"Straight Lines", the first single from Young Modern, saw a change in direction for Silverchair, both musically and in their first self-produced album. The song won the ARIA Award for "Song of the Year" in 2007.
"Straight Lines" is a song by Australian rock band Silverchair. It was released on 20 March 2007, and debuted at number one on the ARIA Singles Chart. The single was shortly followed by the release of the band's fifth studio albumYoung Modern on 31 March 2007. Unlike the songs written during Diorama where Daniel Johns wrote all the tracks himself, "Straight Lines" was co-written by The Presets' Julian Hamilton. On 19 February 2007, it became the band's first Australian number one single since 1997's "Freak". On 2 September 2007, "Straight Lines" was accredited Double Platinum by ARIA, representing combined digital sales and physical shipment of 140,000 singles in Australia, equalling "Tomorrow" as their best selling single. On 28 October 2007, "Straight Lines" won "Best Selling Australian Single" at the ARIA Music Awards of 2007, as well as "Single of the Year". The song was the most played song on Australian radio in 2007. It charted at number two on the Triple J Hottest 100 for 2007 and missed out on the number-one spot by only 13 votes. As of January 2008, the single has remained in the top 50 for over 40 weeks.
"Straight Lines" is generally a positive and upbeat song. The song is about feeling alone in the world, but making it through tough times and overcoming them. This is illustrated in the lyrics such as "Lately I'm a desperate believer, but I'm walking in a straight line" and "There's no changing yesterday...everything will be fine". Another interpretation is that of recovery from addiction. The song's meaning appears to be a biographical comment from lead singer Daniel Johns who fought anorexia, clinical depression and reactive arthritis in the late nineties and early millennium, and was able to beat them. It also appears to be about being content with your place in life, thus walking in a straight line. As demonstrated in research into recuperation from addiction, mental illness and chronic pain, this can also mean a contraction of existence to a narrow path of routine as a coping mechanism. Some have interpreted the 'become a desperate believer' lyric as reflecting the disconcerting innate religiosity of 12-step paradigms of behavioural and chemical addiction.
Footage for the video, which fans were invited to appear in, was shot in Sydney. The music video for the single appeared on the official website and released to radio on 2 February 2007. The video for the song also premiered on the day. It features a dynamic band performance that was filmed at the Olympic Park railway station, Sydney by directors Paul Goldman and Alice Bell (the pair behind the acclaimed film Suburban Mayhem). The video was awarded "Best Video" at the 2007 ARIA Awards and was a Contender for Best Rock Video at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.