The Hill I Will Die On: Daryl Braithwaite’s ‘The Horses’ Is Not A Good Song

I have to speak up.

Daryl Braithwaite

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The Hill I Will Die On is a regular Junkee series in which we air our pettiest gripes. It should, of course, not be taken very seriously. 

I consider myself a peacemaker. A diplomatic person. Someone who definitely doesn’t go out of their way to create conflict.

In fact, if I were given a choice between confrontation and putting a campfire out with my own face, I would plunge my head into the flames without hesitation. But there are some issues that even my spineless self will speak up about — because at some point, one of us has to speak up for what’s right. And honestly, I can’t let this go on any longer.

Daryl Braithwaite’s ‘The Horses’ is not a good song. I’m sorry, but it just isn’t.

Over the last few years, I’ve watched with dismay and fury as this song — a cover of Rickie Lee Jones’ 1989 track — has wormed its way back into Australia’s zeitgeist, propelled by the same chucklehead mememakers who are responsible for every “Get Shannon Noll To Splendour” petition.

Shannon Noll and ‘The Horses’ have become the shining light in the online “Straya” meme culture that has clogged every pore of the music scene over the last five years. This fake ocker culture, spearheaded by inner-city kids who’ve never touched a blade of unmanicured grass in their life, has more than a small edge of ridicule and nastiness.

The Nollsy meme has fallen by the wayside over the last year, but Braithwaite’s ‘The Horses’ is going strong — so strong in fact, that Braithwaite was added to Falls Festival’s line-up last year. It must stop. This all must cease.

The Karaoke Factor

There’s a surefire way to tell if a song is good — does it go off at karaoke?

Picture this: you’re six drinks deep, one of your more industrious friends has managed to wrangle a karaoke room, and suddenly you’re queuing up good ol’ Braithwaite. It’s a classic right? Everyone gets into it and goes nuts, like Farnham’s ‘You’re The Voice’. IT’S A CLASSIC MATE.

But then you start to plod your way through the verses, and you realise you’ve made a grave mistake. There’s no propulsion, there’s no build. Instead all of your friends are just quietly clapping in time and looking at you like you’re gonna pull a rabbit out of the hat. But there’s no rabbit. There’s not even a hat.

But it’s cool, because the chorus is on the way. That’ll save you, you think desperately.

Except it won’t. Because the chorus is equally as plodding. Jesus, was this song always this slow?

Suddenly it dawns on you, as your friends begin to talk amongst themselves and consider ordering some hot chippies — this song is a karaoke killer. And that’s because it’s a bad song. In fact, apart from those couple of lines in the chorus, does anyone even know how it goes? No, you think, as you stare in the hollow eyes of your friends who are now stuffing their face with hot chippies (that’s how long this goddamn song has gone on for), no one knows how this song goes.

Here we are, just big lumps of organic matter, thundering around the earth and thinking that ‘The Horses’ is good. How did we end up here?

Even Daryl Wishes We’d Get Over It

I don’t want anyone to leave this article with the idea that I’m not a Daryl Braithwaite fan. I am, sincerely. ‘One Summer’ fucking slaps. Sherbet was an awesome band. Daryl, if you’re reading this, I love you.

But here’s the thing — even Daryl kinda wishes we’d leave ‘The Horses’ the fuck alone.

“I wanted to draw a bit of attention away from ‘The Horses’,” he told Music Junkee last year, in reference to him putting together his greatest hits album Days Go By. “I still love performing it and the reaction that it gets. I just wanted to take the pressure off it a little bit.

“Hopefully, now this album’s out, I can look ahead to doing something new or something a little different. I’ve gotta make sure that I don’t get caught resting on my laurels.”


We need to let the man live. He’s suffering like the rest of us. So for the love of all that is good and right, let’s all go and listen to some of his other bangers, and leave ‘Horses’ alone.

Please, I’m begging you all.

Jules LeFevre is Junkee’s Music Writer. She’s going to turn off push notifications now.