Silverchair - Young Modern
Record Label: Eleven Music Company
Release Date: July 24, 2007
If your mother bears any resemblance to mine, you were probably introduced to music the same way I was—by being strapped into the passenger seat while she drove to get groceries. However, it wasn’t the groceries themselves that reeled me into music. It wasn’t the magazine section where I often spent my time while my mom decided which bologna to buy, either. It was the soft rock she played in the car that did it. And it was all I knew.
I highly doubt I ever heard a Silverchair song on the radio in those days. The mid-nineties had much more to offer to a station geared towards women between the ages of 20-36. However, if Young Modern would have been released back then, and if a song might have accidentally slipped in between Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?” and Amy Grant’s “Baby, Baby,” I surely wouldn’t have noticed, and I doubt my mother would have, either. That’s the great thing about Silverchair.
It’s no wonder they are one of, if not, the most successful bands to ever call Australia home. Boasting an Aussie record of producing five number one albums sure is impressive, especially since the land down-under is the home to AC/DC and Midnight Oil. Their latest, Young Modern, is Silverchair's fifth consecutive album to debut at number one on the ARIA albums chart, making the band the first to accomplish this feat in Australia. The album, (which went double platinum in less than a month), parades some of the best songwriting I have heard in a long time.
“Young Modern Station,” a new-waveish track featuring dance-like drums and lots of keyboards, ushers in the aura of the record with layered instrumentation that is refined yet light. “Straight Lines,” their Aussie #1 hit, however, has been stuck in my head for nearly a day now. The chorus is absolutely magnificent. Singer/guitarist Daniel Johns' voice shines through the hook, breaking with natural exuberance. It’s amazing how this song didn’t make it big in America. Following in the big steps of “Straight Lines” is “If You Keep Losing Sleep,” a circus-like theatre show of xylophone, synthesizer, and organ that is not overwhelmed with instrumentation but remains easy and graceful. “Reflections of a Sound,” backed by keen vocals, is a perfectly-crafted pop song, disclosing the band’s subtle indie influence. “The Man That Knew Too Much” is the most cynical tune on the album, balancing a distorted bass-driven verse and an open chorus, while “Waiting All Day” reminds me of Fleetwood Mac meeting The Eagles at a Jimmy Eat World show.
One of my favorite aspects of Young Modern is the vast diversity featured throughout the album, including “Mind Reader,” which would fit perfectly between Alabama and Steve Miller Band on a mix CD. “Insomnia” operates as another melody-driven track, offering pleasing hooks, as Johns muses “I’ll stay awake for days.”
As I mature, I have no doubt that Silverchair will be one of the staples of my music collection, and I’m ashamed that I waited this long to introduce myself to them. Like many other bands, they have slipped through the cracks of my musical intuitiveness, wrongly characterized as an irrelevant 90’s band that refuses to put their instruments down. Oh, how wrong I was. Heck, Young Modern boasts the type of music that both you and your mother could enjoy. In fact, the next time you’re riding in the car with her, pop in Young Modern without her noticing and see what she says. I’m sure you won’t hear a complaint.
Easily my favorite band of all time but after a couple years to digest the album I can definitely say I did not like it as much as I did Diorama. Rarely a week goes by that I don't listen to a couple songs from Diorama. Young Modern is still a great album, just not as good as what I consider to be the perfect album that came before it. Im now just having trouble deciding if I would put YM or Neon Ballroom at #2 for favorite Silverchair album.