25 05 2012



“It’s only self rejection, with a mean left.”


I’ve tried writing this about five times now. Maybe it’s a sign that I shouldn’t bother. However, I feel I have to. Not many will care for this band. I can’t see how a person couldn’t, but I’m just being biased. I love this band more than I can even understand. About a year ago they called it quits. What do they call it..a “hiatus.” That’s the really bad H word isn’t it. I don’t know what the other one is really. Anyway, Silverchair. A band that dragged me through secondary school when all I wanted to do was never see a face again in that hell hole. If you were ever bullied, you’d understand. But I got tough and..hid in the library. Story of my life really. So, when they announced this break they were going on, I felt a bit of my heart crumble away. Much like it did when The Long Blondes broke up. Except, I never got over that. I never have and I know I never ever will. Silverchair saved my mind. I owe it to a friend. I remember her showing me the cover to Freak Show, and she let me borrow the CD. I went home and had it on repeat. Did it change my life? I think it is fair to say it did.

For me, Daniel Johns is one of the greatest guitarists ever. Although I fully appreciated the band’s musicianship it was the lyrics that made my head spin and my heart feel less alone. As I got older, certain songs became everything I felt but couldn’t vocalise. Miss You Love for instance was a song that held so much relevance for a long time. I guess it still does. For me the song is about someone who has no idea what to do with love. I’m not entirely sure if I know what I would do, or if I ever will. I think most are like that. We have a view on ourselves to make ourselves attractive to others. I’ve gone past that. I’ve never been one for impressing another person. I wouldn’t know how to do it. If you’re impressed by someone who can do an impression of some South Park quotes or can recite Edgar Allan Poe or John Cooper Clarke poems- then I am available. Not for much though, I’m fussy. I think? I don’t know. Just don’t be a cunt.

Their lyrics summed up angst ridden teens everywhere. Thing is, you can still be an angst ridden adult. It just seems to be frowned upon. Or you are called grumpy. I’m not grumpy (please don’t wake me up if I’ve said I’m going for a nap though) I just hate unfairness, and I like to point it out when I see it. Songs such as Emotion Sickness and Anthem For The Year 2000 really do touch on being massively pissed at society, and quite rightly so. They didn’t word songs in a way that nobody couldn’t connect to. What you MUST remember is how young they were when they started out. They were living out the frustrations. Sadly, Daniel Johns was living out his own nightmare. Yet he came through the other end. Truly showing himself to be a person well worth looking up to, I know I did. And I still do.

Aside from being pissed at society, the self-deprecation in their lyrics made them easy to connect with. All too often, when growing up you are told to dress, think,feel,be,act a certain ways. You aren’t encouraged to think and speak freely. You have a limit to your freedom, that alone can cause so much fucking frustration inside. They ripped out all your frustrations and put it out there. They hung out every ugly feeling possible, and you felt less alone. You felt less disgusted with your own reflection. Am I the only one who feels this way about them? I hope not.

Hand on heart, Neon Ballroom is one of my favourite records of all time. It is heartbreaking and it is a healing process. I recommend anyone who feels a bit lost to invest in this record. It may not fully cure you, but it will ease the tension you have inside.  Every song is dark, but you find bits of hope in this record. You find them in weird places. That’s the good thing about music, you can find a way to plough on through in places and sounds you never thought you could. It used to be a record I couldn’t listen to often because of all it meant to me. As I get older (still a bit lost) I see the record for what it is. A reflection of a generation that needed to be heard. Silverchair were the voice for so many, and I hope they still are. They’re a band that you connect with so deeply that introducing them to a friend seems like a hard task because of the lyrics. You know it’s easy to go up to someone and say, “Hey have you heard the new song by The Strokes?” or something because The Strokes are a band that you can listen to over and over- no part of you will feel an ugly amount of pain when you listen to them. Listen to certain songs by Silverchair and you may feel a wee bit fragile afterwards. They’re not a band for those who love upbeat, happy pop songs. Far from it.

Yet, there was positivity to be found on Young Modern. I’ll be honest with you though, I really didn’t enjoy that record. I don’t need to go into detail as to why I didn’t. It just happens I guess doesn’t it. You cannot like everything.

Silverchair, unlike most bands that firmly have a place in my heart didn’t win me over like the other did. They didn’t make me want to write. Instead, they made every angsty emotion I was carrying around less daunting. Less heavy to carry. They made, for most of my time at school, it easier to wake up every day and drag myself there. I guess you can say they kept me alive, in a way. They started out when they were only 12 years old. For a band to write songs like that at such a young age is not only incredible, it is inspiring too.

They may never make another record again, but what we do have is enough to still fall back on when everything seems a bit messed up.

Silverchair-Neon Ballroom.

18 08 2011

Most of the bands I love have either dead band members or have split up. Or even worse, both.

This year one of the bands that I adored with every fibre of my being split up. I never got to see them live, but every album they put out holds greats significance to me.

Silverchair were and always will be such a special band to me. In college I had a rucksack that I covered in black marker with bands I loved written all over it. Silverchair was one of them, and I think I had some of the lyrics to Emotion Sickness scrawled over it too.

Neon Ballroom without a doubt is one of my favourite albums ever made. Every single song on the same could break your heart, but at the same time gives you this weird strength to just carry on.

The time in my life that I first listened to Silverchair was, well, shit basically. Certain songs were an emotional crutch because I knew no one around me could begin to get it. This wasn’t your standard teen angst, it was something else. However, if I could go back in time I wouldn’t change a thing at all. If I was to, I probably wouldn’t hold this much love and respect for bands such as Silverchair.

Daniel Johns’ words settled my internal rage in a way no other band could, or has done since. Certain songs made it easier for me to accept the strong dislike I had for myself. Certain songs made breathing less difficult. Certain songs were my life.

With a lot of bands, they go on about self hate and anger because they want to seem “cool.” There is nothing cool about being angry or hating yourself. Anyone who has felt this way about themselves knows it is the most self destructive and exhausting thing you can do to yourself. Daniel Johns’ lyrics came right from the heart which is probably why they captured mine instantly.

Songs such as Do You Feel The Same, for me just summed up so much. “Moon covered determined to find. To find my place of hiding. Try to detach, try to decrease. To make it easier on me. Despise myself for what you’ve done. Sent me back into my world. Hold yourself ’cause no one will. I’ll make it easier” It meant the world to me when I first heard it, and it still does now. The frustration in his voice when he sings this song just leaves you in awe.

Then you have songs such as Miss You Love, “I love the you love. But I hate the way I’m supposed to love you back.” It’s easy to accept love, but loving someone back can rid you of so much. An easy thing to feel.

Ana’s Song (Open Fire) is about Daniel’s battle with Anorexia. Eating disorders have always been a subject people never touch on. Maybe if they did, people would not have to suffer as much as they do. Of course, there is this misconception that it is only girls who suffer from eating disorders. Hearing of Daniel’s struggle with Anorexia in this song is beyond heartbreaking.

The metaphors who uses and the imagery he creates is so painfully accurate and at times, extremely hard to listen to. I’ve had people that were/are close to me go through having an eating disorder, and hearing this songs just echoes how they felt and their fight with having an eating disorder.

“And you’re my obsession, I love you to the bones. And ana wrecks your life, like an anorexia life.” I’ve never heard a line so powerful. I could go into detail about this line, but when you hear Daniel sing this song, especially this line- you do not need words to describe it. The feelings from him that pour out just explain it all.

They released their first album, Frogstomp when they were only 14 years old. Each album just turned out to be works of art- knowing they were so young when their first record came out is utterly mind-blowing.

Neon Ballroom is so passionate and aggressive. Every song just pours out so much frustration, at others and at self. If it wasn’t for this album, I think being a teenager would’ve been worse than it was, if possible. The drums, bass and guitar sound so menacing complimented with Daniel’s harsh yet soothing voice.

There’s no way I could possibly pick a favourite track off this masterpiece, every single song means so much, too much.

It is such a timeless and highly influential album. I listen to it now, and although I do associate the album with some shit times- it’s been worth it.

Maybe Silverchair will never get back together and make music again, but all 5 of their albums means a lot. Even Young Modern.

I’ve always felt that the band has been so awfully underrated. Each of them is outstanding musicians. I watch live clips of them and seeing Daniel play the guitar like that is so ridiculously powerful. The love in their performances is just amazing. They had this raw feel to them that doesn’t exist in many bands anymore. It is more than a shame that they are no longer together, but with their back-catalogue, they will always be around.

For me, Neon Ballroom was the blueprint of being a teenager for me. It was like a rite of passage or something. Listening to it as a teenager and now as a 24 year old, I still feel the same. The feelings that Neon Ballroom creates is for the most part, highly indescribable. Extremely personal and a fantastic work of art. It will always be album that I rely on and feel a lot for. There were days listening to it would hurt, there were some days where listening to it would just make everything alright. I guess, that’s why music is such a powerful, personal and vital force.