when everything is clearly dying”
Silverchair, during the Grunge Era, were just a Nirvana (Pearl Jam) (Soundgarden) talented victim, being nothing more than a pale copy of the big groups, so I didn’t really pay attention to them until Neon Ballroom.
About this album, released in 1999, Daniel Johns himself 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.”
So I remember them being in Bologna, I wasn’t even paying so much attention and they just started playing this song that would shape my musical world forever.
It is a powerful, desperate song which captures the whole scenario of anxiety and depression Johns suffered from, a theme that unifies almost all the lyrics in the album, from Ana’s Song to Paint Pastel Princess, with the exception of Spawn again and Anthem for the year 2000.
As well as being their greatest achievement, it is one of the best 90s post-grunge, alternative-rock albums (or at least, to be honest, a half of it; if this song has a fault, it’s the risk of making each following track disappear). Emotion sickness is a painful musical masterpiece, and it’s quite unbeliavable that Johns had the maturity to write it when he was only a nineteen perfectly angel-faced boy (before the sorta-timberlake conversion), during an angry, hopeless period. It makes you wonder how much we are losing, now, because of all his health issues keeping him off the stage.
Indeed, it is unfortunate that such a talent has been repeatedly wasted, because Emotion sickness is a mighty, sad introspection with the whole strings/guitar/piano thing that makes it just epic.
I think it’s dark and it looks like rain, you said
And the wind is blowing like it’s the end of the world, you said
And it’s so cold it’s like the cold if you were dead.
And then you smiled
for a second
A plainsong is a body of chants used in the Catholic liturgies, consisting in a single, unaccompanied melodic line. This song is from Disintegration, their 8th album, released in 1989: due to the gloomy and aching atmosphere (great use of hallucinogetic drugs was helping that), the label thought it was going to be their commercial suicide; instead, it became Roberth Smith & Co. commercial peak.
Plainsong is the opening of the album, an introspective, slow travel; surely not the most famous song in the album, where we can find classics as Lovesong, Pictures of you or Lullaby, but it is a very peculiar song, orchestral, melancholic, almost religious in its thoughts about time passing by - but then, a moment has been saved: that smile.
Here you can listen to Lovesong, one of the most beautiful songs in music history.