Friday, 12 February 2016


Over the off-season the twitter account Music Brownlow has sprung up and gathered itself  a burgeoning following. It has also expanded to Facebook, blogs, playlists and into a weekly podcast. All this is controlled by Josh Pinn who sprang to the fore to take on and expand a concept that was launched by Chris Rees with this simple tweet.

Chris ran the show for a week or two, before Josh took over (with a little help from myself in codifying it a tad). From then, the concept of a Music Brownlow grew and evolved.

For those that know football and the Brownlow voting system, its a simple process, just now applied to music, and mostly songs of particular artists. With Josh having a podcast among a network, and that network bringing international listeners, the voting system did need explanation. It is a touch counter-intuitive that '3' for 'your favourite', and not our 3rd favourite.
Another quirk of growing up with football.

Around Australia Day 2016, the Music Brownlow account launched a special vote. This time it was not on songs from a particular band or artist, but across all of Australian music. It was termed the 'All Australian Team', and Josh was looking for the 'best 22 songs', just as the AFL does each season when it announces players selected for 'All Australian' honours.

So the call went out, and the followers did vote. The twitter account surged in follow-ship, and the best were determined by popular vote. From this year on, you can forget the Hottest 100. The All Australian Team is in town.
With the best determined, Josh elected not to name the voted songs into any standard footballing team list format, instead counting down the top 10 on the weekly podcast (see below) as well as naming the team 22 in the podcast.

But the 'All Australian Team' lacked something. It lacked positions and that familiar "from the back-line..." reading we have grown up with.

Which is where I step in.

...Well actually 'we', as I put out a call to a few football fans and writers who also happen to like their music. A small 'selection committee' was formed comprising Chris (@4boat, originator of the concept), Steve (@ASpeedingCar), Swish (@Swishtter), Dave (@diogenesbrown) to help in listing and ordering the best voted songs into a football team run-on order.

With their help I have composed the popular vote of the songs for the Music Brownlow All Australian Team into the below team sheet.

A few notes:
- The number next to each artist/song is their voting position, which I have converted to be their Guernsey / Jumper number.
- In most cases, it was deemed that the higher voted songs should get 'key positions' on the field, where it was considered they were worthy.
- Attempts were made to match songs in their tempo, content style etc to positions on field, again as appropriate.
- Clicking on each voting artist name will send you off to a YouTube link of the song, more often than not a live version.
- Clicking on a song title will give you a different YouTube link to a cover or alternate version (and look for a neat little Easter egg in there as well).

As mentioned, Josh counted down the top 10 songs voted into the All Australian Team on his weekly Music Brownlow podcast. It has been embedded here for you to stream as you need.

Also, for Spotify folk, apparently a fan of the All Australian Team concept of some renown and political clout created a Spotify playlist from the top 200 voted songs. So click this link to listen to the list accumulated by the Hon. Martin Pakula MP.

This has been a big project, specifically from the Music Brownlow side of collecting, collating and tallying all the votes. It's a difficult task for Josh, across twitter and Facebook accounts and with the growth of the account over summer, it is only getting harder.
I thank and acknowledge Josh for his efforts on this.

It has also been a big task in formulating the team from the top voted songs, and I thank the 'selection committee' for their input and commentary. Special thanks also to @4boat and @ASpeedingCar, who have both contributed text and editing advice to me in preparing the below list.
We have tried to complete the team list and provide some lighthearted reasoning around selection, and we have tried to complete this as quickly as possible.

So the below is taken from the Music Brownlow top 27 voted songs (as we have added 5 songs as 'Emergencies'), and arranged into team list order.

Back Line

Solid RockThrow Your Arms Around MeUnder The Milky Way

At full back, we have deployed an out-and-out classic song that has possibly been reheated once or twice too often. It's a bit Chris Tarrant-like, and given its vintage it may well have been written about Rod 'the Tilt' Carter. The title is pure Steve ‘The Octopus’ Silvagni. The songwriter himself, Mark Seymour, all pumped up and muscular, is a real candidate to take on this position too.

'Solid Rock' is the reliable defender with just a hint of white line fever. It always keeps its’ feet and if in doubt it goes “right down the line”. The reference to living on borrowed time a reminder that when you play this deep in defence, any slip up could mean you're kicking the dew off the ground next week. In the clip the drummer appears to be David Grenvold.

Steve Kilbey wrote 'Under the Milky Way' a few years after North Melbourne started playing night football at the MCG. But in the current day context, it's more about Carlton’s Friday night games, as the “Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty” line announces. And like the occasional back pocket player, it loses the game plan and drifts about doing its own thing. Not what you want in the last line of defence. It gets the hairdryer treatment from the coach at half time (via the bagpipes) but then serves up more of the same in the 2nd half.
(with @4boat)

Half-Back Line

Bow RiverFlame TreesKhe Sahn

The half back line is an all Chisel affair, and appropriately it plays with the Central District bulldog spirit of Sonny Morey and Johnny Platten. The live clip of  'Bow River' even shows Barnesy staggering around in some kind of Centrals clash strip. 'Bow River' the song reminds us of those run across half back types who run and carry out of defence.

'Flame Trees' is the keystone of this side, like Jude Bolton to the Swans. As with 'Bow River', 'Flame Trees' has a protagonist who puts together Commodores from 9 to 5 but has other plans, big plans. This centre half back regularly bobs up at the sharp end. The lyric of the bridge "nothing stopped us on the field on our day" epitomises its never-say-die attitude.
'Flame Trees' by Cold Chisel.
Voted number one, and Captain of the All Australian Team.

'Khe Sanh' covers every blade of grass on the half back flank; it chugs along with an unimpressive but effective gait. It’s always back in defence when required, and is the rock that the team relies upon in need. Such strength and stamina may be related to its “growing need for speed and Novocaine”.
(with @4boat)

Centre Line

Cattle And CaneEvieWide Open Road

'Evie' is eleven minutes, eleven seconds of epic flared-pants pop. This is a centreman with plenty of tricks, it’s got range, but it's essentially going to just beat you by blowing you up with it’s run.  A tight-arse jukebox classic; parts I, II and III all for the same price as ‘Boney Moronie'. A Judd-like player, written well before the champ was born.

'Cattle and Cane' is Robbie Flower on the wing - just when you think you’ve caught it, a slight shift of its weight from one foot to the other sees it gone for good. “Further, longer, higher, older” is the last line of the song and may well represent the Flower spirit. The further he went, the higher he climbed, finishing with 272 games and his only finals appearances in the last three.

Our only WA representative is 'Wide Open Road'. The Triffids know well that it’s a wide open wing at Subiaco. Like all good wing players, you want to be carrying that ball in the wilderness, racing forward. But your mates up field are all manned up. So put your head down, two bounces, three, four bounces. Break the lines. “Now you can go anywhere, that you want to go”. Pick out a leading man, lace out. It's a thing of beauty.
(with @4boat)

Half-Forward Line

Don't ChangeBerlin ChairNever Tear Us Apart

While the top voted song was 'Flame Trees' by Cold Chisel, it was not the first selected into a position. Often mentioned in football circles is that centre half forward is the hardest place to play, which is why this was the first spot filled. And what a track chosen to fill that position!
'Berlin Chair' by You Am I stood out from the list as the most raucous, hard driving rock song that leaps out from the speakers and roughs you up. It is the centre half forward every team wants. A centre half forward that has bravado and show, mixed with a dash of danger. Its Brereton, Carey and Jonathan Brown.

Working together either side of You Am I are a pair of INXS tracks. An unlikely partnership it seems, but the showy extravagant nature of the flankers fits well with the burly centre half.
At one side is 'Don't Change', a bit poppy and bit boisterous. The Brad Johnston, Stevie J and Akermanis of the team. Handstands and fist pumps to the adoring crowd are it's bag.
On the other flank is the more fluid and graceful 'Never Tear Us Apart'. A crowd pleaser and sing-along favourite, where even the jarring notes of a dodgy sax solo can't detract from the silky skills and languid playing style of this Rolls-Royce type. Its Nicky Winmar,  James Hird and Michael O'Loughlin. Smooth of run, silky of skill.
(with @ASpeedingCar)

Forward Line

Alone With YouFriday On My MindUnguarded Moment

The full forward lives for getting out on the ground, and becoming the big show, making headlines and kicking bags. Weekday training sessions are for others. Running laps and circle work are the last thing they want.  'Friday On My Mind' is that sort of song... carefree, fun, and without regard for consequences. Snapshots over the shoulder, standing on full backs heads taking speccies, leading out to receive the ball lace-out. Allen Jakovich, Warwick Capper and Tony Lockett. On vinyl, or even better, live and raucously raw.

The jangly guitars of 'Unguarded Moment' battle against the angst-ridden lyrics and yet somehow come out on top. The guitar break through the middle helps this one rip along nicely. The sort endeavour and skillful genius possessed by Peter Daicos. Perfectly poised to weave through packs and kick the impossible. A touch flawed, but brilliance with the ball.

In the other pocket is the young surfie-type player. A touch of raw talent and bravado that puts football as secondary. Always in the back of the mind of this player is the thought is of snaring the opposite sex for a bit of  'after-match'. The Sunnyboys load up with rhythm and predictability, but also an edge and swagger that makes it difficult to match up on. Think Mark LeCras.


It's A Long Way To The TopYou're The VoiceHow To Make Gravy

AC/DC bring us 'It's a Long Way to the Top' as a tale of life at the bottom end of the music business food chain. It could just as easily fit the life of the footballer. Its full of the struggles, knocks & on field hits. It's the flatbed truck down Swanston Street, leers and sneers, skin-tight Lee jeans, flying elbows from tattooed arms, wild hair, and tough attitude. 'It's a Long Way to the Top' plays the role of 'the enforcer' of the team.
Perfect fit for first ruck.

Whispering Jack does a fine job of shouting instructions and encouragement to the rest of the team, in an almost Goddard-esque finger-point-a-thon. 'You're the Voice' is carried to greatness as a song by that soaring, rangy Farnham voice that suits a midfield slot. It is strong enough to go up in the ruck if needed, as well as run all day on the ball. Ruck-rover a good fit, marshalling the midfield.

Rounding out the on-ball division is 'How to Make Gravy', a song that is more 'story' than song, in any classic structural definition. It has no chorus, but chugs along with narrative for its full 5 minutes and 10 seconds. The tale itself also lends us to a Diesel Williams type. Someone who has seen their fair share of time in front of the tribunal, and is repentant and wishing they could be back out on the field, dancing up a storm through the centre square. This is a great song that is always contributing, never repetitive, and not easy to run with.
(with @ASpeedingCar)

Interchange Bench

(I'm) StrandedTreaty
Great Southern LandLeaps And Bounds
* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the video linked may contain images of deceased persons which may cause sadness or distress.

Yothu Yindi have been elevated up the voting order to a spot on the bench as 'Treaty' is a track that delivers an impact and makes a statement. Coming off the bench, a wise coach will know when to astutely let this one off the leash and hit the ball hard.

Paul Kelly's second song in this team is an unofficial football anthem. Possibly only because of the name checking of the MCG, and the whole leaping and bounding thing. But it's also a song about remembering times past. For in this team 'Leaps and Bounds' is our veteran player, battling through one last season. All the while remembering what it was like to be a first year player, so excited to play, that the feet didn't even touch the ground. This is your KB, your Tucky, your Fletcher, and all those final year veterans looking back on younger days.

Sitting next to the wily veteran is The Saints' '(I'm) Stranded'. A first year player, a bit different, a bit wild. The song and band themselves burst on to the scene and changed the music industry, burning brightly before imploding while still in the prime of their youth. A Coleman-esque career, if you will.

The final bench spot falls to Icehouse and the sweeping track about Australia. Inoffensive, loaded with jingoism, but certain to do its job on the day. Perfect utility role, ideal for a start on the bench and able to do the task allocated. Would have won "Best Clubman" several times in its career, without doubt.
(with @ASpeedingCar)


Down UnderThe HorsesBeds Are Burning
Holy GrailOne Crowded Hour

It's almost an all-Victorian emergency list, with Midnight Oil the one exception.
A solid list of songs that just about everyone would know and be able to join in with, but not able to break from the rest of the squad to earn a run on match day.
Both 'Beds Are Burning' and Augie March's 'One Crowded Hour' finished equal 26th.

As before, much thanks to Josh for running Music Brownlow over the summer, and lets hope it continues and grows.
Also thanks to the selection committee for helping with placements and reasoning behind the logic, and extra thanks to Chris and Steve for helping with the written content.

Any correspondence on selection of above songs into position welcome. Just post a comment here or make yourselves heard on twitter.
Look forward to hearing where you think these songs fit best.

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