In parts of Australia the mercury will rise above 40 degrees celcius today, which means school kids get to go home and Twitter will be abuzz with heat-related First Worldish problems such as “ruh roh, just got a singlet tan!!” Zookeepers are spritzing rare tropical birds with a mist fan and even notoriously water-averse creatures such as cats have been embracing a tepid blast from the backyard hose to beat the heat.

The exceptional temperatures have had serious consequences for some Australian residents, with extreme conditions plus strong winds causing fires to spread throughout NSW, ACT, Victoria and South Australia keeping Emergency Services and Fire and Rescue crews working overtime to contain the spread and minimise damage. We hope you, yours and your property is safe and fire-free.

We’ve compiled a list of tunes apropos for sweating out your day, and some cool-down cuts – for aspirational purposes. Before we get to it I’ll leave you with the immortal words of Do The Right Thing DJ, Mister Senor Love Daddy: Y’all take a chill. You got to cool that shit off. And that’s the double-truth, Ruth.


“GONNA MAKE YOU SWEAT (EVERYBODY DANCE NOW)” C + C MUSIC FACTORY This song should come with a warning that listening may make you sweat more than you already are due to its insane danceability and omnipresence of Cross Colours and Hammer pants.

“TO HOT TO MOVE, TOO HOT TO THINK” THE TRIFFIDS Only an Australian band could write a Summer-themed song like this.

“SWEAT SONG (A LA LA LONG)” INNER CIRCLE There was a 1990s rumour that this enjoyable Carribean-flavoured reggae hit was about rape due to some of the lyrical content (“Girl if you cry out/I’m gonna push it some more”), but most people overlooked the potential content issues because it was such a good jam to rollerblade too.

“CITY TOO HOT” LEE SCRATCH PERRY This foot-dragging dub joint sounds exactly the way we feel right now.

“HOT IN THE CITY” BILLY IDOL Yes well of course it will be “hot in the city tonight”. This is unquestionably the most pussy of all Billy Idol songs, but it could be mistaken for a medium Bruce Springsteen track – quite a feat.

“WHITE HEAT, RED HOT” JUDAS PRIEST Splendidly riffy metal face-melter. Most appropriate.

“COLD LIGHT” YEAH YEAH YEAHS No idea what the song really means, but it does mention a hot night. And is just really good.

“DROP IT LIKE IT’S HOT” SNOOP DOGG There is something about The Neptune’s super minimal production under Snoop’s casual monotonous flow that really captures an asphalt-melting Summer’s day. And booty.

“MELT!” SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES The heavy subject matter in the lyrics is as suffocating as being stuck in a corrugated tin shack when the mercury hits 40. Also a great song.

THE COOL [Employ the mind-over-matter technique of core-body-temperature control with thematically relevant musical assistance]

“ICE AGE” JOY DIVISION Sinister, cool and cutting like ice snapped straight off the block.

“BREAKIN’ THE ICE” FATS WALLER Alright, so this song might be about breaking the ice in the figurative way, but it’s still a supremely charming breath of cool nostalgia.

“FIFTEEN FEET OF PURE WHITE SNOW” NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS Mmmm…. burial by snowdrift sounds quite pleasant at this point in time. See also: Thinly veiled cocaine symbolism.

“WINTERLONG” THE PIXIES The Pixies doing a very decent cover of Neil Young.

“FROZEN” MADONNA One of Madonna’s darkest tunes, this electronic lament is actually pretty fucking cool.

“BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE” ELLA FITZGERALD AND LOUIS JORDAN Christmassy! But in a Northern Hemisphere kind of way!

“SURPRISE ICE” KINGS OF CONVENIENCE Because bands from Norway really understand what cold is.

“ICEBLINK LUCK” COCTEAU TWINS Every playlist should include something by the eternal Cocteau Twins.

“UNDER ICE” KATE BUSH A fairly disturbing tale of drowning but the opening line “It’s wonderful/Everywhere, so white/The river has frozen over” is most evocative.


Main Image from Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing (1989).