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4.3 out of 5 stars
Freak Show
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
When Silverchair first came into the scene in '95, people often compared these three teenagers from Newcastle to the Seattle sound and Grunge bands such as Pearl Jam, Nirvana or Soundgarden. I was 10 when "Frogstomp" was released and I got the album on tape at the mall when I heard their single "Tomrrow" on MTV, and they closely resembled Nirvana by how they looked, considering I grew up on Grunge music before I went off to Middle School and always admired bands like Nirvana dn Pearl Jam.

Two years later in '97, I was 12 and in 6th grade and I was watching MTV (back when MTV was actually decent) and saw a few new videos off the upcoming Silverchair CD at the time, "Freak Show." The single "Abuse Me" persuaded me to buy this album at Tower Records. I even went to my first concert that year. Guess who it was? Silverchair.

Looking back at this record they did, it's easier for me to say I prefer this album over "Frogstomp." They still stick to the Grunge or Post-Grunge formula in making their music, they were about 17 when this album came out? Anyways. "Freak Show" also had elements musically that wasn't featured on their debut album "Frogstomp." The thrashy punk/metal tunes such as "Lie to Me", "No Association", and "Learn to Hate" are examples. I feel this is Silverchair at their best and while this album did had the Grunge sound in some tracks, the emotion of the lyrics and songs catch the listener from start to finish. When I first heard this CD in '97, I was moved by this kind of music they did. Such emotions can be found in songs such as "Cemetery" which also was a minor hit single for them. Although I could be wrong. One song in particular, "Petrol & Chlorine" was obviously stuff that wasn't featured on their first record. Because of the new instruments found and heard in some songs on the album. Such as strings, Indian instruments and etc.

And those last 2 songs on that album, WOW! Track 12 "Nobody Came" has that wailing guitar solo near the end and "The Closing" is a perfect way to end the CD with the chugging riffs and power chords! Even the guitar work in this album like the opening track, "Slave" has that bridge/solo where Daniel Johns hits that sludgy guitar aggressively. This album is in fact retaining the elements of "Frogstomp" but they branch out with a mix of acoustic balads, thrashy metal/punk and etc.

This is Silverchair at their best, although I could say I am still a big fan of them. Their newer stuff isn't just the same. It's too bad Silverchair doesn't play or create music like this anymore but I've learned to deal with it. "Freak Show" I would say, is possibly the last Grunge album they ever did put out. And also from my memory, the last album that was from a then-Grunge band that became mainstream. I did like some of the stuff they did in "Neon Ballroom" which was the time Silverchair began doing more a Experimental style and sound by bringing in different instruments and sounds and styles into their music. I sort of did like "Diorama" considering I'm a huge fan of early Silverchair. Although their newer stuff while I have nothing against it, it's musically different from the first 2 Silverchair albums. But I'd say this is my personal favorite from them.

This album still sounds fresh today. Even 11 years after it came out. I prefer "Freak Show" over 99% of the mainstream music nowadays. Nowadays you don't get Rock music like this anymore. I personally can relate to this album emotionally and personally through the depth of the songs and quality in the music.

And lastly, a shameless self-promotion of my band Blizzard of Sound. [...] / Check out my demos.

My favorite Silverchair albums:
1) Freak Show
2) Frogstomp OR Neon Ballroom (TIE)
3) Diorama
4) Young Modern
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Despite all the harsh criticism Silverchair has received (ex. Nirvana In Pajamas, Silver High Chair), I decided to give this album (the first one I picked up from SC) and was quite surprised. "Abuse Me" nicely displays the soft/loud dynamic that the group mastered, and "Freak" is a catchy rocker despite sketchy lyrics like "No more maybes, your baby's got rabies". More impressive were some of the songs not released as singles, like "Slave", "Learn To Hate", and "The Closing", all of which were apparently written during a very depressing time in Daniel Johns's life. "Petrol & Chlorine" is a left-of-center slower-paced song with sitar, lyrically focusing on another depression related topic - suicide. A few tracks like "The Door" and "Cemetery" are not quite as strong as the rest of the album (the latter sounds like a re-write of the Smashing Pumpkins song "Disarm") and some of the lyrics verge on nonsense, but considering that the band members were about 17-18 years of age when they recorded this, the album is quite impressive. Unfortunately, their two follow ups were both bland, ballad-heavy affairs - I guess that the inspiration for songwriting faded once Daniel Johns found happiness and contentment. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to hear some solid mid-'90s rock.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Despite all the harsh criticism Silverchair has received (ex. Nirvana In Pajamas, Silver High Chair), I decided to give this album (the first one I picked up from SC) and was quite surprised. "Abuse Me" displays a nice display of the soft/loud dynamic, and "Freak" is a catchy rock tune despite sketchy lyrics like "No more maybes, your baby's got rabies". More impressive were some of the songs not released as singles, like "Slave", "Learn To Hate", and "The Closing", all chronicles of singer Daniel Johns' depression. "Petrol & Chlorine" is a left-of-center slower-paced song with sitar, lyrically focusing on another depression related topic - suicide. A few tracks like "The Door" and "Cemetery" go nowhere interesting (the latter sounds like a re-write of the Smashing Pumpkins song "Disarm") and some of the lyrics are just plain silly, but considering that the band members were about 17-18 years of age when they recorded this, the album is quite impressive. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to hear some strong mid-'90s rock.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Wow. That will be your first thought after listening to this album. The first chords you hear will have you stuck to this CD for a long time. Freak Show contains almost metal songs (Learn to Hate) all the way to slower tunes (Abuse Me). Freak is probably the greatest silverchair song along with Anthem for the year 2000. Abuse Me, the first single, is an awesome song. The quick, rockin' tune of Lie to Me will catch you by surprise. This album is such a step up from Frogstomp it's amazing. It can't be put into words. Buy this CD right now.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is the best of Silverchair. After this album most everything they recorded sucked Crocodile Dundee. The albums after Freak Show were watered down with strings and too many anti-depressants, and considering the record was the epitome of teenage angst in the late nineties it is still as relative, if not more so, today; especially since 'alternative' music is like saying Top 40 nowadays. Diorama is like diarrhea. Does anyone else smell burn out?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I am a HUGE silverchair fan and absolutley LOVED this album! It was a mixture of the two albums, it had a lot of punk rock attitude plus more of a creative side, like Neon Ballroom. All tree band members and guests on the album did a brilliant job. Make sure you get it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This album shows Silverchair growing signifigantly, both musically and creatively. It's angry, pure, loud, but most of all, fun. The dinky windows 95 macromedia enhancement is really funny, too :D I enjoyed it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
"frogstomp" blew my mind at a young age and still does today."freak show" came to me as a surprise christmas gift in 1997, as i had completely forgotten all about the band and their works.when i popped the disc in, it surprised me at first, but after several listens it has its very own charm:

1. slave: 10/10 this song completely stole the riff from mad season's song "i don't know anything" but silverchair does it much better and the crescendo closing is killer

2. freak: 10/10 good stuff just a basic modern rock song but very well done

3. abuse me: 8/10 tends to drag on until they start to say "throw the sailors overboard" then it picks up a bit

4. lie to me: 10/10 a 1 and a half minute assault brutal and intense

5. no association: 10/10 kind of a spooky song but man it has some extremely heavy riffs

6. cemetary: 9/10 a peek into "neon ballroom"-never really listened to this track but when i do it amazes me

7. the door: 8/10 average rock song i don't know why it's so hyped

8. pop song for us rejects: 10/10 for such a downer title, it has a pretty upbeat instrumentation-great song

9. learn to hate: 10/10 a scoffing chorus with a mellow verse is the perfect combo fo this one

10. petrol and chlorine: 10/10 they broke out tribal instruments and a sitar and made an extremely creative mellow track

11. roses: 10/10 i love this song definitely one of my favorites on here driving drum beat

12. nobody came: 9/10 a fairly long song but it has its moments

13. the closing: 7/10 i have never bothered with this song just never did it for me

"freak show" may have showed a new side of silverchair but one that was extremely promising.if only they could have kept it up...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Silverchair released their sophomore record "Freak Show" in 1997. This album changed the sound of the band ever so slightly, and saw them go in a little bit of a heavier direction. This is my personal favorite Silverchair album, and to think that these guys were only 17 and 18 when then wrote and recorded this is amazing.

I guess you could say that "Freak Show" is kind of a concept album. The album tends to hang around this central idea of outcasts of society and what makes people different to the public eye. It's actually pretty deep stuff for mere kids at the time. It's almost like they went to the Cobainian University of anguish, pain, and misery. The album is an absolute gem throughout, and no song ever warrants the skip button on the album. The songs that I always enjoyed most are "Slave," "No Association," "Learn to Hate," "Freak" and "The Door." However, like I said previously, no song is really what I'd call filler.

This to me was the last really good Silverchair album. Over the course of their next records they got progressively more pop/ballad oriented, and it made me stop following the band shortly thereafter. In order to make your 90's hard rock collection complete, you'll need "Freak Show" and "FrogStomp" in that mentioned collection.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Despite the fact I prefer Frogstomp much more, this album is still quite good, and unfortunately, the last decent album Silverchair have made. Neon Ballroom is a total bust excluding the wonderful "Emotion Sickness", and Diorama rips off countless artists' music, especially on its first track off the album which rips John Lennon's "Imagine". Too bad I'm the only person who seemed to notice that. But back to Freak Show; the only downfall is its thrash songs. "No Association", "Slave", and "Learn to Hate" are all songs on the thrashier side, and they don't move me with their needless, undirected aggression. Most of Silverchair's best songs have an elements of anger to them (like all of the songs off Frogstomp like "Israel's Son", "Pure Massacre", and "Suicidal Dream"), but they were angry for a reason. Daniel Johns just seemed to put angry songs on Freak Show just for the hell of it. I know that Johns was going through his bout with anorexia during the period this album came out, but that doesn't explain who or what he was directing his anger at with the thrashier songs. That qualm aside, the rest of Freak Show shines for the most part. "The Door" is classic, catchy rock. "Cemetery", "Petrol & Chlorine", and "Abuse Me" are all softer songs that have a side of beauty to them. Freak and Roses are catchy, straight-up rock music. "The Closing" and "Nobody Came" are a somber and ominous way to end the album, which is fine by me. If you're going to get some Silverchair music, I suggest Frogstomp first, and Freak Show after that. The single version of "Anthem for the Year 2000" is worth getting too. Try to get "Emotion Sickness" from a friend who already has Neon Ballroom. Also, there's an excellent non-album Silverchair song called "Untitled", so get that from a friend too.
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