Nothing speaks iconic like these 10 Australian songs from the 2000s. Join us on this musically remarkable blast to the past.
Let’s turn back the clock for a moment. You’re in the passenger seat of your friend’s shitbox Camry, and the volume knob is pushed to its limits as you cruise along the highway. Maybe you’re wandering aimlessly through Target, and some tinny speakers make themselves known with some unassuming pop music. Possibly, you’ve slammed shut your poster-laden bedroom door to find solace in some earbuds.
We’re here to soundtrack these nostalgic moments with the 10 most iconic Australian songs from the 2000s. We hope these songs bring back some memories and find a place back into your playlists. Let’s get into it.
UFO – Sneaky Sound System
UFO from Sneaky Sound System went above and beyond the expectations for a dance track. Not only was it irresistibly catchy and toppled with rich and atmospheric synths, but it also boasted an unforgettable vocal performance. Extra-terrestrial claims have never sounded more convicting.
The duo’s self-titled debut album – containing between its walls Pictures, I Love It, You’re Hot, UFO, and eight other electro-pop bangers – would go on to be certified 3x platinum in Australia, an almost unheard of feat for an independent group. And to top it all off, unlike most of the other artists in this list, Sneaky Sound System are still on the tour bus.
As regulars through Ibiza and on Australia’s festival circuit, you can still dance to UFO and the band’s truckload of other hits today. Very soon they’ll be gracing Sydney for the Lakeside Long Lunch on April 24th. If a boogie like it’s 2006 is just what you need right now, find out more about the event here.
In The Summertime – Thirsty Merc
This radio-thrashed hit from Thirsty Merc was a no-nonsense cut of rock that captured laidback Aussie culture effortlessly while also being as “catchy as fucking velcro”. Thirsty Merc’s words, not mine.
It also happened to be the theme song for Bondi Rescue, so who knows how many Aussie’s have sung along to this earworm since its release in 2005. If you’re more up for singing it in person, you can also catch Thirty Merc performing at the upcoming Lakeside Long Lunch on April 24th in Sydney. Grab the event details here.
Sweet About Me – Gabriella Cilmi
With her Amy Winehouse rasp, hypnotic swing, and lyrical bite, Gabriella Cilmi penned one of the decade’s biggest hits at age 16. She revealed to The Independent in 2013 how she knew the breakout track was a hit from the start: “It was written really fast. You know it’s really good because it just comes out like vomit – word vomit”.
Unfortunately, Cilmi wouldn’t capitalise on the power of Sweet About Me with her forthcoming releases, but this one certainly went down in history.
Straight Lines – Silverchair
The raw, audacious sound of Silverchair’s debut Frogstomp (1995) was sadly never topped. Nonetheless, the careful sheen of Straight Lines made for a remarkable comeback.
Everything about this track still feels as grandiose as the day it dropped, from the propulsive synth to the belting chorus. You know, I think it might still be my Myspace song.
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minogue
No conversation about Australian music is complete without the mention of Kyle Minogue. The club-ready Can’t Get You Out Of My Head is raunchy, pulsing, and oh so unforgettable. Just try to get through the “la la la” hook without breaking your hips or moving your mouth.
The track landed the number one spot in not just Australia, but 39 other countries. Rightly so.
Joker and the Thief – Wolfmother
Containing an opening riff that Angus Young would surely applaud, Joker and the Thief proved a refreshing and inspired dose of hard rock. Behind the fist-pumping, stadium worthy tune was also some captivating lyrics relating to Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower, which explores the ‘joker’ and ‘thief’ archetypes.
“I’ve totally ripped it off, Dylan”, Wolfmother frontman Andrew Stockdale confessed to Ultimate Guitar. It’s a hell of a track regardless.
Scar – Missy Higgins
The trusty 4-chord formula has never sounded so good. The Aussie drawl of Missy Higgins, the piano grace-notes, the poignant lyricism; it’s all there and been hitting “too close to home” since 2004.
The word-of-caution lyric “He tried to cut me so I’d fit” was speculated to be about queerness, but the singer/songwriter later revealed the single is actually about her personal experience with recording, co-writing, and the music industry. Have a re-listen and it’ll make sense.
Are You Gonna Be My Girl – JET
A steady tambourine, ridiculously groovy bassline, and a quick clearing of the vocal cords made Are You Gonna Be My Girl an instant hit from the get-go. The triple j Hottest 100 winner from JET was the ultimate blend of energy, lust, angst, and cool, turning lazy hangouts all over the country into raucous affairs.
Highlights include the Motown drums, the guitar solo, the erratic melody, and most of all, the mullets.
4Ever – The Veronicas
Wait, 4Ever, not Untouched?! I hear you, I hear you. However, millennial meme resurgences aside, 4Ever is, in every conceivable way, the superior track. The Veronicas teamed up with Swedish songwriting god Max Martin to make a pop/rock/punk track that slapped throughout – not just during the chorus.
4Ever also manages to tap into some cathartic and universal relatability with its ‘seize the moment’ message. As you mosh out, remember that the clock is always ticking.
My Happiness – Powderfinger
My Happiness was a mammoth of a track back in 2000, but its lasting endurance, 21 years on, proves the genius of Bernard Fanning’s songwriting. The watery four-note guitar riff is a testament to the power of nostalgia, and don’t even get me started on the searing lyrics of love and loneliness.
It’s difficult to create such a powerful rock banger that manages to be sad at the same time, but Powderfinger pulled it off, and their legacy as one of Australia’s rock jewels will shine for years to come.
If all these wonderful songs have inspired a little nostalgia in you – as they well should – then remember you can catch Sneaky Sound System and Thirsty Merc at the Lakside Long Lunch very soon. Dancing is back on the cards for Sydney too, so it’s sure to be a hoot.
Lakeside Long Lunch
Saturday 24th April
Sydney International Regatta Center