Song of the Year

Presented by APRA AMCOS

When they came over the airwaves, which of these six bona fide bangers had you feverishly disrobe, jump out of your moving Uber and roll onto the nature strip yelling “TUUUUUNE”? All of them? Well you can only vote for one so maybe just choose the song that made you roll the furthest yeah?   

 

ONEFOUR

ONEFOUR – ‘Spot the Difference’

In 2019, Western Sydney rappers ONEFOUR fast became one of the most talked about groups not only in Sydney, but across the globe. Claiming the title of Australia’s first drill group, they take liberal inspiration from their UK drill counterparts, vividly rapping about the harsh realities of life on the streets. Their single ‘Spot the Difference’ preceded their rise to notoriety, and has since become an anthem epitomising everything that ONEFOUR stand for. Despite an ongoing battle with local authorities insistent on shutting down their performances, citing unfounded claims that their lyrics could incite violence, ONEFOUR have amassed a worldwide following of supporters who are acutely aware of both the hypocrisy of ONEFOUR’s critics, and the gravity of the group’s voice as an emblem for representation and resistance.

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EGOISM

EGOISM – ‘What Are We Doing?’

‘Egoism’ by definition might be for one’s self-interest, but this band’s music is for the people. What Are We Doing? was inspired by their creative partnership and friendship, but the lyrics speak to anyone plagued with self doubt and existential dread. A wistful longing for a childhood long gone, far from the current mires and self doubt of adulthood runs deep throughout the song, whether it is intentional or not; from the hazy nostalgia of the instrumentals to the way the duo’s starkly different vocals render steadily and twine together at certain points to create a dreamy, misty sound that’ll give listeners goosebumps. 

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Ngaiire

Ngaiire – ‘Shiver’

Three years on from her the release of her second album Blastoma, Ngaiire reemerges with ‘Shiver’ – a haunting, drawn out expression of grief and longing. The single, dedicated to her late grandmother, is a return to her roots, as it explores Papa New Guinean ancestral beliefs and the mystery of the afterlife. Brimming with wailing otherworldly vocals, hypnotic instrumentals and a goosebump inducing, heart-quickening beat, Ngaiire’s masterful songwriting merges the painful grief of loss with the mysticism of life after death, and the comfort in knowing her grandmother has now joined the ancestors, who watch over her as she navigates life in Australia.

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A.GIRL

A.GIRL – ‘2142’

Granville’s A.GIRL is 19 years old with plenty to say. Her debut single is a fresh, audacious R&B track which wrestles with the harsh realities of navigating life as a teen of colour in Granville when all you want to do is kick it with your friends. Brimming with bassy synths and a steady beat, A.GIRL’s songwriting stands firm, and the reality of life in 2142 becomes chillingly crushing as the real life sample of a girl from the area being arrested plays in the chorus. ‘2142’ proves that A.GIRL knows her place in Australia as a Maori girl in Western Sydney, and she resolutely throws it back into the face of the system which has put her in this box. 

Photo: Kumehanik

Shady Nasty

Shady Nasty – ‘Get Buff’

On the surface Shady Nasty takes the form of a traditional power trio, but they’ve hit on a sound and aesthetic that feels anything but traditional. Punk meets trap in the dynamic, ominous arrangements and barked vocals that have become the band’s signature. Get Buff develops their effect-heavy alt punk hip hop, chronicling, in their words, ‘young adulthood unfolding in the diversity of Sydney’. The staggering synth tones wrap themselves around the vocals, giving the effect of a strangled, croaky voice; one which echoes the raw vulnerability of the song’s lyrics. Its slow oozing tempo and encrypted rhythms makes ‘Get Buff’ a challenging but very rewarding listen. 

Photo: Andreas Damouras

Collarbones

Collarbones – ‘Deep’

Collarbones’ ‘Deep’ – off their fourth LP Futurity – is a glittery electro-pop soundscape fraught with passion and want. A drilling bassline meets vocalist Marcus Whale’s impassioned, sometimes whispering, winking vocals as he sings starkly frank lyrics about sex and pleasure. A pulsating beat and groovy bass showered in shimmering melodies with a garnish of synth, altogether makes this the horny club anthem of every party goer’s dreams. Collarbones manage to uncover new boundaries to their musical partnership, throwing themselves into the indulgent, sincere fantasies of pop music with this ambitious, candid and genre-pushing release.

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