Temple of Low Men

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Temple of Low Men
Studio album by
Released5 July 1988
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: 12 June 1988
  2. "When You Come"
    Released: August 1988
  3. "Into Temptation"
    Released: December 1988
  4. "Sister Madly"
    Released: 1989
  5. "I Feel Possessed"
    Released: 29 January 1990

Temple of Low Men is the second studio album by New Zealand-Australian rock band Crowded House, released by Capitol Records on 5 July 1988. The three band members, Neil Finn, Nick Seymour and Paul Hester, recorded the album in Melbourne and Los Angeles with Mitchell Froom as producer. 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 US Billboard 200.

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".


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 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.[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. Richard Thompson performed the solo on "Sister Madly".


Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Sun-Times[6]
Classic Rock6/10[7]
Los Angeles Times[8]
Record Mirror3+12/5[11]
Rolling Stone[12]
The Village VoiceC[14]

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 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."[14]

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 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]

Additional musicians[edit]


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1988-95) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[15] 1
Canadian Albums Chart[16] 10
Dutch Albums Chart[17] 20
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[18] 2
UK Albums Chart[19] 99
US Billboard 200[20] 40

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1988) Position
Australia (ARIA Charts) 14


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[21] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[23] Platinum 15,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Bourke, Chris (1997). Crowded House: Something So Strong. South Melbourne, Victoria: Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-7329-0886-8.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Nimmervoll, Ed. "Crowded House". Howlspace. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 21 February 2001. 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 – Crowded House". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  6. ^ McLeese, Don (18 July 1988). "Crowded House, 'Temple of Low Men' (Capitol)". Chicago Sun-Times. ISSN 1553-8478. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  7. ^ Staunton, Terry (25 October 2016). "Crowded House – 30th Anniversary Reissues album review". Classic Rock. Retrieved 21 January 2023.
  8. ^ Hochman, Steve (17 July 1988). "Crowded House—Hooky, Introspective Pop". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  9. ^ Fyfe, Andy (August 2021). "Home Comforts". Mojo. No. 333. p. 36. ISSN 1351-0193.
  10. ^ Donegan, Lawrence (30 July 1988). "Crowded House: Temple of the Low Men". NME. p. 29. ISSN 0028-6362.
  11. ^ Giles, David (6 August 1988). "Crowded House: Temple of Low Men". Record Mirror. p. 31. ISSN 0144-5804.
  12. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (14–28 July 1988). "Crowded House: Temple Of Low Men". Rolling Stone. ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 8 May 2006. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  13. ^ Pinnock, Tom (December 2016). "Crowded House". Uncut. No. 235. p. 52. ISSN 1368-0722.
  14. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (29 November 1988). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. ISSN 0042-6180. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  15. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Crowded House – Temple of Low Men". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  16. ^ "RPM Top Albums/CDs – Volume 48, No. 22, 17 September 1988" Archived 19 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine Library and Archives Canada
  18. ^ "Charts.nz – Crowded House – Temple of Low Men". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100 - Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company.
  20. ^ "Crowded House - Crowded House" Billboard
  21. ^ "Crowded House at ARIAs". ARIA Charts. 26 May 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  22. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Crowded House – Temple of Low Men". Music Canada.
  23. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Crowded House – Temple of Low Men". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 10 August 2022.

External links[edit]