Best Aussies songs in the 2000s: From Powderfinger’s My Happiness to Silverchair’s Straight Lines

Simon Collins
The Nightly
3 Min Read
The best Australian songs of the 2000s have been revealed.
The best Australian songs of the 2000s have been revealed. Credit: The Nightly

Across the nation, pubs, parties and backyard barbecues hum along to that old chestnut: what’s the best Australian song of this era or that year?

Put down those tongs and argue no more, our entertainment team has sizzled our homegrown music down to the best song of each year from 1958 to last year.

Based on chart performance, sales and cultural impact, we have chosen 66 Aussie anthems spanning more than half a century and genres ranging from country to hip-hop, from Slim Dusty to 5 Seconds of Summer.

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We’ll reveal our top picks from each decade so come back to see which songs dominated in the other decades.

We hope this gets you talking — and listening.


Powderfinger: My Happiness

The Brisbane boys won their second consecutive Triple J Hottest 100 with Bernard Fanning’s paean to the loneliness of the touring lifestyle. Our Olympic year was also a great time for Aussie music.

Powderfinger. Credit: Unknown/Supplied by Subject


Kylie Minogue: Can’t Get You Out of My Head

Catchier than measles, Kylie’s synth-pop single danced to No. 1 in 40 countries and re-energised her career in the US. Great video, too.

Kylie Minogue.
Kylie Minogue. Credit: Simon Collins/Supplied


Kasey Chambers: Not Pretty Enough

While Kylie, Holly and Delta all scored hits, country singer Kasey Chambers enjoyed the biggest hit of her career with a song about the reluctance of mainstream radio to play her music. Oh, the irony.

Other contenders

Holly Valance: Kiss Kiss

Delta Goodrem: Born to Try

Kylie Minogue: Love at First Sight

The Vines: Get Free

Australian singer/songwriter Kasey Chambers for her second album, Barricaeds and Brickwalls in Sept 2001.
Australian singer/songwriter Kasey Chambers for her second album, Barricaeds and Brickwalls in Sept 2001. Credit: Unknown/EMI


Jet: Are You Gonna Be My Girl

The Australian Idol era began with Guy Sebastian producing the best-selling single of the year with his winner’s song Angels Brought Me Here, but Melbourne rockers Jet borrowed from Iggy Pop, the White Stripes and Motown to crack overseas markets with high-octane rocker Are You Gonna Be My Girl.

Timothy Hill, Nic Cester of Jet.
Timothy Hill, Nic Cester of Jet. Credit: Jo Hale/Getty Images


Eskimo Joe: From the Sea

Idol runner-up Shannon Noll, Spiderbait and Missy Higgins all topped the charts in 2004, but Freo trio Eskimo Joe released an enduring song inspired by storms rolling in over the Indian Ocean. From the Sea came third on this year’s Hottest 100.

Eskimo Joe.
Eskimo Joe. Credit: Unknown/Supplied by Subject


Bernard Fanning: Wish You Well

This is how you launch a solo career. Wish You Well won the Hottest 100, collected multiple ARIAs and dominated radio. No wonder the rest of Powderfinger were a tad peeved.

Bernard Fanning.
Bernard Fanning. Credit: Steve Ferrier/WA News


Augie March: One Crowded Hour

Where some acts burnt bright, then out (see: Jet, Savage Garden), Victorian indie rock outfit Augie March peaked a decade after forming with this Hottest 100-winning pop waltz inspired by Australian wartime photographer Neil Davis.

Today - the wire - Augie March
Today - the wire - Augie March Credit: Unknown/Supplied


Silverchair: Straight Lines

Now unrecognisable from the scruffy grunge trio of Tomorrow, the ‘Chair were now Daniel Johns’ band. The singer teamed with the Presets’ Julian Hamilton for this surging rock song about overcoming life’s obstacles.

Move over: Silverchair switch in labels shake-up.
Move over: Silverchair switch in labels shake-up. Credit: Unknown/Supplied by Subject


Empire of the Sun: Walking on a Dream

After struggling to make the big time with the Sleepy Jackson, Perth’s Luke Steele joined forces with Nick Littlemore of Pnau to form electronic pop duo Empire of the Sun. Their uplifting debut single remains their best, and came with an eye-popping video shot in Shanghai.

Empire of the Sun.
Empire of the Sun. Credit: Supplied


The Temper Trap: Sweet Disposition

Featuring the sweet falsetto of Indonesian-born singer Dougy Mandagi, Sweet Disposition is a bona fide indie anthem thanks to it featuring in commercials, video games and films, such as 500 Days of Summer.

The Temper Trap.
The Temper Trap. Credit: Supplied


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