I just thought I'd see if there is anyone out there that likes the Dixie Chicks version (original?) over the Crowded House one.
I heard the DC one first and have yet to make my mind up which one I like better. I may have to wait for the official studio version.
Original Post
Both are haunting and wonderful. With songwriting that good, even Rage Against the Machine would sound great covering it. The meaning of the song hits close to home for me, so I really love both the DC and CH versions I have heard. Makes the hair on my arms stand up...
I don't think we can really make a comparison until we've heard CH's studio version. That said, I like the Dixie Chicks' version, but I prefer the way the live CH versions I've heard (original webcast, Coachella webcast) build from a quiet, simple opening to the band at full roar.
Yep - I'm waiting for the studio release, but I really do like the DC version a lot.

I saw them on a 'storytellers' show recently, and while they talked about other writers of their songs, when they talked about Silent House, they didn't even mention Neil. Just talked about the subject matter, and if I didn't know better I'd have thought they had written it by themselves!


Dave in Atlanta
"...they didn't even mention Neil. Just talked about the subject matter, and if I didn't know better I'd have thought they had written it by themselves!"

That was surprisingly ungracious of them. It's not like dropping his name is a liability.
Well, I for one do not like the DC version. The intro to the first chorus is drawn out an extra couple of bars too long and some of the changes in words to the CH version make me cringe... I do like it better than most DC songs though Razzer

"all the flickering lights"
So far I think the webcast version is my favourite version I've heard... but I'm in the minority in that the song general isn't doing that much for me. I get bored with it quite quickly.

I hadn't heard the Dixie Chicks version though, but a search came up with a stream of the full song.
oh boy, I have to say I'm torn on this one. I don't really know anything about DC or any of their music but I took a moment to listen to the link Alx left (thanks!) and there are parts of the DC version I actually like. I'm generally not a country music fan but the lead singer here has an amazing voice and parts of the harmonies are good too. Fancying myself as an ok singer, I find the DC version easier to sing along to Razzer However I prefer the mood and feel of the CH version and the way in which it builds to its crescendo.

slightly OT but does anyone know how much of a collaboration this was? Which parts did Neil write and which parts DC? Did one do music and the other do lyrics? I'm just curious. I'm surprised DC wouldn't acknowledge a collaboration, that's a bit rude.
"slightly OT but does anyone know how much of a collaboration this was? Which parts did Neil write and which parts DC? Did one do music and the other do lyrics? I'm just curious. I'm surprised DC wouldn't acknowledge a collaboration, that's a bit rude"

I am wondering that too, what bit was or wasn't Neil's. As for which version, I have heard 3 versions, the DC's. CH's and a Neil solo version at Stowe school, there is also a clip of this on You Tube somewhere, but frankly, that beats botht he other versions, Neil's voice on this solo version is haunting and takes the entire song to a new level. For my money, this is how the song should have sounded and I for one am disapointed that the CH version is not like it, but more towards the DC version...

It would have been interesting to know how Neil intended it to sound on the "solo" cd...
quote:
Originally posted by Battylad...:
I have heard 3 versions, the DC's. CH's and a Neil solo version at Stowe school, there is also a clip of this on You Tube somewhere, but frankly, that beats botht he other versions, Neil's voice on this solo version is haunting and takes the entire song to a new level. For my money, this is how the song should have sounded and I for one am disapointed that the CH version is not like it, but more towards the DC version...

It would have been interesting to know how Neil intended it to sound on the "solo" cd...



I've heard that version too Battylad, and I really liked it. That was my first introduction to Silent House. I found it very haunting and IMO Elly May did a great job with backing vocals.

In fact all we've heard so far are live versions so maybe the album version will be a little different to what we've heard so far.
quote:
Originally posted by liz:

slightly OT but does anyone know how much of a collaboration this was? Which parts did Neil write and which parts DC? Did one do music and the other do lyrics?


Without knowing the truth, my guess is that Neil wrote the chorus at least. To me it is a Neil chorus not a Dixie's one. Hard to explain but the chorus has a great turn of phrase that Neil is more than capable of turning out.

Because the song is about one of the girl's father (or grandfather?) I would assume they wrote the verse.

All assumption of course but would be keen to know the exact breakdown myself.
quote:
Originally posted by Stuart McPhee:
quote:
Originally posted by liz:

slightly OT but does anyone know how much of a collaboration this was? Which parts did Neil write and which parts DC? Did one do music and the other do lyrics?


Without knowing the truth, my guess is that Neil wrote the chorus at least. To me it is a Neil chorus not a Dixie's one. Hard to explain but the chorus has a great turn of phrase that Neil is more than capable of turning out.

Because the song is about one of the girl's father (or grandfather?) I would assume they wrote the verse.

All assumption of course but would be keen to know the exact breakdown myself.


hey thanks Stuart, I'd made some intelligent guesses about the subject matter but didn't realise it was *that* personal. Makes it even more haunting.
As someone who has the album (and who knows several other Dixie Chicks songs), I would find it hard to believe Neil didn't cowrite the lyrics to Silent House. I feel the song is lyrically set apart from other songs on the album. Better actually Wink
Howdy all -

Just listened again to the DC version on my way to work, and yep, I still love it. It helps probably that I'm a fan of theirs, but I truly enjoy listening to it. Can't wait for the studio CH version, as I've enjoyed the various CH/solo versions I've heard as well, and I think it's intersting that I like both. That's not always the case with situations like this.

As far as the story behind the lyrics, it's apparently about Natalie's (I think) grandmother having alzheimers. That may be why they didn't mention Neil, as it's very personal to her. There's probably a thread about this from last summer somewhere in the forum.

Still, I would've liked some reference!

Dave in Atlanta
I'd forgotten about the Stowe version, which is stripped down and really lovely. The best thing about it is Elly-May's harmony. The harmony sits pretty awkwardly in a male range, even a high male range, and Mark's haromonies in the webcast are the worst thing about that version (sorry, Mark!). They did better at Coachella. But Neil's voice blends so wonderfully with a female voice of a certain type--see Turn and Run, or What I Get Paid For--and the Stowe version of Silent House is another example. I actually wonder if the Neil solo album version of Silent House was going to have a female harmony, and if that's been reworked now that TOE is a Crowded House album.
I really like the DC version. Hard to compare the two yet as I haven't heard CH's studio version. I did notice a couple of chord differences in the bit before the chorus, in the CH version there's an augmented chord that isn't in the DC version.

quote:
Is she trying to sing in that DC version!


That seems unnecessarily harsh. Fair enough if it's not your cup of tea (I don't mind them but I'm not a fan) but she hits the notes and is in tune, there's nothing wrong with her voice technically.
When I learned that Neil had co-written a song on the Dixie Chix record, I bought the album. And the moment I heard the chorus, I instantly thought: That's a Neil Finn chorus, a Neil Finn chord progression. The Chix version is fine, but like a lot of that album, it's a bit over-produced for my taste. The CH version from the webcast sounded like it would be at home on a Neil Young album. My favorite, though, is the Stowe school version. Beautiful vocal, lovely playing, and the female harmony is just great. I'm sorry that there (probably) won't be a female voice on the studio version.
When I heard the Dixie Chicks do it, I could hear in my head how Crowded House would play it, the chord progressions sounded so CH - and suprisingly, the arrangement that CH did sounds exactly like the one in my head did!

So I prefer the CH arrangement.
quote:
Beautiful vocal, lovely playing, and the female harmony is just great. I'm sorry that there (probably) won't be a female voice on the studio version.


I guess it's possible that Beth Rowley (or Sharon Finn, or someone we don't know about) might have done the harmony part on the album version...John Walsh mentioned that Beth did some work on "Transit Lounge," so maybe while she was in the studio she contributed to some other songs too.

So far I totally prefer the Crowded House version. The picked guitar during the intro and verses is gorgeous, some of my favorite Neil playing ever. I'm confident their version will be much more nuanced and crafted than the Rick Rubin-ized Dixie Chicks version.
quote:
Originally posted by Camus:
I really like the DC version. Hard to compare the two yet as I haven't heard CH's studio version. I did notice a couple of chord differences in the bit before the chorus, in the CH version there's an augmented chord that isn't in the DC version.

quote:
Is she trying to sing in that DC version!


That seems unnecessarily harsh. Fair enough if it's not your cup of tea (I don't mind them but I'm not a fan) but she hits the notes and is in tune, there's nothing wrong with her voice technically.


It wasn't meant to be harsh!

Didn't say it wasn't my cup of tea...I don't mind them either.

I just couldn't hear her voice properly because on the version I had, the music volume seemed to be too loud, and it drowned out the vocals Frowner

Has anyone got a link so I can try and listen to it properly?

Tia
I like the DC version well enough -- I particularly like their harmonies -- but it just seems overproduced and unsubtle to me. I prefer the way the CH version builds (although for my money the Coachella version builds up to being too yell-y). Also, Neil's voice has a sort of lived-in warmth that adds a lot of nuance and emotion. The Chicks just lack that.

The Stowe version is my favorite. So wistful and lovely.
the dixie chicks version is nice , the stowe one is also good ,but the best version i have heard is the crowdies webcast - and for me mark does agreat job.thats what the band is all about for me - the combination of these guys voices and instruments.i like to hear them do as much of the singing and instrumentation as possible,otherwise the essence of the band gets diluted.
They were playing the DC version in Sanity today, and well for me IMHO there's nothing there (in the vocals)sorry.

BTW I told them I will be expecting to hear The Crowdies version when TOE come out, one of the assistants just looked at me like 'huh' before the girly behind her piped up and said "Oh yes, I will be giving the whole album a spin in store" Big Grin
Think its one of those songs whereby every version is incredibly different so comparison is kind of hard, as the Dixie Chicks is a sing-along and the Neil/CH versions are more atmospheric and dramatic if you ask me, and the crescendo is just amazing. I actually quite like the Dixie Chicks version, although that’s probably because it was the only version of it around for so long, so it feels very familiar.

But personally, for me, that song will always be about Neil solo with Elly-May backing vocals. It is interesting to speculate what it would have been like as a Neil solo song. From memory when Neil sang it (with Elly-May) in Bath in October (so I guess in solo/CH overlap) it was like the Stowe version but rougher and I feel a bit edgier somehow, but can’t quite put my finger on it, and my memory is not exactly reliable. I don’t think Mark does a bad job with the backing vocals, but I do prefer Elly-May’s - can’t wait for the CH studio version, though, may well change my mind.
I agree with the Neil-y chorus speculation too.
I've only heard "Silent House" twice, first from the CH webcast and secondly the Chicks' album version.

Truthfully, I just don't care for the song no matter who is doing it. I'd read so much hype about how touching the song is, and while Alzheimer's disease is something that has a lot of emotional weight to it, the song doesn't move me.
quote:
Originally posted by aikakone:
I've only heard "Silent House" twice, first from the CH webcast and secondly the Chicks' album version.

Truthfully, I just don't care for the song no matter who is doing it. I'd read so much hype about how touching the song is, and while Alzheimer's disease is something that has a lot of emotional weight to it, the song doesn't move me.


I thought it was just me!! I find it doesn't do much for me either. You know I do like it, but it's just not grabbing me the way it seems to be with most people here - I feel like I'm missing out! Wink

I like the idea of the image of a silent house when someone has gone, but it doesn't really move me...

But, I do prefer the Crowded House webcast version to the others I've heard... Smiler
Does anyone know if the Dixie Chicks released Silent House as a single? I don't follow the country music charts.

I would love to see it as a CH single, but maybe it would look like a cover version if it was only recently released by Dixie Chicks.
I clearly prefer the CH version, not because of any pseudo-allegiance to Neil, but beacuse the TOE version was well-produced, and performed. It does convey a beautifully haunted atmosphere.
I personally think it's the highlight of the album by a fairly distant margin. It's what "Spirit of the Stairs" could have been...
The Crowded House version, for me, has many better qualities. And I agree, the voice of Neil Finn makes the song. That live version is so fantastic....I have played it to many a family member. The Dixie chicks sound way too country for my liking....tailored to sell to the people of Nashville.
To me this is truly an amazing CH song. While it's partially written by the DC, I will always wonder exactly which parts were written by Neil but it seems that will remain a frustrating mystery.

This song is my definite favourite of the new ones I've heard so far. While I guess on one level I'm slightly intrigued to hear the DC version, I think that if I did hear it, it would somehow tarnish the song itself. As a result, I've chosen to remain blissfully unaware of the original version. Happy listening to those of you brave enough to compare the two! Smiler
Haven't heard the ToE version yet, so only got the webcast and Stowe School versions to compare with the DCs, but much prefer Neil/CH versions - much more affecting and builds slowly to a great finish. Only the chorus stands out in the DC's version and the atmosphere that Neil achieves in the rest of the song is lost under the banjos and country production. Agree with other posters that you can tell the chorus is Neil's - it soars and tugs at the heart strings like only his music can.

Can't wait to hear the album version.
I just got through listening to the studio version of Crowded House's SILENT HOUSE. I'm a huge Dixie Chicks fan, but I think I actually like the new Crowded House one better. Of course, I may be partial because I fell in love with Neil's version solo at Largo in LA on Dec. 6, 2006 and then when I saw Crowded House at the Glass House in Pomona on April 27, 2007, I was BLOWN AWAY by the live version of silent house. Musically it was so tight. It was maybe the best moment of the concert. The lyrics really hit me that night too. Can't wait to hear it again at the Troubadour next week!
Just heard the Dixie Chicks version. I think it's fantastic, as is Crowded Houses' version. Apart from minor change in the lyrics, both are as good as each other. It's a brilliant song no matter who sings it and I've quite a bit of time for Dixie Chicks anyway!

CH's version is perhaps more haunting but the DC version has a groove that propels the song along quite nicely. Either/or, "Silent House" is a highlight on either album - or any album that it would grace
As far as vocals go, this would come down to who you're more the fan of, I think. I like the Dixie Chicks and heard this song before Neil's version and I thought it was a great song. In the Dixie Chicks musical style that's put them at the top of country music in the US, it's one of their best, IMO.
But as a Neil Finn fan, I prefer his version because I'm more a fan of his music and his style of singing and peforming a song.
I always thought this was a Neil penned CH song Red Face

And I also thought that CH didn't do covers...

*pout*

*stamps foot*

me not like! disappointed, Very Disappointed Frowner

CH's version is way better! Will have to pretend that I didn't hear this version...
quote:
Originally posted by Piglet:
I always thought this was a Neil penned CH song

Well, it's a Neil co-penned CH song. Close enough.

quote:
And I also thought that CH didn't do covers...

Since when? "She's Not There," "Throw Your Arms Around Me," "Rocky Raccoon," "Pale Blue Eyes," not to mention "I Walk Away" and all the other Enz songs they did live.
Hey I know this a forum dedicated to fans of all things Finn but to just dismiss Dixie Chicks' version without hearing it is ridiculous.

I hope it has nothing to do with the fact that Dixie Chicks are associated with country music. What a crazy prejudice - especially when contemporary country is giving us some of the best singers in the music world. In some cases it is getting hard to tell what is the difference between modern country and rock.

So before dismissing the DC version, may I suggest you hear it - otherwise your opinion counts for none. Big Grin
I just stumbled upon this thread, but if what the last post says is true, I would suggest that people hear the other version with an open mind before deciding what they think. Smiler

I actually prefer the DC version by a lot. I like the harmonies, the texture, production, and the mood more than the CH version. The instrumentation of the "country" version match what's going on in the song, in my opinion.
I'm so happy to see this topic posted!

I have to say, it was very odd to have (randomly)purchased both albums on the same day, listen to them both over and over again, and have that song in my head for days without knowing why!

I like both versions, personally. Razzer

Smiler
I want to like the Dixie Chicks (especially for taking on W), but I just can't get used to the voices on their version and the high country violin. Yet I still like it because it's such a powerful song.

Hands down I like all of the versions I've heard CH sing better.

But long live the Dixie Chicks for taking on the politics of country music in the USA.
I'd have to say that the DC version is better and it's not all that close. to me, the CH version of SH is the biggest disappointment on the record. Not that I don't like it, it's just that it could have been a great CH track.

It's a great song. I'm not a DC fan, but I thought their version was pretty strong. the best part of the DC version, though, was that I could *hear* CH doing it. Then I saw CH do it live and they played the hell out of it - I thought it was the best of the batch of the TOE tracks. I was thinking it could have been a great single. But when I first heard the CH version, it left me cold. Neils vocal just strikes me as all but lifeless. The distorted guitar effect doesn't add much to an arrangement that I find droning rather than dynamic.

At any rate, it's still a great song and I look forward to procuring a great live version sometime...
I think I like the DC version better, but I've liked the CH live versions I've heard more than the CH studio recording. On ToE, I do really like the guitar sound in the chorus, that disonant buzz that puts an edge in there. It's a nice contrast.

Dave in Atlanta
I think the CH version has more depth, sounds more fascinating. The arrangement is better, but above all Neils voice catches me! The DC version sounds flatter in my opinion, but has also my approval. I like most of their music that I've heard, and I admire their courage.
Oooops, I had posted my opinion about this topic yesterday in another thread and I duplicated this topic without knowing that there had been a very long discussion about this long time ago... sorry, new girl in town!... hehehe, thanks Tiawamutu to help me to find this topic.

Now, my opinion: I think DC version is ok but I prefer CH version. Neil's voice is amazing, sweet and the sound of the music is so emotional... great song. You can definely appreciate it better in live. I've seen the live versions in youtube and it grows more in you because you can feel the nostalgia that Neil gives in the music and the singing.
Confused But I still don't know why the Dixie Chicks don't mention Neil when they introduce the song in their live presentations... not polite at all.
For me, the song rises to a new dimension live.

It starts off slowly, begins to build gradually, hits a very powerful peak
(particularly spearheaded by Matt's drumming), then seemingly suddenly returns to the level it took on near the beginning of the song.

Performed live, it's my favorite of the songs from the new album.
Here's a big heads up for anyone who wants to learn to play this song on acoustic guitar. This YouTube video is a tutorial on the song, and the guy has an amazing voice. I was blown away!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CUaCamfRZ4

I prefer the way CH rocked this song in concert, both in Milwaukee and Minnesota, to either the TOE version or the DC. But in any case, it's a great song!
quote:
Originally posted by lavar78:
I like the Dixie Chicks' version, but I feel Crowded House's is vastly superior. It is much more dynamic, building as it goes along.


I couldn't agree more, you put it well :-) Its hauntingly beautiful. There's so much meaning in Neil's voice
Ok, I work for Alzheimer's Australia and I'm an educator....I write a few courses and deliver courses to health care professionals and also family carers. I first heard this song not long after my Mother passed away and the tears came a plenty, even though she didn't have Alzheimer's. I ran a course today for the first time that we've written, the audience were the other educators who will be teaching the course. I mentioned that there was a beautiful song about Alzheimer's disease and my colleagues wanted to hear it, so I pulled out the trusty MP3 player, hooked up the speakers and played it. The room was silent and everyone commented on the lyrics and how meaningful they are. It is a beautiful song and it says so much that families and people with Dementia are unable to express.
quote:
Originally posted by Bluesoul:
Confused But I still don't know why the Dixie Chicks don't mention Neil when they introduce the song in their live presentations... not polite at all.


Very true, Bluesoul. When I have heard The Crowdies perform Silent House Neil has included "this is a song I co-wrote with The Dixie Chicks" in his introduction.
Great to see him giving the girls some recognition, be nice if they could return the favour
quote:
Originally posted by Finngirl:
quote:
Originally posted by Bluesoul:
Confused But I still don't know why the Dixie Chicks don't mention Neil when they introduce the song in their live presentations... not polite at all.


Very true, Bluesoul. When I have heard The Crowdies perform Silent House Neil has included "this is a song I co-wrote with The Dixie Chicks" in his introduction.
Great to see him giving the girls some recognition, be nice if they could return the favour


I could be wrong about this (and I guess I'll find out when I get the FLAC) but I don't think he mentioned the Chicks when they did the song in Nashville, which was odd considering where he was. If anyone can correct me, please feel free to.

I always found it strange that when I saw Richard Thompson do Persuasion, he called it "my song" and when Tim did it less than a year later, he didn't mention Thompson at all either. He might have also called it my song, although I don't specifically remember that phrase as I did with Thompson.

BTW, mark me down as someone who generally likes the Dixie Chicks' version better, although I prefer the sort of swampy opening of CH's version.
I just watched the Dixie Chicks documentary this past weekend and at one point you got a look into their songwriting process for the last album. I was half hoping to see Neil, since they did show the chicks recording a part of Silent House. No such luck!

I am curious how the collaboration all came about.
quote:
I always found it strange that when I saw Richard Thompson do Persuasion, he called it "my song" and when Tim did it less than a year later, he didn't mention Thompson at all either.

I think originally it was an instrumental by Richard Thompson that Tim added words to and Neil wrote the bridge (I think).
Neil didn't mention the Dixie Chicks when they sang Silent House at the Corner Hotel fan club show. And I would hazard a guess that no one has been to every Dixie Chicks concert so we can't really say whether they've ever mentioned it or not.
I don't see the need for it to go on forever. Maybe mentioning it a couple of times when the song is new and then you're done, really.

I revisited TOE and Intriguer last night....been awhile since I listened to them.  The song that stood out the most that I really liked (and loved cranking due to the great electric guitar and deep bass) was Silent House.  It really hit me how much I liked this song.  Seems to stand out due to the rawness of it.  Wish Neil would do more raw, "tangent on the electric" type of stuff.  

I seem to recall Neil being a little - what's the word - grumpy about this song - not sure the song writing process was how he'd imagined it would go - am sure there is an interview around it somewhere - anyway, this was the first time I heard this song and it blew me away - it remains my personal fav version.... you can see my head in there and my phone trying to record it !

It was also a really cold day and a traumatic trip due to the weather (venue in middle of nowhere and icy / snow filled roads) - Neil was a little jet lagged and it was very shortly after they had chosen Matt S for the new drummer of CH. Neil was open to talking about it all, but he wouldn't reveal the name on the night!

Turned out to be a superb little gig  - great memories!

https://youtu.be/bxjNN3xojeU

 

 

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