The Silence in Black and White

The Silence in Black and White is the debut studio album by the American rock band Hawthorne Heights, and their first release after changing their name from A Day in the Life.

The Silence in Black and White
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 1, 2004
Studio
Genre
Length42:57
LabelVictory
Hawthorne Heights chronology
Nine Reasons to Say Goodbye
(2001)
The Silence in Black and White
(2004)
If Only You Were Lonely
(2006)
Singles from The Silence in Black and White
  1. "Ohio Is for Lovers"
    Released: June 14, 2005
  2. "Niki FM"
    Released: September 27, 2005

Background and recording edit

Writing for the album commenced shortly after the band changed their name from A Day In the Life to Hawthorne Heights. The band had sent around 35 separate press kits to several potential record labels, receiving interest from a few of them, including Victory Records.[1] Victory had sent the band two generic response letters a month apart; drummer Eron Bucciarelli subsequently emailed the label and told them what the band had been doing since the letters' arrival.[2] Founder Tony Brummel contacted them the following day, asking when he could see them in person.[3] Six days after this, they played a showcase for the label, who gave them an offer shortly afterwards.[4] A month after this, all of the members quit their day jobs to focus on the band full-time. They recorded their debut album at Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin and at Big Gold Studios in Chicago, Illinois. The sessions were done over 15-hour days across a five-week period. The recordings were mixed at Gravity Studios before the album was mastered by Dominick Maita at Airshow Mastering with Pro Tools engineer Dan Duszynski.[5]

Composition and lyrics edit

Musically, the sound of The Silence in Black and White has been described as emo[6] and emo pop[7] drawing comparison to the work of labelmates Silverstein.[8] Woodruff said the name of "Life on Standby" referred to being in a touring band, having to "put your entire life on standby to try your hardest". He added that it acted as a valuable introduction to the band as a whole as it has "parts that are both dark and light". Woodruff wrote "Dissolve and Decay" for a friend of his that was having relationship issues, specifically being unfaithful to another friend of his. "Niki FM" was written after Woodruff read various album reviews in preparation for the response to the band's album. He noticed a theme where "every band I liked was getting torn apart" critically. It included a reference to Say Anything... (1989), which was Woodruff's all-time favorite film. "The Transition" was the first song they wrote after changing their name; the title alludes to this change. Part of its lyrics were influenced by Woodruff's girlfriend who had been studying in Europe for three months. The lyrics to "Blue Burns Orange" were re-written in the studio; Woodruff remarked that during the making of the album, none of the band members were sleeping or eating properly "so my dreams were really crazy. I just remember dreaming in black and white a bunch and really noticing it".[5]

"Silver Bullet" is titled after the 1986 movie of the same name, which was Woodruff's favorite horror film. He had written the lyrics while doing two jobs and attending college concurrently, and "felt like [the band] was going nowhere but a lot of things convinced me to stay with it".[5] The Boston Phoenix writer Mikael Wood thought the song was akin to hair metal with its "dueling guitar mini-solos, nonsense about getting shot through the heart, and plenty of cowbell".[9] Discussing "Screenwriting an Apology", Woodruff explained that movies can sometimes convey messages better than words. Some of its lyrics deal with Woodruff being irrational, while others are about his girlfriend being irrational. "Ohio Is for Lovers" talks about the band members' girlfriends, all of which lived in Ohio, who Woodruff wanted to pay homage to. "Wake Up Call" talks about Woodruff being insecure as a musician, knowing that his lyricism was going to be scrutinized. Discussing "Sandpaper and Silk", Woodruff said a person once "described our music as a great blend of sandpaper and silk. I thought that was kind of neat". It dealt with the music scene in Dayton, Ohio, and people that started hating the band as soon as they signed to Victory Records. "Speeding Up the Octaves" is about an on-and-off friendship that Woodruff had where his friend would become addicted to a substance, get clean and be addicted again.[5]

Release edit

In May and June 2004, the band went on tour with Alexisonfire, Silverstein, and Emery.[10] It was released on June 8, 2004 through Victory Records. The album was the label's highest selling debut at the time of its release.[11] Two music videos were produced, one for "Ohio is For Lovers" in 2004, and one for "Niki FM" in 2005. They went on an East Coast US tour with Bayside, Burning Bright and the Break in September 2004.[12] In November and December 2004, the band supported A Static Lullaby on their headlining US tour.[13]

Hawthorne Heights embarked on their first headlining US tour in January 2005 with Number One Fan and labelmates Spitalfield and the Black Maria.[14] In February and March 2005, the group supported Sugarcult on the US Take Action Tour.[15] In May 2005, they shot a music video for "Niki FM" with director Major Lightner. A two-disc CD and DVD special edition was released on June 14, 2005, containing demo and acoustic versions of the tracks, live performances, and a documentary with footage of the band.[16] "Niki FM" was released to radio on September 27, 2005.[17]

Reception and legacy edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [7]
The Boston Phoenix     [9]
Punknews.org     [8]

The Silence in Black and White received negative reviews from critics, several who thought the band's sound was formulaic. Wood thought that "even if Silence offers fewer surprises than an entire season of Joey, Hawthorne Heights use their well-worn tools to build the occasional hard-hitting rock machine".[9] Rob O'Connor of Yahoo! Music wrote that the band were not "afraid of adding a little riffage to their attack arsenal", going on to praise Calvert and Ridenour's roles in the band.[18] AllMusic reviewer Stewart Mason wrote that the closest the band come to "originality is that they rip off bands in two different genres, trying to blend the pop-emo of Thursday, Jimmy Eat World, [...] with the glossy, commercial pop of bands like Good Charlotte". He add that Hawthorne Heights offered "absolutely nothing new" that those acts did not already do, but "what they do, they do pretty well. Most of the songs have reasonably catchy choruses, there are no particularly egregious mistakes or failed experiments".[7] Punknews.org staff member Brian Shultz wrote that the band "suffers in how much they water down the tempo", and praying that they "do SOMETHING to differentiate themselves" from their peers as they provide "nothing new musically or otherwise".[8]

The album peaked at No. 56 on the Billboard top 200 chart, No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart, and No. 4 on the top independent album chart.[19] The album has been certified gold status by the Recording Industry Association of America. Before the release of their second album If Only You Were Lonely in February 2006, The Silence in Black and White had sold over 720,000 copies.[20]

The band released a special acoustic 10th Anniversary release of the album, with all tracks being redone acoustically. Journalists Leslie Simon and Trevor Kelley included the album in their list of the most essential emo releases in their book Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture (2007).[21] Alternative Press ranked "Ohio Is for Lovers" at number 88 on their list of the best 100 singles from the 2000s.[22]

Track listing edit

All tracks are written by Hawthorne Heights[7]

No.TitleLength
1."Life on Standby"4:11
2."Dissolve and Decay"3:44
3."Niki FM"4:00
4."The Transition"4:05
5."Blue Burns Orange"3:20
6."Silver Bullet"4:03
7."Screenwriting an Apology"3:43
8."Ohio Is for Lovers"4:05
9."Wake Up Call"4:02
10."Sandpaper and Silk"3:37
11."Speeding Up the Octaves"4:11
Total length:42:57

Personnel edit

Personnel per booklet.[5]

Charts edit

Certifications edit

Certifications for The Silence in Black and White
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[28] Gold 500,000^ / 722,000[20]

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References edit

Citations

  1. ^ Hawthorne Heights 2005, event occurs at 26:38–46
  2. ^ Hawthorne Heights 2005, event occurs at 26:47–27:08
  3. ^ Hawthorne Heights 2005, event occurs at 27:10–4
  4. ^ Hawthorne Heights 2005, event occurs at 27:14–7
  5. ^ a b c d e The Silence in Black and White (booklet). Hawthorne Heights. Victory Records. 2005. VR250.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  6. ^ "15 Essential Emo Albums That Taught Gen-Y How To Feel". Elite Daily. February 5, 2016. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c d Stewart Mason (June 1, 2004). "The Silence in Black and White - Hawthorne Heights | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 25, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c "Hawthorne Heights - The Silence in Black and White". Punknews.org. June 11, 2004. Archived from the original on March 23, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  9. ^ a b c Wood, Mikael (March 4–10, 2005). "Hawthorne Heights The Silence in Black and White". The Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on December 14, 2005. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  10. ^ Heisel, Scott (April 23, 2004). "Alexisonfire/Emery/Silverstein on tour". Punknews.org. Archived from the original on July 12, 2021. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  11. ^ "Hawthorne Heights Just For The F Of It | News @". Ultimate-guitar.com. March 14, 2006. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  12. ^ White, Adam (September 3, 2004). "The Break on the road". Punknews.org. Archived from the original on October 28, 2021. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  13. ^ Paul, Aubin (October 28, 2004). "A Static Lullaby headed out on tour". Punknews.org. Archived from the original on October 28, 2021. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  14. ^ Paul, Aubin (December 12, 2004). "Hawthorne Heights announces headlining tour, Elektra soundtrack". Punknews.org. Archived from the original on October 29, 2021. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  15. ^ White, Adam (January 29, 2005). "Take Action! Tour updates". Punknews.org. Archived from the original on October 30, 2021. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  16. ^ Paul, Aubin (May 29, 2005). "Hawthorne Heights shooting video, reissue planned". Punknews.org. Archived from the original on October 31, 2021. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  17. ^ "FMQB Airplay Archive: Modern Rock". Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, Incorporated. Archived from the original on April 24, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  18. ^ O'Connor, Rob (February 4, 2005). "The Silence In Black And White". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on April 27, 2005. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  19. ^ "The Silence in Black and White : Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  20. ^ a b "Hawthorne Heights post "Saying Sorry" music video". Alternative Press. January 13, 2006. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  21. ^ Simon; Kelley 2007, p. 174
  22. ^ Paul, Aubin (November 20, 2009). "At The Drive-In's 'One Armed Scissor' tops AP's 'Haircut 100' singles countdown". Punknews.org. Retrieved October 13, 2022.
  23. ^ "Hawthorne Heights Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  24. ^ "Hawthorne Heights Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  25. ^ "Hawthorne Heights Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  26. ^ "Hawthorne Heights Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  27. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2005". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  28. ^ "American album certifications – Hawthorne Heights – The Silence in Black and White". Recording Industry Association of America.

Sources

  • Hawthorne Heights (2005). The Silence in Black and White (DVD-V). Victory Records. VR250.
  • Simon, Leslie; Kelley, Trevor (2007). Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture. New York City: HarperEntertainment. ISBN 978-0-06-119539-6.