Berlin Chair

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"Berlin Chair"
Berlinchair.jpg
Single by You Am I
from the album Sound As Ever
Released February 1994
Format CD
Recorded Pachyderm Studio, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
Genre Alternative rock
Length 2:34
Label rooArt Records
Songwriter(s) Andy Kent, Tim Rogers, Mark Tunaley
Producer(s) Lee Ranaldo
You Am I singles chronology
"Adam's Ribs"
(1993)
"Berlin Chair"
(1994)
"Jaimme's Got A Gal"
(1994)
"Adam's Ribs"
(1993)
"Berlin Chair"
(1994)
"Jaimme's Got A Gal"
(1994)

"Berlin Chair" is the second single from the album Sound As Ever by Australian rock band You Am I. It was released in 1994 and peaked at #73 on the Australian ARIA singles chart.[1] "Berlin Chair" also reached #23 in that year's Hottest 100,[2] while in the 1998 Hottest 100 of All Time it came in at #61[3] and #52 in the 2009 Hottest 100 of All Time.[4] In a phone-in poll in 1999, the song was voted best Australian song of the 1990s.[5] The track was featured on the soundtrack to the PC game Quarantine, released in the same year.

Composition[edit]

Tim Rogers wrote the song while living in Chippendale, Sydney,[6] and titled the song after a sculpture (actually a chair designed by Gerrit Rietveld) he'd seen in Canberra, where he had previously lived.[7] Biographer Craig Mathieson described the imagery of the chair as symbolising "the hard, even impenetrable male edge, that [the song's character] had with his girlfriend".[7]

Reception[edit]

You Am I biographer Craig Mathieson praised the song's lyrics for revealing a character that "admit[s] they're flawed, but still swear[s] their strength, support [and] love". He praises the band's musical performance for "increas[ing] the momentum with every verse, adding vigour and desperation to Tim's emotion. ... Berlin Chair leaves me drained and elated."[7]

Double J rated the song as the best Australian song of the 90s, saying, "In a way, it defies description. It bears little resemblance to any other song. It isn’t traditionally catchy, yet it won’t leave your head from the moment you hear those first lines."[8]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Berlin Chair" - 2:34
  2. "Can't Explain" - 2:10
  3. "Jaimme (Makers Mark Version)" - 2:40
  4. "All I Want To Do Is Rock" - 5:42

All songs by Tim Rogers, except 2 (Pete Townshend) and 4 (Ross Wilson)

"Can't Explain" is a cover of "I Can't Explain" by The Who. "Jaimme (Makers Mark Version)" is an acoustic version of "Jaimme's Got A Gal". "All I Want To Do Is Rock" is a cover of the Mighty Kong song.

Cover versions[edit]

Australian band Kisschasy did a cover version of the song for their 2007 single release of "Opinions Won't Keep You Warm At Night". The song has been performed by Holly Throsby on one of radio network Triple J's Like A Version segments; while Kevin Mitchell, performing as Bob Evans, covered the song with You Am I on one of the band's Live at the Wireless sets. Paul Dempsey included a version of the song on his "Shotgun Karaoke" EP, released in 2013.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 01 May 1994". ARIA. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Hottest 100 list 1994
  3. ^ Hottest 100 of all time 1998
  4. ^ Hottest 100 of all time 2009
  5. ^ You Am I.com.au Archived February 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Swan, David (27 August 2012). "Tim Rogers In The Firing Line:'I’m pretty low-brow entertainment'". FasterLouder. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Mathieson, Craig (1996). Hi Fi Days. St Leonards, NSW, Australia: Allen & Unwin. pp. 106–7. ISBN 1 86448 232 X. 
  8. ^ Dan Condon. "The 50 best Australian songs of the 90s". Double J. 
  9. ^ http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/news/36968/Paul-Dempseys-Shotgun-Karaoke-tracklist-revealed