Temple of Low Men

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Temple of Low Men
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 1, 1988 (1988-07-01)
StudioPlatinum Studio (Melbourne)
Sunset Sound (Los Angeles)
GenrePop rock, alternative rock, jangle pop
ProducerMitchell Froom
Crowded House chronology
Crowded House
Temple of Low Men
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: 29 January 1990

Temple of Low Men is the second studio album by the 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".


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Sun-Times3.5/4 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[3]
Los Angeles Times3.5/4 stars[4]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[5]
The Village VoiceC[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.[1] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice panned the album as being buried in sanctimonious self-pity, and commented that "Finn has neglected the only thing he has to offer the world: perky hooks."[6]


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.[7] 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 bandmate 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.[8] Music journalist Ed Nimmervoll claimed that Seymour's temporary departure was because Finn blamed him for causing his writer's block,[9] however Finn cited "artistic differences" as the reason.[8] Seymour said that after a month he contacted Finn and they agreed that he would return to the band.[8]

Composition and recording[edit]

Neil Finn wrote all ten tracks for Temple of Low Men during the two years since their first album.[10] 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.

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.[10]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Neil Finn, unless otherwise noted.

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
Total length:38:04
2016 reissue adds a 2nd disc: Unreleased and rare material
1."Whispers and Moans (Home Demo)" 2:03
2."Never be the Same (Home Demo)" 1:19
3."Dream On (Home Demo)" 1:31
4."Never Been Born (Rehearsal Excerpt)" 1:01
5."Think I'm Gonna Change (Home Demo)" 1:43
6."Into Temptation (Home Demo)" 2:17
7."Fire Will Keep Me Warm (In the Lowlands Home Demo)" 1:25
8."Love This Life (Home Demo)" 2:25
9."Sister Madly (Studio Outtake)" 3:30
10."Mansion in the Slums (Live)" 4:47
11."This is Massive (Live)"Paul Hester4:02
12."Love This Life (Live)" 3:41
13."In the Lowlands (Live)" 6:21
14."I Feel Possessed (Live)" 6:11
15."Burnt Out Tree (Live)" 1:27
16."Mr. Tambourine Man (Live)"Bob Dylan2:35
17."Eight Miles High (Live)"Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn, David Crosby4:50
18."So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star (Live)"Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn2:49
19."When You Come (live)" 7:06
20."Sister Madly (Live)" 4:59
21."Better Be Home Soon (Live)" 5:11
Total length:71:13

Crowded House[edit]

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

Additional musicians[edit]


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



In the United States Temple of Low Men did not chart as well as their debut, only reaching number 40 on the Billboard 200.[11] However it reached number one in Australia,[12] number two in New Zealand,[13][14] and number ten in Canada.[15] It was certified platinum in New Zealand (x3),[citation needed] Canada (x2)[citation needed] and Spain.[16]

Chart Peak
Australian Albums Chart[12] 1
Canadian Albums Chart[15] 10
New Zealand Albums Chart[14] 2
UK Albums Chart[17] 138
US Billboard 200[11] 40

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


The first single "Better Be Home Soon" peaked at number two in Australia and New Zealand.[12][13][14] number eight in Canada,[18] and reached the top 50 in the US Billboard Hot 100.[19][20] The following four singles had less chart success in Australia or New Zealand,[12][13] 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[12] Can[21] Ned[22] Ger[23] NZ[14] US[24]
"Better Be Home Soon" 2 8 31 59 2 42
"When You Come" 27
"Into Temptation" 59 20 38
"Sister Madly" 66 92 26
"I Feel Possessed" 93
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  1. ^ a b Woodstra, Chris. "Temple of Low Men – Crowded House". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  2. ^ McLeese, Don (18 July 1988). "Crowded House, 'Temple of Low Men' (Capitol)". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  4. ^ Hochman, Steve (17 July 1988). "Crowded House. 'Temple of Low Men.' Capitol". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (14 July 1988). "Crowded House: Temple Of Low Men". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 8 May 2006. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (29 November 1988). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  7. ^ Bourke, Chris (1997). Crowded House: Something So Strong. South Melbourne, Victoria: Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-7329-0886-8. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Denton, Andrew (16 July 2007). "Neil Finn and Nick Seymour". Enough Rope with Andrew Denton. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Archived from the original on 17 August 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  9. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Crowded House". Howlspace. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 21 February 2001. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b "Billboard > Artists / Crowded House > Chart History > Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e Australian (ARIA Chart) peaks:
  13. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discography Crowded House". New Zealand Charts Portal (Hung Medien). Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d "Discography Crowded House" charts.org.nz
  15. ^ a b "RPM Top Albums/CDs – Volume 48, No. 22, 17 September 1988" Archived 19 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine Library and Archives Canada
  16. ^ "Temple of Low Men (1988)" Archived 31 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine crowdedhouse.com
  17. ^ "1994–2008 > Chris C. – CZR" Chart Log UK
  18. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 48, No. 20, September 03 1988" Archived 20 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine, RPM, Library and Archives Canada
  19. ^ "Crowded House > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  20. ^ "Crowded House > Charts & Awards > Singles" Allmusic
  21. ^ Canadian chart peaks:
  22. ^ "DISCOGRAFIE CROWDED HOUSE" dutchcharts.nl
  23. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Crowded House / Single" Musicline.de
  24. ^ "Billboard > Artists / Crowded House > Chart History > The Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 8 August 2016.

External links[edit]