In part one of our Silverchair catalog deep dive, we took a look at some of the hidden gem songs that were not tagged as singles. Over the course of 12 years, Silverchair released five diverse records containing a total of 22 singles. Each record had an astonishing four to five singles on it respectively. These songs were key drivers in Silverchair’s success that included 21 ARIA Awards – (more than any other artist in history) and all five of their studio albums have made it to number one in Australia – which remains a national record (Midnight Oil and Cold Chisel have had four #1 records, ACDC, INXS and Crowded House have each had three). Daniel Johns was also the first person to ever win the prestigious APRA “Songwriter of the Year Award” on three separate occasions.
Their first single, “Tomorrow,” was the number one single on the US Billboard chart, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It also won three different ARIA awards in 1995. Further proving how influential Silverchair was, one of their last singles, “Straight Lines,” also claimed the #1 spot in Australia, number 12 on the US charts in 2007 and won the APRA “Song of the Year” award in 2008.
Here in part two, we highlight ten singles out of the remarkable batch that are in a league of their own.
10. “Israel’s Son”
The first sounds the world hears from Silverchair in record form are Chris Joannou’s distorted bass notes and Daniel Johns singing, “Hate is what I feel for you. And I want you to know that I want you dead.” So gutsy from a group of 15 years olds. I was blown away, then and now, on how just three musicians had the power to sonically deliver a song like this. Frogstomp producer, Kevin Shirley’s favorite song as well.
9. “Without You”
A huge chorus, maybe one of the best in the entire catalog. Next time you are singing in the car or in the shower, try to hit the last “you” that Johns closes the song with. Good luck. The drop d guitar work at the end is just killer too. My only question – what the hell is polystyrene hat? It doesn’t really matter…
8. “Across the Night”
The opening track on the progressive fourth album, Diorama. This theatrical song picks up where Neon Ballroom left off and shows how Johns took his songwriting to a whole new level. A celebratory feel, juxtaposed with an outcry of “I don’t want to be lonely, I just want to be alone.” I love that line.
7. “Abuse Me”
Sometimes you know a song is going to be good just by hearing the first few notes of the intro. Enter “Abuse Me.” This song was ahead of its time in meaning and was the second most successful, chart-wise in the U.S.
6. “After All These Years”
Diorama is one of a few records I would call a masterpiece. That’s not a term I throw around loosely. “After All These Years” is a big reason why. Mostly because of how it wraps up the entire collection of art that is Diorama. It’s a very- as I come clean song. With all the production and added orchestral components to Diorama, the curtains close with just Johns a piano and a few strings. It’s fascinating how a record filled with waves of instruments ends with only John’s voice singing the word – life. “After All These Years” quickly became a fan favorite among the diehards. Johns featured a new version of the song in his solo performances last year as well.
5. “Straight Lines”
“Waking up strong in the morning, set me on fire in the evening.” This song rejuvenated Silverchair on U.S. airwaves. Just a great modern day rock tune with a cool video. It’s rare in that the verses are just as good as the chorus’, if not better.
4. “Miss You Love”
Johns is a quite the piano player amongt everything else. That is showcased here as “Miss You Love” was the first Silverchair song that was piano based / piano driven. It’s a softer song that still has the signature Silverchair punch.
3. “The Greatest View”
The first single off Diorama actually got released in the U.S. as a single during the Young Modern record. After the success of “Straight Lines,” “The Greatest View was redistributed and spun quite a bit on U.S. airwaves, five years and 1 record after its release. First time I’ve ever seen that happen (with success, at least).
One of the better debut rock songs of the 90’s – with longevity as it’s still played on stations everywhere. The build-up, the simple guitar solo, the big chorus, it just rocks. Though it was hardly played after 2000, “Tomorrow” will always be a profound, straight-ahead classic and a key component to the band’s history.
1. “Ana’s Song”
A very courageous and personal song from Johns about his battle with anorexia, released shortly after his struggle. This song still gives me chills all the way through. Nothing more to say.
Honorable Mention: “Reflections of a Sound” – with a pre-chorus and harmonies like that, it was very hard to leave this one off.
Side note #1– the band was 14-27 years old when each of the songs featured in this two-part series (as well as every other Silverchair song) were written and recorded.
Side note #2– not Silverchair, but two honorable mention songs worth checking out: “Somewhere Down the Barrel” by the Dissociatives (Daniel Johns & Paul Mac) and “Preach” off Johns solo record, Talk.
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