Silverchair, oh you.

While killing time, I will strangely get the urge to comb the internet for complete discographies of bands I either don't like that much, used to like back in the day, or have been told I need to hear. This has lead to time spent with The Police(good singles, ditch the rest), Fleetwood Mac(ditto), DMX and 2Pac(sorry, can't do it). In the realm of bands I used to like but then I went to college, you'll find the embarrassments called Silverchair and Bush. I should be nicer to Bush because even 14 years later Sixteen Stone houses some killer tracks, and "Glycerine", which is still a terrible song. Of course, every subsequent Bush release was a case of diminished returns and bandwagon following. Each record yielded at least a track or two that could be enjoyed, but by Golden State there were no hooks to be found and Bush broke up soon afterward. Suprisingly, Gavin Rossdale has found new success as a solo artist with that terrible dirge they ran in the trailers for that crapball Diane Lane hotel movie. Thanks a lot, The Fray. But Silverchair, jeez. I know some people who swear by this band, but holy hell, some of this shit is just embarressing. The early records sound like Nirvana for dummies while their later era work is the textbook example of overproduced. I can only imagine the number of tracks in protools. "Y'know what this song needs? About three layers of strings and orchestral arrangements around it." Diorama is not for the faint of heart.

Much of Silverchair's recorded output is instantly dated. Frogstomp sounds like a calender from 1995, with its loud soft dynamics and nonsensical lyrics of "Pure Massacre". The rhyme schemes on display are pedestrian and weak. I know the band was in its teens when this record and Freak Show were written, but dumb is dumb. Digging through the work of Silverchair can feel like such a relentless downer that any moment of wit or ingenuity can be overstated. That being said, "Abuse Me" is still a pretty good song. An attack on their critics, it is a rare moment when the band steps out of their comfort zone and delivers a song with restraint and while it closes in the usual screaming Silverchair style, took some detours to get there. For that, I tip my hat.

When Young Modern came out last year, I was surprised that Silverchair still existed anymore. I was even more surprised that lead singer Daniel Johns had decided to ape Coldplay and other Brit-rock contempories along with Fleetwood Mac and sing most of the songs in a high falsetto. Now, Silverchair don't owe me a goddamn thing, but what the fuck is this?


 

Clearly, the heroes of 90's were not meant for the aughts. Scott Weiland is shuffling around somewhere and it is just as sad to listen to. Did you guys hear Chinese Democracy? Probably not, but if you did, ugh right? As unfortunate as Diorama was, Young Modern sounds like the unfortunate case of a band without an identity, scrambling to hang on to anything so as not to be washed away. According to reports from their various shows touring for this album, the new stuff was the name of the game, with very few nods to their past work, or as I like to call it, the reason anyone showed up. Listening to YM for this piece was a pretty tough experience. Every track is a headslapper, a bad idea made true in your ears, and it was all I could do not to just switch it off right there. But I wanted to give an objective report. And the report is that if you've been ignoring Silverchair the past ten years or so, keep up the good work.  

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