Song of the Year - presented by Shure

When they came over our airwaves, which of these eight bona fide ballads caught your ears and held on tight? All of them? Well you can only vote for one so maybe just choose the one that pays the least rent to live in your brain – maybe it even resides there rent-free.

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Vv Pete, Utility – Jordan 1s

On ‘Jordan 1s’, Vv Pete thrives. Teaming up again with Trackwork head and producer Utility, ‘Jordan 1s’ is a brooding, jersey-influenced track that’s as ready for the club as it is a car subwoofer. With an untouchable flow, biting lyricism you’ll be quoting for days, and one of the most memorable hooks of the year it’s clear why Vv Pete has grown far beyond her loyal Sydney fanbase.

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Lottie World – CANDY SOUND

There truly is no one like Lottie World. Her idiosyncratic and deeply intentional music molds bedroom pop into unique territories. ‘CANDY SOUND’, her most assured creation is a certified earworm. Over a twinkling, minimal beat, Lottie World expresses her love with a variety of candy-related punchlines and metaphors (as well as some fun hip hop-inspired adlibs). There’s a degree of tongue-in-cheek, but it’s Lottie’s total earnestness and commitment to the concept that gives ‘CANDY SOUND’ its special, memorable shine. Good luck not getting it not stuck in your head.

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FRIDAY* – Dying in the City

On ‘Dying in the City’, FRIDAY* sets free a generation’s worth of frustrations and longing. An alluring combination of skittering breakbeat and reverb-doused vocals and guitars reflect the overwhelmingness of modern life – spinning out of reach too fast. It’s a song that feels instinctively Sydney, capturing feelings of urban alienation and desire for purpose in what can sometimes feel like a soulless city. Yet it’s the unique vision of artists like FRIDAY* that keep us coming back, through all the messiness – in FRIDAY*’s words, “finding purpose in all the things I hated instead.”

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Eternal Dust – Absinthe

Eternal Dust’s most yearning track, ‘Absinthe’ shows why the band captured the hearts and dreams of so many. Waves of guitars and synths layer, build and drift in and out of the track, like the song itself is inhaling and exhaling deep, wistful breaths. Like all great dream pop bands, the lyrics are just out reach, like wisps of smoke floating away into the night air. Except for a chorus that breaks through the smoke – “repeat after me, spirit runs free!”. While we may not hear from them any time soon after this debut record, the music of Eternal Dust is as it says – forever somewhere out there in the smog of a warm Sydney evening.

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Collarbones – Ripe For Filth

A highlight off their final album Filth, Collarbones soar on the (almost) titular track. Sweeping guitar lines, harkening back to the 90s shoegaze the duo grew up with combine with the undeniably hooky melodies that typify the duo’s future-pop sensibility. It makes for a cathartic sense of nostalgia, starry-eyed listening, a ballad of stadium-sized proportions. It’s a fitting mic drop for one of Sydney’s most beloved and important artists.

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Becca Hatch, Club Angel – Ride For Me

‘Ride For Me’ is a testament to the art of collaboration. Club Angel has been making some of the most giddily energetic dance music in the Sydney; Becca Hatch is a standout in Sydney’s rnb scene. They join forces on ‘Ride For Me’, a sunny throwback slice of 90s UK garage, yet timeless in sound. Showcasing what Becca Hatch and Club Angel both do best, ‘Ride For Me’ is a joyful alchemisation of two Sydney scenes, playful in all the best ways (yes, we’re talking about that boing!).

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cherry chola – Princess Puta

cherry chola is doing things her own way. Her unique brand of reggaeton and neoperreo takes an exciting left turn on the Hearteyes-produced ‘Princess Puta’. It’s deliriously restless, never settling on a particular rhythm and experimenting with other genres like jersey, drill and techno. cherry chola is similarly hard to pin down – deliberately embodying, as she puts it, a “paradoxical persona,” represented in the song title itself. Her delivery is icy cool and assured, yet ‘Princess Puta’ is a bonafide club heater – a statement track from an artist with a boundlessly exciting future.

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AGONY – Friday Night

‘Friday Night’ is a song that fully embodies its title. AGONY push their cloud-rap sound to euphoric new heights, a clocking off anthem with endless quotables (“We international!”). Flashes of glistening, hyperpop-tinged percussion and synths twist and turn around like the blur of a messy and memorable night out. Meticulously crafted, and undeniably catchy, it’s also kind of meta: a song about bumping tracks in the back of your best friend’s ride.

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