Let’s be real, there’s a mate in every friendship circle who thinks their music is “the best in the group.” They’re musically cocky if you will, and I’m here to tell them that the image they have of themselves is most certainly wrong.
That’s right unless your group’s playlist god is a dedicated music-scrounger, chances are their collection is a little lacking. It’s about time we fess up when it comes to the Australian music scene. While it does its best to showcase diverse Australian acts, the reality is it remains an echo chamber comprised almost entirely of US, Australian and UK acts. Most of us (K-pop fans excluded) are listening to music from about 3 out of the 7 continents and as Shania Twain once said: that don’t impress-a-me-much.
Australians just aren’t that good at trying new things. In fact, sometimes Australian culture is just downright toxic. We would never – I repeat – never, listen to a song in a foreign language because what’s the point? The exception here being Eurovision and two Spanish hits: ‘La Macarena’ and ‘Despacito’. And really, Even then Justin Bieber had to make that cringy English version.
So if you’re living on this giant island continent I hate to break it to you but you’ve been missing out. In the past few years, some of the greatest bangers have been produced overseas…they’ve just never made it here.
‘Djadja’ by Aya Nakamura from France
Where is Aya Nakamura’s cult? It makes close to zero sense as to why this Afropop artist isn’t being played on every radio around the world. That being said Nakamura’s song ‘Djadja’ reached number one in France, The Netherlands and Romania in 2018. The singer was born in Mali, West Africa but grew up in the suburbs of Paris. A couple of years ago she started posting her tracks online and now she’s basically a big deal overseas. ‘Djadja’ has a completely called for 432 million views on YouTube.
‘Easy’ by Cro from Germany
‘Easy’ by German rapper Cro peaked in 2012, the year it was released – but you’ve never heard it before, have ya? It takes approximately 3 seconds of listening to get addicted to this song. This track is so smooth understanding the words or not doesn’t matter. ‘Easy’ reached platinum in Germany the year it was released and hit number four on Austrian charts. With 60 million YouTube views it ain’t small peanuts.
‘Callaita’ by Bad Bunny from Puerto Rico
Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, AKA Bad Bunny, is a Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton artist. Also, he makes music better than Drake. Big call, I went there. Ocasio was working in a supermarket and studying when he gained a following on Soundcloud. Now he’s essential listening for any Spanish-speaking young person. His song ‘Callaita’ was released in May of this year and made it into the top 10 in about a billion Latino countries. It’s physiologically impossible not to scream “AYA CALLAITA” during the chorus of this song. It’s that good.
‘Nevermind’ by Dennis Lloyd from Israel
Israel’s Dennis Lloyd creates music that makes you cry about that thing from years ago…in a good way. ‘Nevermind’ doesn’t completely tear the heartstrings apart – the lyrics are deep but they’re paired with an upbeat dance track. Australia recognised its quality last year when the hit reached number 10 on our ARIA chart. In fact, ‘Nevermind’ made it into the top 10 in charts across the world. What Australia doesn’t know is that ‘Nevermind’ is just one of the Israeli musician’s bangers – everything he makes is top-tier.
‘Where Have You Been, My Disco?’ by IV of Spades from The Philippines
‘Where Have You Been, My Disco’ isn’t this Filipino band’s greatest success but I’m almost 100% certain it would be if Australia opened its ears to this banger. Old school funk and disco influences are having their moment again, as seen through the work of huge musicians like Tom Misch and Jungle from the UK and Parcels from Australia. The Filipino band was nominated for Best Southeast Asia Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards and rightly so. It’s hard to come across a bass line this funky. This act looks like something straight outta the ’70s and deserves all the international recognition.
Aussie music fans can almost always fit into two categories: the guy who makes entire playlists consisting of bands from one radio station; or worse, the guy who exclusively listens to rare vinyl records. Let’s have a moment of growth, dear friends, and open our ears to bangers from across the continents.