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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My favorite albums: Young Modern

Ahh Silverchair.




I first became aware of this band from down under(and probably one of Dan's favorite bands then) with their first hit single "Tomorrow" in '95, and pretty much checked in on them, from time to time.

I have at least 3 of their albums, well two studio albums and a Best of compilation , but trust me those are some good choices. I have Neon Ballroom from 1999, and the latest one, 2007's Young Modern, both of which I'll be covering either this week or next.

Silverchair, like most bands that came out around 1992, were automatically lumped into the Grunge categorical, or instantly compared to Grunge. As unfair as that is, it's still not too bad of a group to be included in, when you consider the company of bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Seven Mary Three, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden.

But while Silverchair does, or did have a hard edge to their sound when they debuted, they have since really changed things up, making sure they weren't boxed into constantly sounding like the same thing over and over again.

I'll have to pick up 2002's Diorama because I really like a good bit of songs on there, as 2007's Young Modern seems to pick up where that album left off. Thus today's review.

Young Modern has 13 tracks on the album, and I honestly love all of them. Well most of them.


My favorites are of course the title track, "Young Modern Station", with that classic Daniel Johns vocal. Well they all do, but this one really does. I've listened to a lot of albums, and I do appreciate the groups or solo acts that have their albums follow a linear path. As in, when you listen to the songs, they seem to flow together coherently, as opposed to just sounding like a bunch of tracks thrown together in a random, Hodge-Podge order.

Not so here, as the album starts right from "YMS" and follows all the way through to "All across the world."

Here, take a listen to "Young Modern Station"

"Straight Lines" is next, and as I mentioned earlier, I love all, if not most, of the tracks on this album. And such is the case with "Straight Lines." Between the lyrics, the vocals, the instruments, and basically the whole presentation, I just love it all:)

It's the type of  music, especially towards the end, that makes you feel like you're having a good time, like a soundtrack to your life sort of thing. What? Don't look at me like that. You know you do it too:)

That takes us to "If you keep losing sleep", which to me, sounds like a cool book or movie title to me.
Again, the whole production on this thing makes it a good, kick-ass song.

"Reflections of  a sound", is really good as well, and to me, seems to mark it, and the album in general as a more upbeat version/reflection of Neon Ballroom. Where Neon Ballroom was all about pain, angst, and anger channeled through a punk-like raging sensibility, Young Modern, is like a calmer, more emotionally re-adjusted album. It's like if Silverchair got all that anger out in therapy, and now is content to just rock and have a good time.

But then, that's just probably how I see it.

I love, LOVE "Those thieving birds parts 1 and 2."
This includes "Strange Behavior" also, as not a two songs in one, but three. Yes three.

Yes it seems like they're going back to be emo-ish and angsty, but they're not. This is to me, the major epic masterpiece production section of the album, and if you listen to the whole thing, which isn't too long, you'll hopefully see why.


Oh God, that's some good stuff!

Here's the lyrics just to drive home how kick-ass and epic this song is:

"Those thieving birds
Hang strung from an empty nest
This swan plagued pond
Foresaken and under whelmed

Those leaving words
Hang strong from an emptiness
Hang strong from an emptiness
Those thieving birds
Hang strung from an empty nest

Those theiving birds

This is tearing me apart
If the Sun won't shine
Forever will never be fine
Underneath the hollow ground
Lies a night time sky
For only a desperate eye

When I'm paranoid I see walls behind walls behind walls
When I'm over joyed I see falls over falls over falls
When I'm all alone I'll be wary and careful to
Only eat with uncles
Never talk to strangers
God is in the kitchen
Faking baby dangers
Not only liked but loved as well

If this streets air ain't up to par
I'll take my clothes and take this strange behaviour
Not only liked but loved as well 

Change whatever karma means
For the only things that end never truly begin
If this streets air ain't up to par
I'll take my clothes and take this strange behaviour

Not only liked but loved as well
If this streets air ain't up to par
I'll take my clothes and take this strange behaviour
Not only liked but loved as well

When I'm paranoid I see walls behind walls behind walls
When I'm over joyed I see falls over falls over falls
When I'm all alone I'll be wary and careful to
Only eat with uncles
Never talk to strangers
God is in the kitchen
Faking baby dangers

If this keeps tearing me apart
The walls come down won't stop this empty feeling
For everything apart from this (x3)

Lonely in life
Dead or alive
If the truth had incursions
No more goodbyes
No more big lies

If the truth had versions
As long as you and I are together
I'll hold onto the jewellery
Like staple strapped clenched fist and tongs

Hang strung from an empty nest
Those thieving birds (x3)

Hang strung from an empty nest"

"The man that knew too much" is a pretty good rump through imagination land. I don't know if Johns and the group consciously took inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock's classic movie with the same name, or not, but hey, not too shabby if they did.

"Mind reader"'s pretty good, as is "Insomnia", but I really seem to enjoy the last three tracks.

"Low" is general is really good, but what sells it for me, besides the lyrics/vocal package, is the country-sounding twang near the end, that would have sounded so odd and out of place on earlier Silverchair albums, but seems to fit so perfectly and complimentary here on this track.


And then there's "Waiting all day", which is sung and produced in a similar manner to "Those thieving birds: and "Reflections of a sound." 

Just listening to the piano parts, which again, gives the track a slight country music feel, but fits amazingly in there, makes the song very appealing to me.

Here, listen to it:

And that's why besides those Those thieving birds, this is probably my favorite song on the whole album.

And then to the last track, "All across the world." No, this isn't a cover of  an Oasis song with the same title, but it does share a similar vibe, in that's hopeful and positive.

It's very positive song, that was lacking on Neon Ballroom, and Frogstomp, but is included here for the whole world to digest.

Just listen to these lyrics man!
"Underneath the shelfCracks appear in thick enamelIn this lapse excuse for wasting timeI wait for signals shooting starsI'd scrape through every branch'Cause I need to come down

Underneath the homeI lived in, I was a page in someone's bookAnd no one asked me whyThe page is fifteen storeys highI'm underneath that home, I'm wondering why

All across the worldThere are things we need to forget and forgiveSometimes we have to tryAnd shed the damage we don't needOh justice, shake your headI'm wasting my time

We can break this droughtsWanna tell you that I love youI need you in the night, sometimes I get so fullI wanna tell you I'm feeling alrightI'm shaken to the bone and on my way home

Adjust an omen at the doorSinging, baby, won't you please get a hold without it?And while you sit there on the phoneTellin' me, baby, I'm a liarYou don't seem to care what I care aboutAnd, baby, it's a shame to be wasted

All across the worldThere are things we need to forget and forgiveSometimes we have to tryAnd shed the damage we don't needOh justice, shake your headI'm on my way home"

Nice huh?



So that's my review in a nutshell. I hope you were entertained, and more importantly, learned something and were influenced enough to go check out this album, or just check out Silverchair in general.

Sadly the band itself broke up last year, after being around for 20 years, and came to the conclusion that the band members were all going in different directions, as is the case with a lot of bands sometimes. I myself, hope return someday, and continue to put out albums worth there well-deserved reputation.








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