Our Top 10 Silverchair Songs introduce us to an Australian band whose sound evolved throughout their career from grunge to more rock influences. The band’s story would start with a childhood friendship between Daniel Johns and Ben Gillies, who attended the same primary school in Newcastle. Daniel and Ben would have humble beginnings in music started with entertaining schoolmates by singing some rap songs. The two would get introduced to Chris Joannou when they joined high school at the Newcastle High School. They would later on, in 1992, start their music career as Innocent Criminals bringing in guitarist Tobin Finnane as part of the newly formed band. In their first years as a teenage band, Innocent Criminals would entertain masses with cover versions of hit songs from Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple. And in 1994, Innocent Criminals would prove too strong to lose to any other teenage band at the YouthRock national school-based bands competition. Their mainstream breakthrough would follow winning the Pick Me national competition using a demo of “Tomorrow” recorded at Platinum Sound Studios. ABC alternative radio station Triple J would help them record the song where they would change their name to Silverchair for the video broadcast. Eventually, Silverchair would release its debut album, Frogstomp, while the band members were only fifteen and still high school students.
The debut album became the number one album in Australia and hit the top ten Billboard 200, making the young band a true sensation in their art. Immense success would follow in 1995, with Silverchair winning five awards at the ARIA Music Awards. By the time the band members were getting done with their high school education in 1997, they had already achieved both critical and commercial success in the music industry. Here are the top 10 Silverchair songs that prove that the band was a true sensation even though starting their career at quite a tender age.
#10 – Pure Massacre
Ushering us into the top 10 Silverchair songs is “Pure Massacre” from the band’s debut album, Frogstomp. The song served as a perfect follow-up jam to their debut single “Tomorrow.” Thanks to the band’s great name, that “Pure Massacre” peaked at number two in Australia. Silverchair’s guitarist and lead artist Daniel Johns would reveal in an interview that the song “Pure Massacre” was inspired by the Bosnian War. Thus, “Pure Massacre” serves as a perfect roadmap to early Silverchair, who were the young princes of grunge!
#9 – The Greatest View
Featured in Silverchair’s fourth studio album, Diorama, “The Greatest View,” is one of the three songs Daniel Johns recorded using his Rickenbacker 12 string. The song was inspired by Daniel’s feeling of being watched over by many people and his awareness that he controls his destiny. “The Greatest View” would peak at number 3 in Australia and later reaching number 36 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart following an EP by Warner Bros. Records.
#8 – Abuse Me
Written by Silverchair’s lead artist Daniel Johns, “Abuse Me” made the perfect lead single for the band’s 1997 album Freak Show. “Abuse Me” served as a perfect way to relieve feelings Daniel had developed from negative criticism on commentary. Here he urges people to say what they think about them, as they don’t worry about a thing and will continue making their music. This song probably serves as a perfect anthem for everyone, weighed down by tons of negative criticism that comes from all sides of our lives, even from close friends and family members.
#7 – Straight Lines
The song “Straight Lines” rekindled the fire in the one-time teenage band by debuting at number one on the ARIA Singles Chart. Released in their fifth album, Young Modern, “Straight Lines” is a combined effort by Daniel Johns and the Presets’ Julian Hamilton. “Straight Lines” is an upbeat song about feeling lonely in the world but rising above the tough times and feeling to make it big. Daniel Johns puts this from a personal perspective having him suffer reactive arthritis, anorexia, and clinical depression back in the 90s but triumphed!
#6 – Israel’s Son
Released as the third single from their debut album, “Israel’s Son” strikes a balance between grunge and alternative metal to create a perfect song for a debut album. “Israel’s Son” was about an execution Daniel had seen on the TV. While some people might quote the song’s lyrics wrongly, John Watson, Silverchair’s band manager, said that the band does not condone violence of any kind. This followed a 1996 murder case where two teenagers claimed that this song by Silverchair led to the murder of two people.
#5 – Anthem for the Year 2000
There was no better way for the Silverchair band to celebrate the turn to a new century and millennium than having quite some powerful message sent out to the world’s youths. Featured in the band’s album, Neon Ballroom “Anthem for the Year 2000” is about youth rebelling against people suppressing their expression. Silverchair felt that there was a need for the youth globally to control their will and reasoning while trying to be themselves. The song’s chorus is quite sarcastic and should not be taken with too much seriousness.
#4 – Freak
Reaching at number one of ARIA Singles and US Rock and Metal Charts, the song “Freak” from Silverchair’s album Freak Show is one of the most popular ballads by the band. However, something quite captivating about the song other than the great vocals and instrumentals is its sublime video. Notably, the video features the band playing in an oven chamber while being monitored in a control room by a scientist. Thanks to Gerald Casale for directing an award-winning video, winning the International Viewer’s Choice Award for MTV Australia in 1997.
#3 – Tomorrow
Featured in the band’s debut album, “Tomorrow” went down as its most instrumental song to their success. The band’s breakthrough hit was having it be their first song on the charts at number one. “Tomorrow” went ahead to win three wards for the band, including Singles of the Year, Highest Selling Single, and Breakthrough Artist. The song was inspired by a documentary Silverchair watched where a wealthy guy lived as a homeless person for a week.
#2 – Ana’s Song (Open Fire)
Nominated for two ARIA Awards and earning a Comet Awards in Germany, “Ana’s Song (Open Fire)” was yet another hit song from Silverchair’s album Neon Ballroom. Written by Daniel Johns, “Ana’s Song (Open Fire)” was inspired by an eating disorder that he developed due to anxiety and depression. While the song didn’t achieve the top position on the ARIA charts, “Ana’s Song (Open Fire)” charted in many countries, including Australia, the US, Scotland, UK, Sweden, and New Zealand.
#1 – Miss You Love
Silverchair’s best song is the ballad “Miss You Love” from the band’s album Neon Ballroom. While the song feels quite like a love song, it is quite a sad song. Written by lead artist Daniel Johns, “Miss You More” was about lacking the ability to forge a meaningful relationship. The song was featured in the 2000 film Looking for Alibrandi thanks to its popularity amongst the citizens.
Top 10 Silverchair Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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