Have you ever voted in Triple J’s Hottest 100? Yeah me too. The only reason I voted last time was because there was a song I totally loved. I also thought that the song was going to struggle to get in.
Bad Apples by Briggs came out in 2014. It is a hard and true song. It is about the struggle of intergenerational trauma. It is bold, telling it like it is. Though it also speaks of the way to bring release.
It ain't worth it, who cursed it?
Point the fingers at the ones who birthed it
Brought to earth, a brand new person
The same ones who called 'em all worthless
And called 'em good for nothing, I call them cousin
I call 'em brother and sister, I still love 'em
Brother and sister, I still love 'em
Brother and sister, I still love 'em
Still Makes Me Cry
To this day this song makes me cry. Because I have witnessed this from the outside. We all have known families that are like this. You knew what was going on, but, how do you stop it? To take the kids away solves nothing. Its family, relationship and community that releases these bonds.
Bad Apples ended up 87 in 2014’s Hottest 100. I thought that was a bit of slap in the face. Briggs himself has gone on to bigger things. Briggs acted in the series Cleverman and he writes for the Simpsons’ spinoff Disenchanted. He continues to releases music as part of the duo known as A.B. Original.
For the trash fire of 2020 I found a song I could not ignore. Yes there were other songs that I liked a lot. JK-47 had ‘The Recipe’ from his debut album ‘Made for This’. Stand Atlantic’s Wavelength impressed me. I still want to use it as the opening to an animated series.
During lockdown Run The Jewels released their fourth studio album titled ‘4’. Killer Mike and El-P’s heavy and dark sounds are covered with lyrics that speak a loud, cynical and caustic socialism. As they say in the opening track “Yankee and the Brave”
“We don't mean no harm
But we truly mean all the disrespect”
Right now you may be backing away from this article. Please, not yet. Because you are missing out on the best Jesus shout out since Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Walks’. So, I will give you the TL;DR first. Then you can decide wether you want to continue.
Best Jesus Shout Out 2020
‘Walking in the Snow’ is the sixth track on the album. It is the Best Jesus Shout Out for 2020. Run The Jewels use Jesus in scriptural context, relating it to the social and political ills of their nation, and, as a contrast against ‘pseudo-Christians’ who are indifferent and unable to connect reality with anything Jesus said.
The lyric in question is expelled by Killer Mike as the final riposte of the second verse.
All of us serve the same masters, all of us nothin' but slaves
Never forget in the story of Jesus, the hero was killed by the state
As a theologian, as a Christian, as fan of words and rhyming. I was totally in awe. It could have had something to do with the fact I was in early lockdown and was staying up too late. Though the awe has yet to fade.
Let me continue on how rare ‘Walking in the Snow’ is. It is incredibly rare to get Jesus in a song that does not use Jesus as a swear. Especially to hear it on triplej. If you do get Jesus in a song it is out of biblical context, being used to subvert biblical context, chastising faith, God or religion.
The contextual links to Jesus are not just there as a critique of Pseudo-Chrisitans. It is there to highlight the tragedy of Jesus’ death and the apathy towards the death of George Floyd. In 2016 New York poet Crystal Valentine posted on Youtube a response to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Valentine’s words should make it clear for all of those in the back still not getting it.
"He [Jesus] died in the blackest way possible, with his hands in the air, with his mother watching,"
And again I am crying.
There were other songs that helped me through 2020. They were upbeat and made me smile. Yet when lockdown ended and I thought it was safe enough to go to JB-HiFi guess which album this I bought.
Advisory: Please do not play this song at Church.
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.