You’d think Australia—the country that gave us Kylie Minogue!!— would have something of its own to add to the pop music dialogue, but on my recent trip back to my motherland, I discovered the pop music landscape to be somewhat… as I left it, three years ago. Never mind my mild disgust in the casual way in which people say, “I’ve never heard of Jessie Ware,” and that everyone is all “nek minute” (which is a YouTube sensation I am apparently too humorless to understand, let alone find as compelling as everyone else here does), Australia’s pop music tastes can be broken down to five essential artists. Here’s everything you need to know to woo an Australian pop culture aficionado on your next trip down under.
MICHAEL BUBLÉAustralia’s longest standing obsession is with Michael Bublé. Australians love Michael Bublé the way they love Ron Moss—incredibly enthusiastic and sincere—times 17. For as long as I can remember, Michael Bublé has graced the stage of every awards show and Target commercial in Australia. I’d completely forgotten about Australia’s love of The Bub (as he’s called here, pronounced “Boob”), until I saw him on the Logies (Australia’s Emmys, I guess) and remembered that we signed a blood oath not to like any other besuited, cheesy, rat-pack wannabe performer for as long as Australia shall live.JOEL MADDENJoel Madden is a New Thing since last time I was in Australia, but people seem to think it’s really cool that someone as awesome as Joel Madden loves Australia so much, never mind that he’s being paid millions of dollars to be a judge on the Australian chapter of The Voice. In case you don’t know, because my mum didn’t, Joel Madden is from Good Charlotte, a band that most people, like my mum, that like Joel Madden have never even heard of, which could be a selective memory type of thing. Australians especially love Joel Madden because he moved here with his wife, who is Nicole Ritchie, and his baby, who is cute, and, in my opinion, because he is incredibly short. Australians love an underdog. We gave Joel Madden a Logie (when I say it’s like the Emmys, it’s nothing like the Emmys, it’s actually so cringe inducing I believe if Anne Hathaway ever saw it even she would blush), so we’ve essentially Russell Crowed him to us.
P!NKThat song Pink sings with that weird looking dude from Fun. is the only song the radio stations have here. To be fair, I’ve been driving around a lot and listening to the radio, both of which are things I don’t do in New York, so for all I know “Just Give Me A Reason” could be a really big deal everywhere. Except that when you’re in Australia, it’s less of a really big deal and more of a does anything else even exist? sort of deal. In a ten-minute drive for instance, you’ll hear “Just Give Me A Reason” between 2 and 7 times on the radio, depending on how much channel surfing you’re doing. Also, fun fact, Pink’s Funhouse tour sold out 58 shows in Australia, with 17 shows at Melbourne’s Rod Laver arena, both record breaking numbers, surpassing those of John Farnham who is The Most Important Voice in Australia, Ever. Well, until Pink came along at least.Bruno MarsOkay, I lied when I said the only song the radio has here is the Pink song, because they break it up with Bruno Mars’ song that goes “I should have bought you flowers.” To keep you on your toes, sometimes they play a live acoustic version, which makes me cry because I’m weak and a romantic and desperate for every asshole that treated me badly to repent, God damn it, REPENT. Bruno Mars was actually on my flight out of LA, but I didn’t realise until I got off the plane in Melbourne and my brothers, who I only see once a year, sometimes less, ran up to me shouting “OMG WE JUST SAW BRUNO MARS.” Thanks Bruno, you cock.Lana Del Rey
Australia only just got the memo on Lana Del Rey which, in our defense, is okay because we’re really, really far away from shit. And also, don’t you early adopters just feel a little bit wanky for masturbating LDR all over Tumblr then getting “sah over it” in the next breath? Because you should. Anyway it’s fashion week - or something - in Sydney (I don’t care) and every time they play a clip of a runway show on the news or whatever (we don’t care about international events here but we didn’t have a recession and we get free health care so we don’t really have to care), there’s always a Lana Del Rey song playing.Kat George is, quite obviously, from Australia. She’s also on Twitter - @kat_george