Neon Ballroom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Neon Ballroom
Silverchair - Neon Ballroom.jpg
Studio album by
Released8 March 1999
Recorded9 May – 7 October 1998
StudioFestival Studio, Pyrmont, New South Wales, Australia
GenreAlternative rock,[1] art rock[2]
Length49:41
Label
ProducerNick Launay
Silverchair chronology
Freak Show
(1997)
Neon Ballroom
(1999)
The Best Of: Volume 1
(2000)
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

Neon Ballroom is the third studio album by Australian alternative rock band Silverchair, released in 1999 by record labels Murmur and Epic. The tracks "Anthem for the Year 2000", "Ana's Song (Open Fire)", "Miss You Love" and "Paint Pastel Princess" were released as singles and a short film was released for the song "Emotion Sickness". Neon Ballroom debuted at No. 1 on the Australian albums chart and peaked at No. 50 on the US Billboard 200 chart. The album was nominated for 10 ARIA Awards[3] and was certified Triple Platinum by the ARIA for selling over 210,000 copies in Australia. The album has been described as "heavy rock with orchestral flourishes and synthetic touches with powerfully emotional lyrics" that reflects the personal demons of frontman Daniel Johns, due to the band's rapid international success.[4]

Background, writing and recording[edit]

From May 1998, Silverchair worked on their third studio album, Neon Ballroom, with Nick Launay (The Birthday Party, Models, Midnight Oil) producing again.[5][6] 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.[7]

In 1999, Johns announced that he had developed the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, due to anxiety.[8] Johns noted that the lyrics to "Ana's Song (Open Fire)" dealt with his disorder ("And Ana wrecks your life/like an anorexia life"), where he would "eat what he needed [...] to stay awake."[9] 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."[10] Johns sought therapy and medication but felt "It's easier for me to express it through music and lyrics".[8]

Johns said the album was approached differently compared to the band's previous records: "The first two albums were written with the music being second to something else – like school, and everything else that teenagers go through. My mind was on many things, and music was just one of them. On this album, music was the only thing I was doing and the only thing that I had to concentrate on. I approached it differently in that all of the songs were written as poetry. In three months I wrote about 112 poems, and I made a collage out of the poems, and turned the words that meant the most to me into songs. Then I wrote the music around words, rather than writing the words around the music."[11]

Drummer Ben Gillies said about the writing process, "In our year off, [Johns] turned into a hermit, we didn't see him that much. Me and Chris were keeping normal hours, and surfing and hanging out with mates. I didn't really think about the writing, I was just thinking about having a good time. I did have a hand in two songs, though "Spawn Again" which was actually for the movie Spawn, and "Trash" which is kind of heavy, a fast, punky one, but it didn't make the album, I am going to try and be more involved with the writing on the next album. This time I was just lapping up the great atmosphere here in Newcastle."[11]

Content[edit]

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'".[12]

"Spawn Again" dates back to 1996, originally considered for the band's Freak Show album. It was recorded under the original title "Spawn" when demoing tracks for Neon Ballroom and included, in remixed form by hip-hop group Vitro on the 1997 soundtrack to the film Spawn, adding various electronic elements to the track. A "Pre-Vitro" mix of the same recording was also released on the Neon Ballroom Limited Edition bonus disc, Volume 1 in 2000, and the Rarities 1994–1999 compilation in 2002.

The Neon Ballroom album version is a complete re-recording of the song, re-titled "Spawn Again", featuring additional lyrics, specifically an entire verse adding to the animal liberation narrative. The album recording of "Anthem for the Year 2000" is a different mix on the Australian release than the one found on other releases (including singles). "Satin Sheets" was originally called "Punk Song #3" (and was a contender for Freak Show) and "Paint Pastel Princess" was "All the Same to Me".[citation needed]

Johns wrote all the songs on the album except "Spawn Again" which he co-wrote with Gillies.

Release[edit]

Neon Ballroom was released on 8 March 1999 on Sony Records imprint Murmur. The album debuted at number 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart,[13] and was certified 4× platinum by ARIA. It was also certified Gold in the United States. Neon Ballroom outsold Freak Show in North America and throughout the world. To date it has sold a total of 2 million albums worldwide.[citation needed] The album charted in Canada, where it peaked at No. 5.[14] It reached the top 40 on the United Kingdom Albums Chart.[15]

The album has also been issued in gatefold cover vinyl, limited edition cassette and 180 gram vinyl in 2010, as well as in a double pack with Freak Show. On initial release in the UK, Neon Ballroom was issued as a limited edition with a bonus enhanced CD (see track listing).

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.[13] "Ana's Song (Open Fire)" peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks.[16] A vinyl version of the album was limited to 5,000 copies worldwide.[citation needed] 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.[17]

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.[18][19]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[20]
Electric Music Online91%[21]
Entertainment WeeklyB[22]
Rock Hard (de)8.5/10[23]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[24]
Ultimate Guitar9.9/10[25]

Electric Music Online, who gave it a score of 91%, wrote a highly positive review of the album, and picked "Satin Sheets" and "Miss You Love" as the record's best songs.[21]

Sun-Sentinel writer Marc Weinroth heavily praised Silverchair's ballads on Neon Ballroom, as well as the use of an orchestra on many of the album's songs.[26]

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."[5]

German music magazine Rock Hard gave the album a positive score of 8.5 out of 10.[23]

Legacy[edit]

In 2019, David James Young of Australian website Junkee wrote that Silverchair "rarely felt more alive than on Neon Ballroom" and that "it's not the sound of a band aping its heroes — it's the sound of a band shedding its skin; an ugly but nonetheless necessary process of evolution". Young also complimented Silverchair's use of an orchestra on the album, as it "feels vital to these moments on the record, adding further dramatic tension to a record that's already thriving off of it." About the mixed reception it received from some critics, Young wrote: "With 20 years of hindsight, however — not to mention eight full years of Silverchair being spoken of in the past tense — there's a chance for those that may not have understood exactly where Neon Ballroom was coming from to reevaluate it under a new light. Consider that, when a lot of the criticisms were made about Neon Ballroom, it was from the viewpoint of being the most recent studio album for a still-active band."[27]

The music website Concrete Playground ranked Neon Ballroom the 27th best Australian album.[28] The American online magazine Loudwire had two songs from the record, "Anthem for the Year 2000" and "Ana's Song (Open Fire)" on its list "50 Rock Songs That Defined 1999".[29] Loudwire also included Neon Ballroom on the list "15 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1999".[30] Australian radio station Double J ranked the album number 7 on its ranking of "The 50 Best Australian Albums of the '90s".[31]

British magazine Kerrang! featured Neon Ballroom on the magazine's list of "The 50 Best Albums from 1999".[32]

In October 2010, the album was listed at number 25 in the book 100 Best Australian Albums.[8]

Touring[edit]

Silverchair added an auxiliary keyboardist, Sam Holloway (ex-Cordrazine), for the Neon Ballroom Tour.[5] 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.[5] The group appeared at festivals in Reading and Edgefest, amongst others.[33]

Following the tour, the band announced that they would be taking a 12-month-break.[34] Their only live performance in 2000 was at the Falls Festival on New Year's Eve.[7][35] 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.[34]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Daniel Johns, except "Spawn Again", written by Johns and Ben Gillies.

No.TitleLength
1."Emotion Sickness"6:02
2."Anthem for the Year 2000"4:08
3."Ana's Song (Open Fire)"3:42
4."Spawn Again"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
Total length:49:41
Limited edition bonus disc
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Anthem for the Year 2000" (a cappella version) 3:15
2."Spawn" (pre-vitro version)Johns, Gillies2:56
3."Emotion Sickness" (video)  

Release history[edit]

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

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[52] 3× Platinum 210,000double-dagger
Canada (Music Canada)[53] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[54] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[55] Silver 60,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[56] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kellmurray, Beth (13 November 2014). "Silverchair to Reissue 'Neon Ballroom' On Vinyl". Diffuser.fm. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  2. ^ Milner, Greg (April 1999). "Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". Spin. p. 23. ...here they've embraced full-on art rock.
  3. ^ "Winners by Year 1999 - ARIA". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  4. ^ Desoto, Lucy (October 2016). Australia Rocks: Remembering the music of the 1950s to 1990s. ISBN 9781775592983.
  5. ^ a b c d McFarlane, 'silverchair' entry. Archived from the original on 19 April 2004. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  6. ^ Spencer, et al.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Fisher, Blair R (11 July 1999). "Silverchair Frontman Reveals Battle with Anorexia". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  10. ^ Sams, Christine (6 June 2004). "Anorexia almost killed me: Daniel Johns". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Silverchair – Lighting Up the Neon Ballroom". Metal Edge. Silverchair Press. 1 June 1999. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Silverchair: Skeletons in the Closet". FasterLouder. 27 March 2007. Archived from the original on 4 August 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  13. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Silverchair Discography". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Silverchair > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  15. ^ Roberts, David, ed. (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). HIT Entertainment. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  16. ^ "Silverchair > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Archived from the original on 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  17. ^ Chonin, Neva (18 March 1999). "Silverchair: Neon Ballroom". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 6 July 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  18. ^ Carr, Matt (26 May 2011). "Silverchair take "indefinite" Break". The Newcastle Herald. Archived from the original on 27 May 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  19. ^ "Silverchair Signs with Eleven: Eleven signs with EMI". Silverchair. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  20. ^ Anderson, Jason. "Neon Ballroom – Silverchair | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Neon Ballroom Review". chairpage.com. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  22. ^ Lanham, Tom (16 March 1999). "My Three Sons: Silverchair Grows Up on "Neon Ballroom"". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  23. ^ a b Mühlmann, Wolf-Rüdiger (1999). "Neon Ballroom review". Rock Hard. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  24. ^ Chonin, Neva (18 March 1999). "[Neon Ballroom review]". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  25. ^ "Silverchair: Neon Ballroom | Reviews". Ultimate Guitar. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  26. '^ Weinroth, Marc. "Silverchair Shines in Neon Ballrooms Ballads". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  27. ^ Young, David James. "20 Years of Neon Ballroom, the Album That Saved Silverchair". Junkee. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  28. ^ Fogarty, Rich. "The 100 Best Australian Albums of All Time". Concrete Playground. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  29. ^ Childers, Chad. "50 Rock Songs That Defined 1999". Loudwire. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  30. ^ Childers, Chad. "15 Best Hard Rock Albums of 1999". Loudwire. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  31. ^ "Double J Have Ranked The 50 Best Australian Albums Of The '90s, And It's A Smidge Controversial". Junkee. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  32. ^ "The 50 Best Albums from 1999". Kerrang!. 24 June 2020.
  33. ^ Young, Daniel (29 August 1999). "Reading Festival – Reading, UK". Silverchair. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  34. ^ a b "Band: silverchair – Stories and Highlights". Long Way to the Top. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 2001. Archived from the original on 25 September 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  35. ^ Thomas, Les. "Silverchair, The Falls Festival, Lorne, Victoria, 31/12/00". Massive Magazine. Silverchair. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
  36. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  37. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  38. ^ "Silverchair Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  39. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  40. ^ "Lescharts.com – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  41. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  42. ^ "Charts.nz – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  43. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  44. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  45. ^ "Silverchair | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  46. ^ "Silverchair Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  47. ^ "1999 ARIA Albums Charts". Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  48. ^ "RPM 1999: Top 100 CDs". RPM. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  49. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  50. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1999". The Official New Zealand Music Chart. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  51. ^ "1999 The Year in Music: Top Billboard 200 Albums". Billboard. Vol. 111 no. 52. 27 December 1999. pp. 45–46.
  52. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2020 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 10 August 2020.
  53. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". Music Canada.
  54. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". Recorded Music NZ.
  55. ^ "British album certifications – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". British Phonographic Industry.
  56. ^ "American album certifications – Silverchair – Neon Ballroom". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
Sources