It’s that time of year again where we have to sift through all the music released in the last year and figure out what we think is the absolute best song. Yep, it’s Hottest 100 season once again.

Usually, it’s tricky enough trying to sort this shit out in a normal year, but a pandemic year? Mate, I can’t even remember what I did last week, let alone what songs were dropped back in April.

This year’s voting is now open on the Hottest 100 website and closes at 12pm AEDT on Monday, January 17. Then, it’s time for the countdown of the biggest music democracy in the world (read: the best house party/pub hoon every bloody year).

Hottest 100 is looking a touch different this time around, with Triple J deciding to switch things up for the big weekend. The Hottest 100 countdown is locked and loaded for Saturday, January 22 — as is expected — but the Hottest 200 is not on the hoon sabbath Sunday this time.

Instead, Triple J has decided to count down the top 200 to 101 tracks on Friday, as a bit of a ramp-up to the top 100 tracks of 2021, as voted by us plebs. Feels good, feels right, makes my brain feel like things are once again in order.

Then on January 23, the day after the big countdown, you can nurse your dusty brain with a trip back down memory lane with a revisit of the 2001 Hottest 100 over on Double J. How that countdown was a whole two decades ago is beyond me, but them’s the brakes.

Before we start panicking over what we’re going to whittle our shortlists down to, here’s a gentle reminder of music that was released in the last 12 months.

Obviously there’s Taylor Swift‘s re-release of Red (Taylor’s Version), which could clock a few votes if it’s legally allowed to this time around — God forbid we get a repeat of the 2015 debacle.

There’s Genesis Owusu‘s massive album, Smiling With No Teeth, which features the eternal bop ‘I Don’t Need You’ and fully cleaned up at the ARIAs this year.

There’s also The Wiggles’ truly iconic Like A Version from earlier this year, where they mashed together Tame Impala’s ‘Elephant’ with ‘Fruit Salad’, rendering all other psychedelic kids music obsolete. It’s got 2.8 million views on YouTube so far, which I’m more than sure is parents having to play it on a loop for their Wiggle-obsessed sprog.

Let’s add to that count, shall we?

To make things even less stressy – Triple J asked a bunch of our favourite Aussie artists what their top 10 list would look like.

DMA’s have chosen ‘We Are The Youth’ by Jack River as their #1 for the year, while Illy had ‘INDUSTRY BABY’ by Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow topping out his top 10.

G Flip put Holly Humberstone’s ‘The Walls Are Way Too Thin’ as their fav track of 2021 and Young Australian of the Year Baker Boy had ‘My Life’ by J. Cole as their ride or die tune.

For more inspo, suss out the entire selection of artist picks on the hottest 100 voting page. 

One more time for the people in the back: Hottest 100 voting is open now and closes on January 17 at midday Sydney time. Good luck, and try not to freak the fuck out.

Image: Cartoon Network / Genesis Owusu / Taylor Swift / Lil Nas X / Triple J