Neon Ballroom

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Neon Ballroom
Studio album by Silverchair
Released 8 March 1999
Recorded 9 May, 23 June – 7 October 1998 at Festival Studio in Pyrmont, New South Wales
Genre Post-grunge, alternative rock, art rock
Length 49:36
Label Sony, Murmur, Epic
Producer Nick Launay
Silverchair chronology
Freak Show
(1997)
Neon Ballroom
(1999)
Diorama
(2002)
Singles from Neon Ballroom
  1. "Anthem for the Year 2000"
    Released: February 1999
  2. "Ana's Song (Open Fire)"
    Released: May 1999
  3. "Miss You Love"
    Released: September 1999
  4. "Paint Pastel Princess"
    Released: December 1999
Double Pack

Neon Ballroom is the third studio album by Australian alternative rock band Silverchair and was released on 8 March 1999. The album debuted at number-one on the ARIA Albums Chart and was certified 4× platinum by ARIA. It was also certified Gold in the United States. It genereated the singles "Anthem for the Year 2000", "Ana's Song (Open Fire)", "Miss You Love", and "Paint Pastel Princess". Neon Ballroom out sold Freak Show in North America and throughout the world and has sold a total of 2 million albums worldwide.

Neon Ballroom was an overhaul of the band's musical style found on its first two albums, Frogstomp and Freak Show. "Anthem for the Year 2000", for example, retained much of the band's youthful rock energy but featured a new rock song structure and various electronic effects. Eight years after the album's release, Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns said: "To me, I honestly feel like our first record was Neon Ballroom. I've never felt any different. I don't feel like our first two albums were Silverchair: that's our teenage high school band. I don't like them at all. I listen to them and go, 'That's cute', especially the first one, because Frogstomp we were 14. But the second one we're like 16, I'm like 'You're getting older. You're running out of chances'".[1]

"Spawn Again" had previously appeared on the 1997 soundtrack to the film Spawn. The Neon Ballroom version is a remix of the original; hip-hop group Vitro added various electronic elements to the track. However, the origin of "Spawn" dates back to 1996 when it was recorded for inclusion on Freak Show but was later omitted. The Pre-Vitro mix of "Spawn Again" is not the Freak Show version but a later one recorded when the band demoed tracks for Neon Ballroom. The Pre-Vitro version lacks an entire verse pertaining to animal liberation. This version was included on the Neon Ballroom Limited Edition bonus disc, The Best of Volume 1 (2 Disc Limited Edition) in 2000, and the Rarities 1994 - 1999 compilation in 2002. The album recording of "Anthem for the Year 2000" is slightly different on the Australian release than the one found on other releases (including singles). "Satin Sheets" was originally called "Punk Song #3" and "Paint Pastel Princess" was "All the Same to Me". "Emotion Sickness", "Ana's Song (Open Fire)", and "Miss You Love" are on The Best of Volume 1. An acoustic remix of "Ana's Song" was released on the Best of disc that also included the Rarities bonus. Eight tracks from Neon Ballroom appear on Live from Faraway Stables. The album has been released in a double pack along with Freak Show. Johns wrote all the songs on the album except for "Spawn Again" (Johns-Gillies). The vinyl version of the album was limited to 5,000 copies worldwide. In October 2010, the album was listed at number 25 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.[2]

Background[edit]

From May 1998, Silverchair worked on their third studio album, Neon Ballroom, which had Nick Launay (Birthday Party, Models, Midnight Oil) producing again.[3][4] It was released in March 1999 on Sony Records imprint Murmur and peaked at number-one in Australia – their third number-one album.[5] Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane said, "As well as being the band’s best album to date, it was universally acknowledged as one of the best albums of the year."[3] The band had originally intended to take a 12-month-break after the release of 1997's Freak Show, but in the end they decided to devote their time to making new music.[6] Neon Ballroom provided three Australian top 20 singles: "Anthem for the Year 2000", "Ana's Song (Open Fire)" and "Miss You Love"; a fourth single, "Paint Pastel Princess", did not reach the top 50.[5] The album charted in Canada, where it peaked at No. 5.[7] It reached the top 40 on the United Kingdom Albums Chart.[8] "Ana's Song (Open Fire)" peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks.[9]

In 1999, Johns announced that he had developed the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, due to anxiety.[2] Johns noted that the lyrics to "Ana's Song (Open Fire)" dealt with his disorder, where he would "eat what he needed … to stay awake."[10] He revealed that his eating problems developed from the time of Freak Show and when Neon Ballroom was written he "hated music, really everything about it", but felt that he "couldn't stop doing it; I felt like a slave to it."[11] Johns sought therapy and medication but felt "It's easier for me to express it through music and lyrics".[2]

Silverchair added an auxiliary keyboardist, Sam Holloway (ex-Cordrazine), for the Neon Ballroom Tour.[3] The US leg had the group playing with The Offspring and Red Hot Chili Peppers, while Silverchair's tour of UK and the rest of Europe had The Living End as the support act.[3] In Europe and South America it became the group's most successful album to date. Rolling Stone's Neva Chonin attributed their chart success to the album's more "mature" sound.[12] The group appeared at festivals in Reading and Edgefest, amongst others.[13] Following the tour, the band announced that they would be taking a 12-month-break.[14] Their only live performance in 2000 was at the Falls Festival on New Year's Eve.[6][15] On 21 January 2001, the band played to 250,000 people at Rock in Rio, a show they described as the highlight of their career.[14]

After the release of Neon Ballroom, Silverchair's three album contract with Sony Music had ended. The group eventually signed with Atlantic Records for North and South America, and formed their own label, Eleven: A Music Company (distributed by EMI), with their manager, John Watson for Australia and Asia.[16][17]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[18]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[19]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[20]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Daniel Johns except as shown. 

No. Title Length
1. "Emotion Sickness"   6:01
2. "Anthem for the Year 2000"   4:08
3. "Ana's Song (Open Fire)"   3:42
4. "Spawn Again" (Johns, Ben Gillies) 3:31
5. "Miss You Love"   4:01
6. "Dearest Helpless"   3:35
7. "Do You Feel the Same"   4:18
8. "Black Tangled Heart"   4:34
9. "Point of View"   3:35
10. "Satin Sheets"   2:24
11. "Paint Pastel Princess"   4:33
12. "Steam Will Rise"   5:18
  • On initial release in the UK, Neon Ballroom was issued as a limited edition with a bonus enhanced CD featuring the following tracks:

All songs written and composed by Daniel Johns except as shown. 

  • The album has also been issued in gatefold cover vinyl and limited edition cassette.
    • The same version has been re-issued on 180 gram vinyl in 2010 (Label: Music on Vinyl; catalog number: 4898025)

Release history[edit]

  • 8 March 1999 – Australia
  • 19 March 1999 – North America

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Peak position
1999 Australian Albums Chart[5] 1
Canadian Albums Chart[7] 5
New Zealand Albums Chart[21] 8
UK Albums Chart[8] 29
US Billboard 200[7] 50

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

Preceded by
Come on Over by Shania Twain
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
15–21 March 1999
Succeeded by
One Night Only by Bee Gees

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ Silverchair: skeletons in the closet
  2. ^ a b c O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). "25: Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. pp. 90–91. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9. 
  3. ^ a b c d McFarlane, 'silverchair' entry. Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  4. ^ Spencer, et al.
  5. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Silverchair Discography". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Richard, Kingsmill (29 November 2000). "Daniel Johns of silverchair speaks to Richard Kingsmill". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "Silverchair > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). HIT Entertainment. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  9. ^ "Silverchair > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Fisher, Blair R (11 July 1999). "Silverchair Frontman Reveals Battle with Anorexia". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Sams, Christine (6 June 2004). "Anorexia almost killed me: Daniel Johns". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Chonin, Neva (18 March 1999). "Silverchair: Neon Ballroom". Rolling Stone (Jann Wenner). Archived from the original on 6 July 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2008. 
  13. ^ Young, Daniel (29 August 1999). "Reading Festival – Reading, UK". Silverchair. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "Band: silverchair – Stories and Highlights". Long Way to the Top. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 2001. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  15. ^ Thomas, Les. "Silverchair, The Falls Festival, Lorne, Victoria, 31/12/00". Massive Magazine. Silverchair. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  16. ^ Carr, Matt (26 May 2011). "Silverchair take "indefinite" Break". The Newcastle Herald (Fairfax Media). Archived from the original on 12 October 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Silverchair Signs with Eleven: Eleven signs with EMI". Silverchair. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  18. ^ Allmusic review
  19. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  20. ^ Rolling Stone review
  21. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Silverchair Discography". New Zealand Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 18 November 2011.