! However, I find it highly unlikely that James and Kate felt they had uncovered something so significant, that would have been rectified by including only another 10%-odd more songs. It just doesn't seem statistically likely. But, until the ABC allow the story to go to air, we just won't know for sure, will we?

Here is the letter to the editor I just sent The Australian:
I'm actually a bit relieved to hear there are suspicions of tampered results with the Triple J Hottest 100 Of All Time. As a big fan of a range of artists, including women, it was so disappointing to see that almost no women appeared in the entire countdown. To think that they may have been edited out to make way for men - well, it's also disappointing, but it does give me renewed faith in the Triple J audience. While we wait for Triple J to release this updated set of results, readers may enjoy listening to the results of another poll, run in the weeks after Triple J's - the Hottest 100 Women Of All Time. This countdown is made up entirely of songs by female artists, as voted by Australians online at Twitter and Facebook. I gathered over 7,000 votes over 4 weeks, and the final countdown can be found (and listened along to) at http://hottest100women.blogspot.com. Hopefully Triple J's next Hottest 100 Of All Time countdown will include more of the songs that appeared in my final Hottest 100.

Monday, August 31, 2009

On radio, yet again!

Okay, the excellent Karen of Joy 94.9 FM has invited me to be on her show this Wednesday 12-2pm. I heartily recommend you all listen along - Joy does wonderful work as Australia's only gay and lesbian radio station, and did their own little non-JJJ countdown this year (though I can't find any record of it online - help please?) considering how straight JJJ's countdown was.

So I'm going to be schmoozing with Karen about the Hottest100Women experience (it should really be called Hottest110Women, shouldn't it?), and we'll be playing some of the most excellent music ever - HEY, AS VOTED BY YOU!!!

Rawr, etc.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

Okay, so, this song is just a little bit strange. Someone wanted to know who sung it (and, I assume, why it had that title!), so I've dug up some information.

It was recorded originally by Klaatu (yes, like Klaatu Baradu Nictu, you crazy sci-fi fans) in 1976 - and I'm not sure if it's tongue-in-cheek, or just faintly wacky. But it's something to do with *ahem* contacting aliens.

Now, the Carpenters covered it in 1977, and again, I have no clue whether irony was a deciding factor in this big career step of theirs. Honestly people, I really have no idea wtf is going on with this song.

Christopher Johnson from Facebook, you voted for this - you owe us all an explanation!

Wonderful interview!

I'm becoming an old hand at this radio interview thing. Which is to say, today I was on radio for the 2nd time as the official Hottest100Women voice. And it was so much fun! Even though I ran late due to horrific footy traffic on Punt Road. The wonderful Hayley Van Es was very understanding, and helped me get right into the groove very comfortably. The show is "Girly Is Good" on 3CR (855am), and I'm going to start listening to it religiously now - just like with "Byte Into It", with the wonderful host Sarah Stokely, on 3RRR, the experience of actually participating on the show has made me realise how important these shows are, and how much I want to actually pay attention! (I admit, I'm much more a music fan than talk on the radio - due to spending a year working as a transcription typist and ending up hating talkback radio - I know it's not the same as these shows, but hey, I'm now scarred for life.)

Anyway, 3CR absolutely rocked, so go subscribe, donate, every little bit counts. In fact, they are so cool, they even link to 3RRR and encourage people to donate to them, too. See? Supportive community arts endeavours - how I love you! (And I even intend to come to 3CR's fundraiser this Friday night - and I NEVER go out on Friday nights!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My own votes

Nobody has asked, but nonetheless I feel compelled to share with the world who I would have voted for:
  • Garbage - Bleed Like Me (it's like a callout to all us tortured teenagers from the 90s)
  • Air - All I Need (such a beautiful, calming song)
  • Dionne Warwick - Do You Know The Way To San Jose (love those old-fashioned backing vocals and the sweet lyrics)
  • Gladys Knight and The Pips - Midnight Train To Georgia (so sad, and I love the Doonesbury cartoon strip that referenced it)
  • Fiona Apple - Better Version Of Me (really struck a chord for me as I was counting down to maxillofacial (aka "jaw") surgery)
  • Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine (such an awesome song celebrating the self)
  • Fiona Apple - Paper Bag (perfect melody, gorgeous sentiment, perfect sing-along)
  • Garbage - Vow (this song made me certain that all track #7s were always my favourite)
  • Garbage - Fix Me Now (back when we WERE those tortured teens, this was so perfect)
  • Garbage - Push It (turn it up loud, jump around, then lie back and think of Shirley)
  • Jenny Wilson - Summertime (lilting, perfect, gets me through winter gloom)
  • Jenny Wilson - Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward (such a great song for a control freak like me to listen to)
  • Jill Sobule - Resistance Song (as someone with incredibly vivid dreams, this really struck a chord with me)
  • Michelle Shocked - Anchorage (an homage to the endurance of friendships and the changes of growing up, and so elegant)
  • Sleater-Kinney - All Hands On The Bad One (oh hell yes, turn it up and rock)
  • Veruca Salt - Seether (this was my teen angst wrapped up in my tortured teen soul)
  • Four Non Blondes - What's Going On (musically gorgeous, impassioned, and felt so meaningful as a kid)
  • Lisa Loeb - Stay (makes me tear up, taught me about relationships before I even contemplated them)

Where to from here?

I've been home sick today, and have spent some time thinking about what to do with the immense amounts of support, enthusiasm, interest, and general positivity which have emerged from the whole hottest 100 womene experience. And here are some of my plans for this whole project, going forward.

  1. Release a CD of as many of the tracks as possible, like JJJ's own Hottest 100 CDs.
  2. Organise an iTunes playlist for all the tracks.
  3. Hold another countdown next year, to coincide with the JJJ Hottest 100 - Hottest 100 Women songs for the year.
  4. Release some more stats from this year, since y'all seem to love them.
  5. Continue using this blog and the Twitter account to talk about women and music, the arts, feminism, the whole shebang.
So, although this year's countdown has finished, the Hottest 100 Women project has just begun. Please stay subscribed to the blog and to the Twitter account to keep up with what's happening, suggest your own ideas, provide me with feedback, and continue discussing the brilliance that is women's music.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The top 110 - the final list

Here is the final, ultimate, total, absolute (until next year) list of the top 100 songs as sung by a woman (or a band with 2 or more women in it), as voted by YOU.

1 Respect Aretha Franklin USA 1967
2 Wuthering Heights Kate Bush England 1978
3 Cornflake Girl Tori Amos USA 1994
4 Glory Box Portishead England 1994
6 Cannonball Breeders USA 1993
6 Piece Of My Heart Janis Joplin USA 1968
7 Nothing Compares 2 U Sinead O'Connor Ireland 1990
8 Son Of A Preacher Man Dusty Springfield England 1968
9 Seether Veruca Salt USA 1994
11 Fade Into You Mazzy Star USA 1994
11 Hyperballad Bjork Iceland 1995
13 Fast Car Tracy Chapman USA 1988
13 Maps Yeah Yeah Yeahs USA 2003
14 Running Up That Hill Kate Bush England 1985
15 Good Fortune PJ Harvey England 2000
19 Gorecki Lamb England 1997
19 Heart Of Glass Blondie USA 1979
19 Jolene Dolly Parton USA 1974
19 Violet Hole USA 1995
20 I Touch Myself Divinyls Australia 1991
22 Dirty Jeans Magic Dirt Australia 2000
22 I Love Rock And Roll Joan Jett and The Blackhearts USA 1981
24 Brass In Pocket Pretenders England 1979
24 Time After Time Cyndi Lauper USA 1984
27 Constant Craving k.d. lang Canada 1992
27 Paper Planes M.I.A. England 2007
27 Strange Fruit Billie Holiday USA 1939
30 Big Yellow Taxi Joni Mitchell Canada 1970
30 Like A Prayer Madonna USA 1989
30 sheela na Gig PJ Harvey England 1992
35 Army Of Me Bjork Iceland 1995
35 Call Me Blondie USA 1980
35 Human Behaviour Bjork Iceland 1993
35 You Ought To Know Alanis Morissette Canada 1995
35 Zombie Cranberries Ireland 1994
40 A Case Of You (Joni Mitchell) Joni Mitchell Canada 1971
40 At Last Etta James USA 1960
40 Babooshka Kate Bush England 1980
40 Breathe Me Sia Australia 2004
40 Celebrity Skin Hole USA 1998
45 Boys In Town Divinyls Australia 1981
45 Kool Thing Sonic Youth USA 1990
45 Linger Cranberries Ireland 1993
45 Push It (Salt and Pepa) Salt N Pepa USA 1987
45 You're So Vain (Carly Simon) Carly Simon USA 1972
51 Closer To Fine Indigo Girls USA 1989
51 Go your own way Fleetwood Mac England 1977
51 Just A Girl No Doubt USA 1995
51 Man Overboard Do Re Mi Australia 1985
51 Rehab Amy Winehouse England 2006
51 Standing In The Way Of Control Gossip USA 2006
54 Crucify Tori Amos USA 1992
54 Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Cyndi Lauper USA 1983
54 These Boots Are Made For Walking Nancy Sinatra USA 1966
59 Atomic Blondie USA 1979
59 Bloody Mother Fucking Assholes Martha Wainwright Canada 2004
59 Central Reservation Beth Orton England 1999
59 It's Oh So Quiet Bjork Iceland 1995
59 Untouchable Face Ani DiFranco USA 1996
68 London Still Waifs Australia 2002
68 Me And Bobby McGee Janis Joplin USA 1971
68 Samson Regina Spektor USA 2002
68 Scar Missy Higgins Australia 2004
68 Sweet Dreams Eurythmics England 1983
68 Teardrop Massive Attack England 1998
68 This Mess We're In PJ Harvey England 2000
68 Vogue Madonna USA 1990
68 What's Up Four Non Blondes USA 1993
73 99 Luftballons Nena Germany 1984
73 Doll Parts Hole USA 1994
73 Miss World Hole USA 1994
73 Only Happy When It Rains Garbage USA 1995
73 Stay (Lisa Loeb) Lisa Loeb USA 1994
85 Coin-Operated Boy Dresden Dolls USA 2004
85 Devilgate Drive Suzi Quatro USA 1974
85 Feeling Good Nina Simone USA 1965
85 Fuck The Pain Away Peaches Canada 2000
85 Gloria Patti Smith USA 1975
85 Mercedes Benz Janis Joplin USA 1971
85 One Way Or Another Blondie USA 1978
85 Queer Garbage USA 1995
85 Science Fiction Divinyls Australia 1983
85 White Rabbit Jefferson Airplane USA 1967
85 Winter Tori Amos USA 1992
85 Your Ghost Kristen Hersh USA 1994
95 Criminal Fiona Apple USA 1996
95 Deceptacon Le Tigre USA 1999
95 Down By The Water PJ Harvey England 1995
95 Edge Of Seventeen Stevie Nicks USA 1981
95 Fast As You Can Fiona Apple USA 1999
95 Joga Bjork Iceland 1997
95 Luka Suzanne Vega USA 1987
95 Rhiannon Fleetwood Mac England 1975
95 Roads Portishead England 1994
95 Talkin' 'bout A Revolution Tracy Chapman USA 1988
110 1 2 3 4 Feist Canada 2007
110 Back To Black Amy Winehouse England 2006
110 Cloudbusting Kate Bush England 1985
110 Don't Speak No Doubt USA 1996
110 Fidelity Regina Spektor USA 2006
110 Horses Patti Smith USA 1975
110 I Will Survive Gloria Gaynor USA 1978
110 Landslide Fleetwood Mac England 1975
110 My Baby Just Cares For Me Nina Simone USA 1958
110 On The Radio Regina Spektor USA 2006
110 Precious Things Tori Amos USA 1992
110 Rapture Blondie USA 1981
110 Stop! Sam Brown England 1988
110 The Fear Lily Allen England 2009
110 Vow Garbage USA 1995

Post-poll statistics and facts

Playing with spreadsheets and pivottables creates some wonderfully interesting statistics and nuggets of yummiest information. Here are some of them:
  1. Australia had 8 songs in the top 100. 3 of these were by the Divinyls. P.S. Chrissie Amphlett is a goddess.
  2. At least we beat Canada, who had 7 songs.
  3. England beat us resoundingly with 23.
  4. Joke's on them - US had 62.
  5. Bjork and Blondie had the most songs in the top 100, with 5 each.
  6. The earliest song in the top 100 was Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday, from 1939. The most recent was The Fear by Lily Allen, from 2009. That's 70 years between the two, incidentally.
  7. The most popular decade was the 1990s, with 43 of the top 100.
  8. 1980s came second, with 20.
  9. The number 1 song is a cover.
  10. Songs I didn't know I knew in the top 100 included: Glory Box, Professional Widow (edited to add: woops, this was NOT in the top 100, or 110! sorry!), Kool Thing, Miss World, Brass In Pocket, Closer To Fine.
  11. Personal names in the top 100: Luka, Rhiannon, Gloria, Samson, Bobby, Jolene.
  12. Song I could have sworn I was the only person in the world to know: Seether (9th place).
  13. The top 11 was over half American.
  14. The highest Australian song came in at 20th - I Touch Myself, by Divinyls. It had previously been Magic Dirt's "Dirty Jeans", which ended up at 22nd.
  15. An ex-Australian Idol contestant, Lisa Mitchell, got quite a few votes.
  16. Some of the poppier artists you may not have expected to be voted for include: Spice Girls, Janet Jackson, Avril Lavigne, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Destiny's Child, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera.
  17. Some song titles that made me laugh: be careful what you pray for, Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft, Can Anyone Who Has Heard This Music Really Be A Bad Person?, Feminists Don't Have A Sense Of Humour, Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter, What's Your Take On Cassavetes, Too Drunk to Fuck, The Largest Elizabeth in the World, Sweet Potato, Get off the internet!, I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked
  18. The only users to vote for more than 1 song, and have ALL their votes appear in the top 110: @attentive, kat (voting on Fuck Politeness' blog), Kate Leitch, Kate Miller-Heidke (the one and only), and Mortisha (voting on Fuck Politeness' blog).
  19. Some other high scoring users: Alex Horwood (83% of 12 votes), Sarah Easton (74% of 19 votes), Maeve Marsden (72% of 25 votes), and @vodkandlime (68% of 19 votes).
  20. Of all the people who had none of their songs appear in the top 110, @mbd wins with 25 votes, none of which appeared in the final results. Go @mbd!
  21. The biggest voting day was the second last day, 6/8/09, with 1,184 votes recorded.
  22. Songs which were in the top 110 for a while but were beaten out in the last few days: Birthday by Sugarcubes, Caught A Lite Sneeze by Tori Amos, Come On Come On by Little Birdy (awww Aussie), Divorcee By 23 by Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set (more Aussie!), La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf (awww Frenchie!), My Island Home by Christine Anu (you get the picture), Alive And Brilliant by Deborah Conway, Work It by Missy Elliott, and Oh Bondage Up Yours by X-ray Spex (bugger!).
Any more stats you'd like? Ask and ye shall receive.

The countdown! NUMBER 1!!!

"Respect", by Aretha Franklin, from USA, in 1967

Kate and Aretha battled it out for the #1 position. Aretha held it from a few days into voting, then Kate surged ahead to keep it for about 9 days in the middle. In the last 3 days though, Aretha came back and held her ground. With 7% more votes than "Wuthering Heights", "Respect" - a song written about how men deserved more respect from women - came to win the poll for the best female-performed song of all time.

Not bad.

This version is from a while back, and is faster than the version from the Blues Brothers you (like myself) may be familiar with. I quite like this, as it's nice and boppy and keeps moving along.

The countdown! Number 2!!!

"Wuthering Heights", by Kate Bush, from England, in 1978

Poor Kate - she nearly took out the number 1 position, but it was not meant to be. She had the most votes out of any artist or band voted for, a full 50% more than the artist/band who/which took out the number 1 position - but her votes were spread across an amazing 36 songs. This video clip is a wonderful late-night Rage occurrence - I remember watching dumbly as the red dress just kept swirling and swirling ...

The countdown! Number 3!!!

"Cornflake Girl", by Tori Amos, from USA, in 1994

Tori put in a very good showing. She had the second highest number of votes overall, and, along with Madonna, has the most songs voted for overall - a mindblowing 40! Four of her songs were in the top 40 - the same as PJ Harvey and Kate Bush. Tori was also the most fun to find good video clips for on YouTube, as her live performances are just wonderful. So, settle back and enjoy.

The countdown! Number 4!!!

Position 4:

"Glory Box", by Portishead, from England, in 1994

The countdown! Numbers 5-6!!!

Positions 5-6, tied:

"Cannonball", by Breeders, from USA, in 1995
"Piece Of My Heart", by Janis Joplin, from USA, in 1968

Incidental fact: I kept calling her "Jamie Jimplin" after watching 30 Rock.

The countdown! Number 7!!!

Position 7:

"Nothing Compares 2 U", by Sinead O'Connor, from Ireland, in 1990

The countdown! Number 8!!!

Position 8:

"Son Of A Preacher Man", by Dusty Springfield, from England, in 1968

Incidental fact: This is a fracking sexy song.

The countdown! Number 9!!!

Position 9:

"Seether", by Veruca Salt, from USA, in 1994

Incidental fact: I really REALLY loved Seether growing up, but I never saw the video clip, or even a photo of the band. I now almost cry thinking I never got to see them live.

The countdown! Numbers 10-11

The top 10! Very, VERY exciting. Well, really, the top 11, because two songs tied in positions 10-11. Anyway, let's get this underway.

Positions 10-11, tied:

"Fade Into You", by Mazzy Star, from USA, in 1994
"Hyperballad", by Bjork, from Iceland, in 1995

Monday, August 10, 2009

The countdown! Positions 12-20

This post is a bit different. Work with me here ...

Position 20:

"I Touch Myself", by Divinyls, from Australia, in 1991

Incidental fact: This is a fracking sexy video clip. Holy crap. I got steamed up watching it.

Positions 16-19, tied:

"Gorecki", by Lamb, from England, in
"Heart Of Glass", by Blondie, from USA, in 1979
"Jolene", by Dolly Parton, from USA, in 1974
"Violet", by Hole, from USA, in 1995

Incidental fact: Jolene is such a beautiful song! And Dolly Parton is drop-dead gorgeous. And I LOVE her voice. I must listen to more country music.

Position 15:

"Good Fortune", by PJ Harvey, from England, in 2000

Position 14:

"Running Up That Hill", by Kate Bush, from England, in 1985

Positions 12-13, tied:

"Fast Car", by Tracy Chapman, from USA, in 1988
"Maps", by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, from USA, in 2003

Incidental fact: "Maps" is the highest ranking song from the 2000s. Also, I didn't realise so many people loved "Fast Car". I think it's a wonderful song. Plus, how amazing is she live!

The countdown! Positions 21-22

Here are the songs which tied at positions 21 through to 22, in alphabetical order.

  • "Dirty Jeans", by Magic Dirt, from Australia, in 2000
  • "I Love Rock And Roll", by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, from USA, in 1981

The countdown! Positions 23-24

Here are the songs which tied at positions 23 through to 24, in alphabetical order.

"Brass In Pocket", by Pretenders, from England, in 1979
"Time After Time", by Cyndi Lauper, from USA, in 1984

Incidental fact: I really wanted to include a clip from Strictly Ballroom for Time After Time.

The countdown! Positions 25-27

Here are the songs which tied at positions 25 through to 27, in alphabetical order.

  • "Constant Craving", by k.d. lang, from Canada, in 1992
  • "Paper Planes", by M.I.A., from England, in 2007
  • "Strange Fruit", by Billie Holiday, from USA, in 1939

Incidental fact: The lyrics for Strange Fruit were written by a Jewish poet after seeing this photo:

The countdown! Positions 28-30

Here are the songs which tied at positions 28 through to 30, in alphabetical order.

  • "Big Yellow Taxi", by Joni Mitchell, from Canada, in 1970
  • "Like A Prayer", by Madonna, from USA, in 1989
  • "Sheela Na Gig", by PJ Harvey, from England, in 1992

Incidental fact: Sheela Na Gig is a type of fertility goddess statue from Ireland. Also, without being able to show the actual video clip for Like A Prayer, you're stuck with live versions - and she doesn't sound as hot in them. Sorry Madonna!

The countdown! Positions 31-35

Here are the songs which tied at positions 31 through to 35, in alphabetical order.

  • "Army Of Me", by Bjork, from Iceland, in 1995
  • "Call Me", by Blondie, from USA, in 1980
  • "Human Behaviour", by Bjork, from Iceland, in 1993
  • "You Ought To Know", by Alanis Morissette, from Canada, in 1995
  • "Zombie", by Cranberries, from Ireland, in 1994

Incidental fact: This is a very I set of songs. Go Bjork go! Also, Alanis does a wonderful cover of "My Humps". Go watch it.

The countdown! Positions 36-40

Here are the songs which tied at positions 36 through to 40, in alphabetical order.

  • "A Case Of You", by Joni Mitchell, from Canada, in 1971
  • "At Last", by Etta James, from USA, in 1960
  • "Babooshka", by Kate Bush, from England, in 1980
  • "Breathe Me", by Sia, from Australia, in 2004
  • "Celebrity Skin", by Hole, from USA, in 1998

Incidental fact: Babooshka tells a really nifty story. Pay attention to the words.

The countdown! Positions 41-45

Here are the songs which tied at positions 41 through to 45, in alphabetical order.

  • "Boys In Town", by Divinyls, from Australia, in 1981
  • "Kool Thing", by Sonic Youth, from USA, in 1990
  • "Linger", by Cranberries, from Ireland, in 1993
  • "Push It", by Salt N Pepa, from USA, in 1987
  • "You're So Vain", by Carly Simon, from USA, in 1972

Incidental fact: What great dancers are Salt and Pepa! Or am I just tremendously dated in my music taste?

The countdown! Positions 46-51

Here are the songs which tied at positions 46 through to 51, in alphabetical order.

Indigo Girls - Closer To Fine (Official Music Video) - More bloopers are a click away

  • "Closer To Fine", by Indigo Girls, from USA, in 1989
  • "Go your own way", by Fleetwood Mac, from England, in 1977
  • "Just A Girl", by No Doubt, from USA, in 1995
  • "Man Overboard", by Do Re Mi, from Australia, in 1985
  • "Rehab", by Amy Winehouse, from England, in 2006
  • "Standing In The Way Of Control", by Gossip, from USA, in 1993

Incidental fact: Robin Z, my roommate in Jerusalem in 1997, introduced me to the Indigo Girls. Robin, I owe you. They are still wonderful. Incidentally, how insanely hot is Beth Ditto? Work that stage!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The countdown! Positions 52-54

Here are the songs which tied at positions 52 through to 54, in alphabetical order.

  • "Crucify", by Tori Amos, from USA, in 1992
  • "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", by Cyndi Lauper, from USA, in 1983
  • "These Boots Are Made For Walking", by Nancy Sinatra, from USA, in 1966

Incidental fact: Words cannot express how thrilled I am that a childhood favourite of mine - Girls Just Wanna ... - made it into the top 100. And Nancy Sinatra may not have been such an amazing singer, but how cute is her clip?

The countdown! Positions 55-59

Here are the songs which tied at positions 55 through to 59, in alphabetical order.

  • "Atomic", by Blondie, from USA, in 1979
  • "Bloody Mother Fucking Assholes", by Martha Wainwright, from Canada, in 2004
  • "Central Reservation", by Beth Orton, from England, in 1999
  • "It's Oh So Quiet", by Bjork, from Iceland, in 1995
  • "Untouchable Face", by Ani DiFranco, from USA, in 1996

Incidental fact: Go watch the actual video clip for It's Oh So Quiet - it's a hoot.

The countdown! Positions 60-68

Here are the songs which tied at positions 60 through to 68, in alphabetical order.

  • "London Still", by Waifs, from Australia, in 2002
  • "Me And Bobby McGee", by Janis Joplin, from USA, in 1971
  • "Samson", by Regina Spektor, from USA, in 2002
  • "Scar", by Missy Higgins, from Australia, in 2004
  • "Sweet Dreams", by Eurythmics, from England, in 1994
  • "Teardrop", by Massive Attack, from England, in 1998
  • "This Mess We're In", by PJ Harvey, from England, in 2000
  • "Vogue", by Madonna, from USA, in 1990
  • "What's Up", by Four Non Blondes, from USA, in 1993

Incidental fact: Waifs singer was on Spicks and Specks recently where she admitted to only having spent 2 days in London. Also, go watch the actual video clip for Teardrop if you haven't already. And Four Non Blondes - love the hat, still! Janis Joplin, how we miss you.

The countdown! Positions 69-73

Here are the songs which tied at positions 69 through to 73, in alphabetical order.

  • "99 Luftballons", by Nena, from Germany, in 1984
  • "Doll Parts", by Hole, from USA, in 1994
  • "Miss World", by Hole, from USA, in 1994
  • "Only Happy When It Rains", by Garbage, from USA, in 1995
  • "Stay (Lisa Loeb)", by Lisa Loeb, from USA, in 1994

Incidental fact: This is a VERY 90s group of songs. Lisa Loeb, we all still get teary eyed when we hear this song. (Don't we?)

The countdown! Positions 74-85

Here are the songs which tied at positions 74 through to 85, in alphabetical order.

  • "Coin-Operated Boy", by Dresden Dolls, from USA, in 2004
  • "Devilgate Drive", by Suzi Quatro, from USA, in 1974
  • "Feeling Good", by Nina Simone, from USA, in 1965
  • "Fuck The Pain Away", by Peaches, from Canada, in 2000
  • "Gloria", by Patti Smith, from USA, in 1975
  • "Mercedes Benz", by Janis Joplin, from USA, in 1971
  • "One Way Or Another", by Blondie, from USA, in 1978
  • "Queer", by Garbage, from USA, in 1995
  • "Science Fiction", by Divinyls, from Australia, in 1983
  • "White Rabbit", by Jefferson Airplane, from USA, in 1967
  • "Winter", by Tori Amos, from USA, in 1992
  • "Your Ghost", by Kristen Hersh, from USA, in 1994

Incidental fact: This is a scary list. There are ghosts, devils, things of science fiction, and even androids. Oh god, how great is the Peaches video?? Incidentally, there are no Garbage songs from their 4th album, which is a pity - I really love "Bleed Like Me", and it was only voted for twice. Oh by the way - how wonderful is Patti Smith?

The countdown! Positions 86-95

Here are the songs which tied at positions 86 through to 95, in alphabetical order.

  • "Criminal", by Fiona Apple, from USA, in 1996
  • "Deceptacon", by Le Tigre, from USA, in 1999
  • "Down By The Water", by PJ Harvey, from England, in 1995
  • "Edge Of Seventeen", by Stevie Nicks, from USA, in 1981
  • "Fast As You Can", by Fiona Apple, from USA, in 1999
  • "Joga", by Bjork, from Iceland, in 1997
  • "Luka", by Suzanne Vega, from USA, in 1987
  • "Rhiannon", by Fleetwood Mac, from England, in 1975
  • "Roads", by Portishead, from England, in 1994
  • "Talkin' 'bout A Revolution", by Tracy Chapman, from USA, in 1988

Incidental fact: I adore Fiona Apple. This was her first single. And she STILL rocks. And how much does Luka still make me cry :(

The countdown! Positions 96-110

There are a lot of ties in the poll, which means a lot of equal positions. Here are the songs which tied at positions 96 through to 110, in alphabetical order.

  • "1 2 3 4", by Feist, from Canada, in 2007 (the official video)
  • "Back To Black", by Amy Winehouse, from England, in 2006
  • "Cloudbusting", by Kate Bush, from England, in 1985
  • "Don't Speak", by No Doubt, from USA, in 1996
  • "Fidelity", by Regina Spektor, from USA, in 2006
  • "Horses", by Patti Smith, from USA, in 1975
  • "I Will Survive", by Gloria Gaynor, from USA, in 1978
  • "Landslide", by Fleetwood Mac, from England, in 1975
  • "My Baby Just Cares For Me", by Nina Simone, from USA, in 1958
  • "On The Radio", by Regina Spektor, from USA, in 2006
  • "Precious Things", by Tori Amos, from USA, in 1992
  • "Rapture", by Blondie, from USA, in 1981
  • "Stop!", by Sam Brown, from England, in 1988
  • "The Fear", by Lily Allen, from England, in 2009
  • "Vow", by Garbage, from USA, in 1995

Incidental fact: "The Fear" is the only song in the top 100 from this year. For a while there I wasn't sure if it was Cloudbusting or Cloudbursting.

Good morning starshine!

Okay, it's the morning of the countdown. The playlists are set, the blog posts are ready, the candy and awesome Asian Grocery food has been purchased, everything is organised.

Oh and something else I forgot to mention - people have been sending me short paragraphs about why they chose the songs they did. I had hoped to use these, 1 for each top 100 song - but only about 10% of songs have had paras written. That's okay, but please, if you're one of those people who wrote paras - don't be offended that they're not being used!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Preparing for the countdown

The past 3+ weeks have been an absolutely wonderful experience, both because I love women's music (more than I would have guessed - the more I hear, the more I love!), and because I love spreadsheets! I've been compiling votes, and watching with interests as songs skyrocket up and down the chart. Here are some things to be aware of before you start viewing the results.

  1. There are a lot of songs which have the same number of votes, meaning that they're tied. So this countdown doesn't have 1 song in position 100, 1 in position 99, etc. Instead, it's more like 10 songs in positions 90-100.
  2. I am quite a shy person, so there's no way in hell I could bring myself to do podcasts or vodcasts for this countdown. I'm better with the written word. So, I'm publishing the results by blog.
  3. This was 99.9% a one-woman operation. So, I'm limited with the amount of research I could get done (even with the help of some wonderful people on Twitter and off), and the amount of data validation I could achieve. So, some song names will be incorrect - perhaps it's "Gimme yo' money", and I've written it as "Give Me Your Money". Sorry about that. Same goes for artist/band names. I've written it as "Pink", not "P!nk". You may just have to deal with it!
  4. I've tried to get the best versions of songs that I could in YouTube. I may not have included your favourite version, or a version from another site. Please feel free to add a comment with the URL of the version you would have included.
  5. Comments are on. Go crazy, have a blast. Sexist, racist, generally offensive comments will be REMOVED. This is supposed to be a positive, feminist, inclusive, open, honest, joyous celebration of women's music - NOT an opportunity to debate whether this poll should have gone ahead at all.
  6. I didn't restrict people to only 10 votes because that would have been hard to police. Let's say you write a Facebook post requesting 11 songs. Well, which one should I remove? So I write to you to ask you to nominate one to remove. You never write back. Okay, that's 10 votes I've lost. Meanwhile, that's a hell of a lot more administration for me to do. It just wasn't realistic. If I had written a survey at Surveymonkey, for example, restricting people to just 10 songs, I would have had less people participating - the more you make people click to get to where you want them to go, the less likely they are to arrive there.

I think that's it. Any other questions, please write them in the comments and I will respond.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Because I am disappointed, frustrated and angry about the JJJ results. I am saddened that people don't think of women as equally important artists as men. I'm frustrated that even though they recognise most of the names of artists voted for, I still have men saying to me "yeah but is there that much women's music, I mean reallly?" Yes, there is! There's wonderful music that has been absolutely seminal, integral, core, call it what you will but it has been extremely important - Hole, Patti Smith, Aretha, Tori Amos, the whole Riot Grrrl movement! So, Australian youth have voted on JJJ, and the results are in, but I don't believe that we need to therefore accept that women have no place in "the best of all time". I simply don't accept that those results objectively, empirically prove anything. Except that JJJ's potted histories on their website, guiding people through the musical decades, and including only a minute handful of women's artists, wasn't a good move on JJJ's part. Except that people need to be reminded of the genuine contributions women have made to music, the wonderful creations they have made. Except that JJJ may still play Nirvana, but perhaps doesn't still play Hole.

There has been a lot of wonderful articles and blogs written about why the JJJ results are disappointing and should not be taken lying down. But apart from one or two attempts with unfortunately very small audiences, nobody has actually tried to find out what women's songs would have been voted for. And I feel we missed out - following JJJ's results online, what I saw emerge was that none of my favourite women artists were represented. Not one. I felt left out. I felt like my music didn't even exist. Being "the other", "invisible", really hit hard. And I am sad that the fans of women artists didn't get the same thrills listening to the countdown than the fans of male artists. I wanted to create for us the same experience - the fun, the excitement, the anticipation, the competition, the thrill of waiting for number one - and, this time, knowing that women wouldn't be ignored. So if anyone says "why don't you chicks stop complaining about it?" I can respond with "we're not just complaining - we're DOING something too." We don't want to just whinge - we want to see women represented.