I wasn’t planning on posting anything about the Triple J Hottest 100, but when I checked it out yesterday and saw that ‘Little Lion Man’ by Mumford & Sons came in at #1, it made me think about the quick cover version that Powderfinger did at Big Day Out the other day.
Before I go any further though, let me say that I love Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More and named it one of my Top 5 Releases of 2009. This is not an attack on the band or the album. In fact, it’s not really an attack at all, and I’m not sure how to answer my own questions here, but I’m wondering all the same.
Prior to launching into their rendition of ‘Little Lion Man’, lead singer Bernard Fanning said something about how he’d just found out what the #1 track was. As he played the first few notes the whole crowd – already massive as most people were there waiting for Muse – roared. There would’ve been few people in the audience who weren’t shouting along, and naturally the crowd got even louder when they reached those pivotal lines
but it was not your fault but mine
and it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
didn’t I, my dear?
As I looked around me (warning: generalisations up ahead) I noted that most of the crowd were trendy metro kids (I believe the American term is ‘hipsters’) and I wondered two things.
a) Would any of these people have bothered listening to Mumford & Sons, if it wasn’t for Triple J’s relentless playing of ‘Little Lion Man’**, conveniently the only song to feature the word ‘fuck’ in the chorus?
I mean, people SCREAMED out the word ‘fucked’ and clapped and cheered and went all kinds of crazy. It was the same at Lily Allen – every time she swore people went nuts. What is it about people swearing in public that’s gets everybody so worked up? Watching the telly and listening to people speak, swearing is already abundant and so I don’t understand why people still get so excited about it.
I feel that I should say something here before I continue. I’m not anti-swearing. I swear with the best of ’em. Not so much here on these pages because I think you can be a decent writer and express your opinions without swearing all the time, but with certain friends and family, yes I do swear. Swearing can be incredibly funny and clever when used in the right way.
Having said that though, I’m not a fan of people swearing just for the hell of it. Or when people swear so often that it’s obvious just how limited their vocabulary is. Or when you’re at the supermarket buying your chocolate and avocados and in aisle 8 you can hear some parent screaming at their four year old to shut the fuck up and get off the fucking trolley.
There is a time and a place. And you shouldn’t swear at your kids.
b) Would Triple J have bothered to include Mumford & Sons on their rotation if they had not written a song with the word ‘fuck’ in the chorus?
Triple J pride themselves on being all daring and alternative. A lot of the songs they play involve swearing. Is that all it takes to be featured in their programming?
Which brings me to a third question:
Would Mumford & Sons’ ‘Little Lion Man’ be #1 on the Triple J Hottest 100 if it didn’t say ‘fuck’ in the chorus?
** I found out from reading the comments on the Triple J Hottest 100 post that ‘Little Lion Man’ was also picked up by popular mainstream radio station Nova, which probably explains why so many people were able to sing along the other day.