Freak Show (album)

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This article is about the album by Silverchair. For a general description of the term, see Freak show.
Freak Show
Studio album by Silverchair
Released 3 February 1997
Recorded Pre-production: Tuesday 21 May
Recording: Thursday, 30 May–Tuesday 5 November 1996 (various times but in total 3 weeks) at Festival Studios in Pyrmont, New South Wales, Australia
Genre Post-grunge, alternative metal
Length 52:08
Label Murmur, Epic
Producer Nick Launay
Silverchair chronology
Freak Show
Neon Ballroom
Singles from Freak Show
  1. "No Association (Promo)[1]"
    Released: 11 November 1996
  2. "Freak"
    Released: 13 January 1997
  3. "Abuse Me"
    Released: April 1997
  4. "Cemetery"
    Released: June 1997
  5. "The Door"
    Released: October 1997
  6. "Pop Song for Us Rejects (Promo)"
    Released: December 1997

Freak Show is the second studio album from Australian rock band Silverchair. Freak Show was released on 3 February 1997. The album also gives listeners a glimpse into the band's experimental side, as can be heard in "Petrol & Chlorine" and "Cemetery". Early vinyl pressings also included a precursor to "Anthem for the Year 2000" entitled "The Millennium Bug".


Silverchair began recording their second studio album, Freak Show, in May 1996 while experiencing the success of their debut album, Frogstomp, in Australia and the US. It was produced by Nick Launay (Birthday Party, Models, Midnight Oil) and was released in February 1997.[2][3] The album reached number-one in Australia and yielded three Top 10 singles – "Freak", "Abuse Me", and "Cemetery".[4] Its fourth single, "The Door", reached No. 25.[4] The songs focused on the anger and backlash that the expectations of Frogstomp brought upon the band.[5] Freak Show was certified gold in the US, 4× platinum in Australia and global sales eventually exceeded 1.5 million copies.[6][7][8]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[9]
Entertainment Weekly (C-)[10]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[11]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Slave" (Johns, Gillies) – 3:57
  2. "Freak" (Johns) – 3:49
  3. "Abuse Me" (Johns) – 4:03
  4. "Lie to Me" (Johns) – 1:22
  5. "No Association" (Johns, Gillies) – 3:56
  6. "Cemetery" (Johns) – 4:04
  7. "The Door" (Johns) – 3:38
  8. "Pop Song for Us Rejects" (Johns) – 3:15
  9. "Learn to Hate" (Gillies) – 4:21
  10. "Petrol & Chlorine" (Johns) – 4:00
  11. "Roses" (Johns, Gillies) – 3:34
  12. "Nobody Came" (Johns, Gillies) – 6:08
  13. "The Closing" (Gillies) – 3:27

All lyrics by Daniel Johns.

  • The album has a limited vinyl edition; it was coloured yellow in Europe, and black in Australasia.
    • There is also a limited cassette edition of the album.


  • The CD release of Freak Show is an Enhanced CD that includes interactive CD-ROM media from the making of the album. The material found on the Enhanced CD is accessed when placing the disc into the CD-ROM drive of a computer.
  • Many Freak Show songs such as "Slave", "Freak", "No Association", and "Nobody Came" were performed live two years prior to their release on the album.
  • The main riff in "Slave" is similar to the one in the Mad Season song "I Don't Know Anything".
  • Several of the songs also had different titles prior to the album's release. These include: "Cat and Mouse" ("The Closing"), "The Proxy Song" ("The Door"), and "Punk Song #1" ("Lie to Me"). A song entitled "Punk Song #2" was recorded but not renamed; it later appeared on the "Freak" single. "Punk Song #3" ("Satin Sheets") was originally recorded for Freak Show, but was omitted from the album and included on Neon Ballroom instead.
  • The release of Freak Show was originally slated for the autumn of 1996; it was later pushed back to avoid competition from Pearl Jam's No Code.
  • Although Freak Show was shelved until February 1997 for the general public, European and Australian promotional pressings were officially circulated throughout the music press in late October/early November 1996.[12]
  • Frontman Daniel Johns described the album's title in 1997 by comparing the on-the-road life of Silverchair to that of a traveling carnival.
  • Johns also stated that some of the lyrics were toned-down for release on Freak Show. Although, the majority of the songs found on the album still retain dark and morbid themes that include disease, drug abuse, and suicide.
  • An unreleased song entitled "Slime" was recorded during the Freak Show sessions, but has yet to see release of any kind.
  • The existence of "Slime" can originally be traced back to the 1996 late October/early November European press release where it is listed amongst the rest of the Freak Show track listing. The song was described in the press release as "similar to 'No Association'" but "more melodic". Thematically-speaking, it was described as the "linchpin" of the entire album.
  • In 2007, Johns referred to Freak Show as "some kind of dark" "skeleton" in the band's "closet"[13]
  • The album was available in Great Britain pressed on yellow vinyl and limited to 3,000 copies worldwide.
  • A demo version of "Freak" is featured in trailers for the 1995 space combat film Screamers. This is one of the aforementioned Freak Show songs that Silverchair debuted live as early as January 1995.
  • "No Association" is featured in Blackrock.


Additional personnel[edit]

  • Jane Scarpantoni (track 6), Margaret Lindsay (track 10) – cello
  • Amanda Brown and Ian Cooper (track 8), Lorenza Ponce, Elizabeth Knowles, Todd Reynolds and David Mansfield (track 6), Ravi Kutilak (track 10) – violin
  • Matthew Pierce, Alan Parry (track 6), Rudi Crivici (track 10) – viola
  • Pandit Ran Chander Suman – tampura, tabla (track 10)
  • Ruk Mali – sitar (track 10)
  • String arrangements by Jane Scarpantoni (track 6), Nick Launay and Daniel Denholm (track 10)
  • Produced & recorded by Nick Launay.
  • Mixed by Andy Wallace except "Petrol & Chlorine" and "The Closing" mixed by Nick Launay.
  • Recorded at Festival Studios, Sydney.
  • Mixed at Soundtrack, NYC.
  • Assistant Engineers: Mark Thomas & Matt Lovell (Sydney), Steve Sisco (NYC).
  • Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering.
  • Art direction: John Watson, John O'Donnell, Kevin Wilkins & Silverchair.
  • Inside photos by Sophie Howarth, Adrienne Overall & others.
  • Cover art by Lydia Kullik.
  • Front cover image is an illustration of Grady Stiles, Jr., a sideshow performer afflicted with ectrodactyly. His stage name was "The Lobster Boy". The illustration is courtesy of Circus World Museum, Baraboo, Wisconsin.
  • Released on CD, cassette, and 12" vinyl (black & limited edition yellow).

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1997) Position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart 1
U.S. Billboard 200 12
Preceded by
Romeo + Juliet (soundtrack)
by Various artists
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
16 February 1997 – 22 February 1997
Succeeded by
Pop by U2


  1. ^ "Silverchair – "No Association" (CD) at Discogs". Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Silverchair". HowlSpace – The Living History of Our Music. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Spencer, Chris; McHenry, Paul; Nowara, Zbig (2007) [1989]. "'silverchair' entry". The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Moonlight Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86503-891-9. 
  4. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Silverchair Discography". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Wooldridge, Simon (February 1997). "Freak Show Review". Juice. 
  6. ^ "Gold and Platinum – Silverchair". RIAA. Retrieved 17 February 2008. 
  7. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 1997 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "silverchair". rage. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 4 September 1999. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Allmusic review
  10. ^ Entertainment Weekly review of Freak Show by Silverchair and Ixnay on the Hombre by the Offspring
  11. ^ Rolling Stone review
  12. ^ "Silverchair – Freak Show (CD) at Discogs". Retrieved 5 November 2011. 
  13. ^ Silverchair: skeletons in the closet