The Church’s Steve Kilbey: “Nope, The Rubens Do Not Rock”

Steve Kilbey from Aussie rock outfit The Church listened to triple j‘s Hottest 100 yesterday, and isn’t impressed with countdown winners The Rubens, who he says “do not rock” and whose winning song Hoops has “no oomph or grunt”.

Providing his review of the top 10 tracks on this year’s Hottest 100 for The Guardian, Kilbey describes Hoops as “another wry bouncy (little) song, pleasant and innocuous and harmless and twee. No electric guitars were harmed during the making of this record, and no revolution is preached. Catchy to the max, but no oomph or grunt or even twist. This old curmudgeon shrugs his shoulders”.

“Why this song is No 1 eludes me,” Kilbey adds. “Triple J listeners have gone a bit soft, I guess.”

Elsewhere in his Hottest 100 reviews, Kilbey praises Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker as “a bona fide genius” and “an amazing wunderkind”, and also talks up Disclosure and Lorde’s song Magnets (which was number 10 on the Hottest 100) as “urbane, swinging, cool electropop, with some really good lyrics too”.

Kilbey doesn’t give out much praise across the top 10 though, describing Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s Lean On as “meaningless machine-age pop” and Jarryd James’ Do You Remember as a “smooth, manufactured fare”.

When it comes to Hottest 100 runner-up Kendrick Lamar and his track King Kunta, Kilbey seems unaware that his comments might conjure that shot of Principal Skinner saying, “Am I out of touch? No, it’s the children who are wrong,” at least for some.

On King Kunta, Kilbey says, “Sometimes the older generation can’t dig the new trip or remain hip to the latest groove, but if this is second only to the bee’s knees at No 1 then I am flummoxed, because it sounds like a million other things I’ve seen and heard before.”

In the end, Kilbey describe’s the latest Hottest 100 as “easy-listening romantic pop almost all the way, except for Tame Impala’s weirdness and Kendrick’s rap (an almost inexplicably random inclusion)”.

Since Hoops took the top spot on the Hottest 100 of 2015, The Rubens have responded to critics who have called the countdown “unsurprising and safe”. The band are yet to publicly respond to Kilbey’s comments.

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