Writer(s): Neil Finn, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison (see lyrics here)
Released: 6/29/2007 (album cut on Time on Earth)
First Charted: --
Peak: 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): --
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
“Silent House” was a joint writing effort between Neil Finn and the Dixie Chicks. Neither released it as a single, but both recorded versions. It was first featured on the latter’s 2006 album Taking the Long Way Home, which won the Grammy for Album of the Year. A year later, Finn recorded his version of the song with his band, Crowded House. It was featured on Time on Earth, the band’s first album in fourteen years.
Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks said the song is about her grandmother, who’d been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for a decade. The song reflects on “memories of her triggered by walking through the house.” SF She described it as “a sad song that tries to be sweet” BT and that it takes the perspective that “it’s okay to forget, I’ll try and carry on.” BT
The Dixie Chicks’ version “is quintessential country, complete with banjos a-plucking and fiddles a-whining.” GW It isn’t a fast song, but the drums do give it momentum. Vocally, Maines has a “strong, forthright” voice and “the melody is firmly in her wheelhouse.” GW
By contrast, on the Crowded House version, the drums are “barely there: less percussive, and more like thumps, like heartbeats.” GW Additionally, Finn’s “voice is softer, more vulnerable.” GW As such, the latter version ends up striking a more somber, reflective tone. The song takes on even more weight with the knowledge that Paul Hester, Finn’s bandmate in Crowded House and Split Enz, had committed suicide in 2005. While a different kind of loss, one can’t help but wonder if Finn thinks about Hester when he sings the song.
First posted 5/6/2020; last updated 7/12/2022.