Temple of Low Men

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Temple of Low Men
Studio album by Crowded House
Released July 1988 (1988-07)
Recorded
Genre Rock, pop rock, alternative rock
Length 39:05
Label Capitol
Producer Mitchell Froom
Crowded House chronology
Crowded House
(1986)
Temple of Low Men
(1988)
Woodface
(1991)
Singles from Temple of Low Men
  1. "Better Be Home Soon"
    Released: July 1988
  2. "When You Come"
    Released: August 1988
  3. "Never Be the Same"
    Released: October 1988
  4. "Into Temptation"
    Released: December 1988
  5. "Sister Madly"
    Released: 1989
  6. "I Feel Possessed"
    Released: January 1990

Temple of Low Men is the second studio album by Australian band Crowded House, which was released in July 1988. The three band members: Paul Hester on drums and backing vocals; Neil Finn on lead vocals and lead guitar; and Nick Seymour on bass guitar and backing vocals; recorded the album in both Melbourne and Los Angeles with Mitchell Froom as producer for Capitol Records. Finn had written all ten tracks during the two years since their self-titled debut. Temple of Low Men peaked at number one in Australia, number two in New Zealand, number ten in Canada and number 40 on the Billboard 200 in the United States.

It provided five singles, "Better Be Home Soon" (July 1988), "When You Come" (August), "Into Temptation" (December), "Sister Madly" (1989), and "I Feel Possessed" (January 1990). In most markets the highest charting was "Better Be Home Soon". Additionally an album track, "Never Be the Same", appeared on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. At the ARIA Music Awards of 1989 the group won four categories: Album of the Year and Best Group for Temple of Low Men; Best Cover Art for Seymour's work; and Song of the Year for "Better Be Home Soon".

Background[edit]

Three men are sitting at a small table. Man at left is holding sunglasses in his right hand, smiling, leaning forward and looking to his right. Man in middle has elbows on a brief case, gesturing with upraised hands, right hand is holding sunglasses, he is looking to his left. Third man has a small cup held to his lips by his right hand.
The band at the Montreux Pop Festival, May 1988. L to R: Nick Seymour, Neil Finn, Paul Hester. Two months later they released their second album, Temple of Low Men.

Crowded House and Neil Finn, as their main songwriter, were under pressure to create a second album to match their self-titled debut from June 1986; the band joked that one potential title for the new release was Mediocre Follow-Up.[1] Eventually titled Temple of Low Men, their second album was released in July 1988 with strong promotion by Capitol Records.

Crowded House undertook a short tour of Australia and Canada to promote the album, with Eddie Rayner (former Split Enz band mate of Hester and Finn) as a touring member on keyboards. Multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart (ex-Supertramp) replaced Rayner in January 1989. After the tour, Finn fired Seymour from the band.[2] Music journalist Ed Nimmervoll claimed that Seymour's temporary departure was because Finn blamed him for causing his writer's block,[3] however Finn cited "artistic differences" as the reason.[2] Seymour said that after a month he contacted Finn and they agreed that he would return to the band.[2]

Composition and recording[edit]

Neil Finn wrote all ten tracks for Temple of Low Men during the two years since their first album.[4] It was produced by Mitchell Froom, recorded by Tchad Blake and mixed by Bob Clearmountain. The cover was created by Seymour. The lyric 'Tongue in the Mail' from the track "Love This Life" gave its name to the band's official mailing list.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[5]
Robert Christgau C [6]

Allmusic praised Temple of Low Men, but noted a change of tone from the previous album, saying, "The material on Temple of Low Men demonstrates great leaps in quality over its predecessor, it is a darkly difficult album...Finn digs into the depths of his emotional psyche with obsessive detail, crafting a set of intense, personal songs...Through all of this introspective soul-searching, Finn reveals most of all his true mastery of melody.[5] Robert Christgau panned the album as buried in sanctimonious self-pity, and commented that "Finn has neglected the only thing he has to offer the world: perky hooks."[6]

In October 2010, Temple of Low Men was listed at number 71 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums, with the band's next album, Woodface at No. 3.[4]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Neil Finn.

  1. "I Feel Possessed" – 3:48
  2. "Kill Eye" – 3:14
  3. "Into Temptation" – 4:33
  4. "Mansion in the Slums" – 3:45
  5. "When You Come" – 4:45
  6. "Never Be the Same" – 4:28
  7. "Love This Life" – 3:36
  8. "Sister Madly" – 2:52
  9. "In the Lowlands" – 3:56
  10. "Better Be Home Soon" – 3:07

Chart performance[edit]

Album[edit]

In the United States Temple of Low Men did not chart as well as their debut, only reaching number 40 on the Billboard 200.[7] However it reached number one in Australia,[8][9] number two in New Zealand,[10][11] and number ten in Canada.[12] It was certified platinum in Australia (x6), New Zealand (x3), Canada (x2) and Spain.[13]

Chart Peak
Australian Albums Chart[9] 1
Canadian Albums Chart[12] 10
New Zealand Albums Chart[11] 2
UK Albums Chart[14] 138
US Billboard 200[15] 40

The album did not chart in the UK until February 1995.

Singles[edit]

The first single "Better Be Home Soon" peaked at number two on both Australian and New Zealand singles charts,[8][9][10][11] number eight in Canada,[16] and reached the top 50 in the US Billboard Hot 100.[17][18] The following four singles had less chart success in Australia or New Zealand,[8][10] and generally less success in other markets. Additionally an album track, "Never Be the Same", appeared on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

Song Peak chart positions
Aus Can Ned[19] Ger[20] NZ[11] US[18]
"Better Be Home Soon"[9][16] 2 8 31 59 2 42
"When You Come"[9] 27
"Into Temptation"[21] 67 20 38
"Sister Madly"[21][22] 81 92 26
"I Feel Possessed"[21] 93
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Band[edit]

  • Neil Finn – vocals, guitar
  • Nick Seymour – bass, backing vocals
  • Paul Hester – drums, backing vocals

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Heart Attack Horns – horns
  • Mitchell Froom – keyboards

Album credits[edit]

  • Mitchell Froom – producer
  • Tchad Blake – recording engineer
  • Bob Clearmountain – mixer
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Tom Whalley – A&R
  • Nick Seymour & Tommy Steele – art direction
  • Nick Seymour – album art
  • Kelly Ray – art assistance
  • Margo Chase – lettering design
  • Dennis Keeley – photography

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bourke, Chris (1997). Crowded House: Something So Strong. South Melbourne, Victoria: Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-7329-0886-8. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c Denton, Andrew (16 July 2007). "Neil Finn and Nick Seymour". Enough Rope with Andrew Denton. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Crowded House". Howlspace. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9. 
  5. ^ a b Woodstra, Chris. "Temple of Low Men Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Album review". Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Crowded House > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discography Crowded House". Australian Charts Portal (Hung Medien). Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Discography Crowded House" australian-charts.com
  10. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discography Crowded House". New Zealand Charts Portal (Hung Medien). Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Discography Crowded House" charts.org.nz
  12. ^ a b "RPM Top Albums/CDs – Volume 48, No. 22, 17 September 1988" Library and Archives Canada
  13. ^ "Temple of Low Men (1988)" crowdedhouse.com
  14. ^ "1994–2008 > Chris C. – CZR" Chart Log UK
  15. ^ "Crowded House > Charts & Awards > Albums" Allmusic
  16. ^ a b "Top Singles - Volume 48, No. 20, September 03 1988", RPM, Library and Archives Canada
  17. ^ "Crowded House > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Crowded House > Charts & Awards > Singles" Allmusic
  19. ^ "DISCOGRAFIE CROWDED HOUSE" dutchcharts.nl
  20. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Crowded House / Single" Musicline.de
  21. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, New South Wales: Australian Chart Book Ltd. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  22. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 50, No. 4, May 22 1989", RPM, Library and Archives Canada
Preceded by
'88 Kix On by Various artists
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
25–31 July 1988
Succeeded by
Age of Reason by John Farnham

External links[edit]