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Silverchair - Neon Ballroom
Label: Sony
Release: 1999

Emotion Sickness
Anthem For The Year 2000
Ana’s Song (Spawn Again)
Spawn Again
Miss You Love
Dearest Helpless
Do You Feel The Same
Black Tangled Heart
Point Of View
Satin Sheets
Paint Pastel Princess
Steam Will Rise

Neon Ballroom - Silverchair
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Average Blamo User Rating: (16 votes)

Silverchair have finally found their niche. While the two albums before this (Frog Stomp and Freakshow) have been entertaining, it’s on Neon Ballroom where they find their own defining sound and finally break free of the Nirvana and Pearl Jam similarities establishing themselves as their own type of artists.

The album opens up with the magnificent “Emotion Sickness” a grueling emotional piece helped by a beautiful orchestra playing along to the Silverchair’s above average musicianship. Daniel Johns, while not the most poignant of lyricists, finds his key on this song, letting out a flood of imagery from his absolutely flawless voice hitting keys otherwise unattainable to other vocalists.

“Paint Pastel Princess” is the albums highpoint. Johns opens up with a great guitar riff that is immediately backed up by the bands spot on playing. Their use of utter intoxicating key changes helps the track become an extravagant highlight of their career. On “Ana’s Song (Open Fire)” John’s addresses his life with anorexia and swiftly relates it to a love story. Beginning with a soothing acoustic melody the song quickly builds into a powerhouse, delivering some of his most personal anecdotes of his career through a powerful musical backdrop.

Throughout this 12 track album, there only two sour apples. The psuedo-poltical “Anthem For The Year 2000” and the rather irritable “Do You Feel The Same.” Also, while John’s songwriting has matured a bit, it is still not at the level of the sheer musical capabilities of the band. There are times when you can only guess what is going through his head when he is writing (“Paint Pastel Princess” “Spawn Again”), but in the end this alone does not take away from this tremendous effort.

“Miss You Love” and “Steam Will Rise” are also two very powerful offerings that make this a great album. “Miss You Love” is perhaps the greatest love song that John’s has ever written. On “Steam Will Rise,” John’s guitar playing takes a back seat to a hypnotizing bass riff and great drum work. When he finally chimes in with a slowly picked, yet very fitting, guitar riff, the song achieves its greatness.

While many are often quick to dismiss Silverchair as an average band, this is an album that shows that they are much more than that. Even they might always have more style than substance, this album is a clear showcase of their talent, musically and lyrically. If you are looking for the essential Silverchair album, look no further.

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