Left to right: Mark, Nick, Neil, Paul
If there is hell on earth
There must be heaven too
Both in one place
And not a second to lose
— "Heaven That I'm Making"
Crowded House is an Australian
/New Zealand Alternative Rock
band formed in 1985. It's best known
members include lead singer and guitarist, Neil Finn (previously of Split Enz
), bassist, Nick Seymour, Tim Finn
, and drummer, Paul Hester. Crowded House got their name from their uncomfortable living conditions in L.A. during the recording of their first album.
The band gained early success in the U.S. with their brand of clever, exuberant Power Pop
that avoided the overblown production prevalent in the The Eighties
. Their first album spawned the hits, "Something So Strong" and "Don't Dream It's Over" and proved Neil's knack for catchy songwriting. They soon became known for their anarchic live shows and Adorkable
personas. Their second album, Temple of Low Men
, however lost them support due to its Darker and Edgier
brought the band commercial success in the U.K. and Europe allowing them to indulge in the artier Together Alone,
now widely considered their masterpiece. Paul Hester's departure resulted in the band's 1996 breakup culminating in their Farewell Show at the Sydney Opera House.
Post-breakup, Neil launched a successful but low-key solo career and collaborated with members of Radiohead
, The Smiths
, Midnight Oil
, and Pearl Jam
. Paul hosted a talk-show on Australian television and had a recurring role on The Wiggles
as Paul the Cook. Nick moved to Ireland, and notably, produced the debut album of Bell X1. Mark, meanwhile, toured with several other artists, including Ringo Starr
Crowded House reformed in 2007 after the tragic 2005 suicide of Paul Hester. They have released two well-received albums. Neil Finn recently recorded "Song of the Lonely Mountain" for Part One of Peter Jackson's
film adaptation of The Hobbit
and will release his third solo album in 2014.
- Neil Finn: Vocals, Guitars, Piano (1985-1996; 2007-Present)
- Paul Hester: Drums (1985-1994; 1996; Deceased)
- Nick Seymour: Bass, Art Direction (1985-1996; 2007-Present)
- Tim Finn: Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards (1990-1991)
- Mark Hart: Guitars, Keyboards, Lap Steel Guitar (1992-1996; 2007-Present)
- Peter Jones: Drums (1994-1996; Deceased)
- Matt Sharrod: Drums (2007-Present)
- Craig Hooper: Guitars (1985)
- Gill Civil: Keyboards (1987)
- Crowded House (1986)
- Temple of Low Men (1988)
- Woodface (1991)
- Together Alone (1993)
- Time On Earth (2007)
- Intriguer (2010)
- Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House (1996)
- Afterglow (Rarities) (1999)
- The Very Very Best of Crowded House (2010)
Crowded House provide examples of the following tropes:
- Adorkable: The entire band, but especially Nick Seymour.
- After the End: Possibly "In the Lowlands."
- All Drummers Are Animals: Paul, although this was mostly a stage persona.
- Animated Music Video: "Twice If You're Lucky" has an adorable one.
- Anti-Love Song: "That's What I Call Love."
- Audience Participation Song: Several including "Don't Dream It's Over," "Fall At Your Feet," "Four Seasons In One Day," "Weather With You," and "Better Be Home Soon."
- Arc Words: The word "Kitchen" appears on at least one song in each of the first four albums.
- BSide: Afterglow collected several.
- Bald of Awesome: Nick Seymour after the reunion.
- Band of Relatives: Neil and Tim are brothers.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Pour le Monde" has some lines in Gratuitous French.
- Bishōnen: Neil Finn in some photos.
- Bittersweet Ending: Each album (barring the first) ends with a song that is melancholy but hopeful.
- Breakup Breakout: Crowded House was this for Neil who was previously second in command in Split Enz.
- Careful With That Axe: Neil in "Kill Eye" and "Isolation." Paul in "That's What I Call Love" and "I'm Still Here."
- The Comically Serious: Neil played this up in early videos and interviews. He quickly became the foil to the roudier Nick and Paul.
- Conveyor Belt Video: "Don't Dream It's Over" is an award-winning example.
- Creator Backlash: Neil and Nick have both criticized the B-Side, "Dr. Livingston."
- Creator Breakdown: Time On Earth is a largely a tribute to fallen comrade, Paul Hester. Needless to say, Tear Jerkers abound.
- Darker and Edgier: Temple of Low Men lacks the party atmosphere of the first album and its main themes are infidelity and guilt.
- Together Alone takes a darker and heavier turn after the poppy and upbeat Woodface.
- Deadpan Snarker: The whole band.
- Domestic Abuse: Topic of "Catherine Wheels."
- Driven to Suicide: Heavily implied to have happened to the woman in "Catherine Wheels."
- Eagleland: "Chocolate Cake" has some Flavor 2 to it.
- Echoing Acoustics: Much of Together Alone, especially "Kare Kare" and "Private Universe."
- Epic Rocking: Live versions of "Private Universe" and "Hole In The River" tend to hover around the 9 minute mark (with roughly three-minutes of continuous guitar solo in each.)
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "I Am In Love."
- Fan Nickname: The Crowdies.
- The Four Chords of Pop: "Fall At Your Feet."
- Four Temperament Ensemble: Woodface era: Neil is melancholic, Tim is choleric, Paul is sanguine, and Nick is phlegmatic.
- Grief Song: "Hole In the River," "She Goes On," and about half of Time on Earth.
- Hidden Track: "I'm Still Here" at the end of Woodface.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Nails in My Feet" and "Even If."
- Lyrical Dissonance: "She Called Up" is an upbeat song about Paul Hester's suicide.
- The musical style is considered a tribute to Paul's own upbeat taste in music.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually two to four but there are also several ones and fives.
- "Black and White Boy" is a six.
- Mood Whiplash: On Temple of Low Men, the poppy "Sister Madly" is immediately followed by "In the Lowlands."
- On "Together Alone", we have the upbeat "Distant Sun" followed by the very dark "Catherine Wheels".
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Although Together Alone shares the Power Pop roots of the earlier albums, it is also heavily influenced by Folk, Post Punk, Dream Pop, Grunge, and especially World Music in the form of traditional Polynesian styles.
- New Sound Album: Played with: Together Alone explored new genres but was still definitely Crowded House.
- Intriguer added more electronic influences.
- Non-Appearing Title: "Kare Kare."
- Not Christian Rock: Many Crowded House songs have Christian overtones. "She Goes On" is most notable.
- Once per Episode: The aforementioned kitchen references. Neil even deliberately added the line, "Fire one more torpedo baby, watch the kitchen sink," to "Walking On The Spot" so that Together Alone would continue the trend.
- The Perfectionist: Neil Finn. On the commentary for the Farewell show DVD, he pointed out almost every flubbed note from the other band members!
- This perfectionism, however, is the reason their music sounds so good.
- Power Pop: Especially the first two albums.
- Protest Song: "Dr. Livingston" was a protest of the Mozambique Civil War.
- The Quiet One: Mark Hart, who rarely speaks either onstage, or in whole band interviews.
- Refrain from Assuming: The song is "Don't Dream It's Over." Not "Hey Now, Hey Now."
- Revolving Door Band: Not as much as Split Enz but only two original members are left. Tim Finn is one of the best known members but he actually only stayed for a year.
- Sanity Slippage Song: "Kill Eye" is a reminder of how a person can be scarred by guilt.
- Scare Chord: The first burst of "I'm Still Here" especially because the song is by far the heaviest rock song on ''Woodface" and, as a Hidden Track, comes after a half-minute of silence.
- Scenery Porn: The "Making of Together Alone" promo features gorgeous shots of Karekare Beach in New Zealand. Band photos from this era also featured beautiful Kiwi backdrops.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Crowded House gigs always feature some of this. There have been fan club exclusive CD's documenting some of them.
- Silly Love Songs: Crowded House love songs are usually pretty serious and subtle but "I Love You Dawn" and "Italian Plastic" prove that Tropes Are Not Bad. In fact, silliness aside, both qualify as Crowning Moments of Heartwarming.
- Shout Out: The line, "Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup," from "Don't Dream It's Over" is a reference to a similar line in "Across The Universe."
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: "It's Only Natural" has the line, "You and I shake off this mortal coil."
- Step Up to the Microphone: Paul sings lead on "Italian Plastic," "I'm Still Here," "Skin Feeling," and "My Telly's Gone Bung."
- Studio Chatter: Paul says "That's sort of how we do it" at the end of "Sister Madly."
- Surreal Music Video: "Four Seasons In One Day," and "Private Universe."
- Talk About the Weather: In "Private Universe," Neil says there's no time or place to.
- Not to mention the sheer number of their songs about the weather.
- Take That: "Chocolate Cake" poked fun at consumerism and specifically mocked such celebrities Andrew Lloyd Webber, Andy Warhol, and Liberace.
- Title Track: "Together Alone."
- The song, "The Intriguer" was cut at the last minute.
- Also subverted by "Recurring Dream" which was not included on the Greatest Hits Album of the same name.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "I Walk Away."
- What Could Have Been: Bones Hillman was in the running for the roll of bassist.
- After Tim left, Neil considered inviting Johnny Marr to join as the fourth member. Marr later said that he would have joined if he was asked.
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Pineapple Head" was based on the fevered ramblings of Neil's son, Liam. The lyrics don't make much sense...
- Your Cheating Heart: A theme of several songs on Temple of Low Men. "Kill Eye" and "Into Temptation" are from the point of view of the cheater and "Better Be Home Soon" is from the point of view of the cheated.