In my personal opinion, one of the best feelings is where music comes around at the perfect time to fit into whatever you might be experiencing in your life (the next best feeling is when Taco Bell announces nacho fries are back). A handful of artists stick out in my mind but A Day To Remember is probably the one that I think of first when considering this scenario. I’m typically the type of person who goes with the flow and can easily adjust to any situation, but when I first heavily listened to Homesick, the bands third album, I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I was in my life and much I actually needed it. The first time I had heard the band was around 2010, when a friend of mine showed me “If It Means A Lot To You”, but it wasn’t until years later when I started my freshman year of college that this record made a lot more sense to me. I genuinely thought I was perfectly fine with moving away from home and starting over; which in retrospect, I was. But I listened to Homesick almost every day my first semester away at school and not because I felt homesick necessarily, but because this record felt like home. I found pieces of myself in those pop punk hooks and post hardcore moments, guitar riffs, melodies and lyrics. In any situation, whether you feel ready or not, it’s important to have some sense of familiarity (at least for me it is). This album gave me a sense of comfort that’s difficult to describe, and even hearing it back now it feels like a lifelong friend that’s never left my side. That may sound extremely corny to some, but not many albums have the ability to stick around like that in our lives.
Homesick is an album that encompasses so many feelings in a variety of ways and presents them to us in tunes that are crafted so carefully, that it’s impossible not to feel some sort of emotion while listening to it. And despite most of these songs coming off as a bit somber, I always found them to have very positive undertones. Our opening track, “The Downfall Of Us All”, details the bands own pressures when it comes to putting out music that they hope people will enjoy, but I think this can simply be interpreted as following your own direction to the average listener. Songs like “NJ Legion Iced Tea” and “My Life For Hire” make me feel optimistic about making decisions as a young adult and they remind me that I control what direction I want to go in. The title track, “Homesick”, goes both ways, recognizing struggles that you may face but also realizing that you’ll be okay in the end. And then we have something like “Have Faith In Me”, which is truly the centerpiece of this record. Accompanied by a short and bright guitar riff, this song is a fan favorite specifically because of it’s lyrical content, which something we all need to hear every once in a while. When I say this album is comforting, this is exactly what I mean. Songs like this make you feel less alone in times where it feels like you have nowhere to turn and no one to talk to.
Besides just the general content of the project, the production could not have been handled any better. Being produced by New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert, the album is incredible in the way that the songs fit together without sounding repetitive and the combination of tempos, vocals and instrumental never once feels disjointed. On tracks like “Mr. Highway’s Thinking About The End” and “Welcome To The Family”, the unclean verses lead perfectly into the melodic choruses without feeling disorienting. The combination of light backing guitars and heavier breakdowns is all in the right spots and the gang vocals are perfect sing along pieces that help the listener connect with them. All the songs not only flow seamlessly together but they’re also all so individually diverse without ever once feeling messy. Especially on a song like “If It Means A Lot To You” which is mainly built off acoustic guitars, still feels very natural when the entire band comes in at the end to finish it out. And although there aren’t many crazy guitar solos or any major standout musical moments, I really don’t think there needs to be. The production is even and balanced to really let the melodies and lyrics shine through, which are undoubtedly the most significant parts of this project.
One of the best things about this album is that it has aged so gracefully throughput all of these years and I don’t foresee it ever losing its luster. Homesick is a collection of feelings many of us are afraid to express and is delivered in a way many of us aren’t able to do so. I mean, who’s able to just scream their frustrations at the top of their lungs? Not me, I’d wake up my roommates. And even though it’s arguable that it’s not very diverse in instrumental and overall sound, it still has the ability to be of interest to a large group of listeners, with is balance of pop punk melodies, post hardcore breakdowns, and mixture of clean and unclean vocals. There’s something on here for everybody and the best part is, the listener gets to choose what they want to take away from it. Homesick fit perfectly in the music scene of 2009 and not only continues to be relevant to this day, but it also continues to be an inspiration for many which is the best thing music can do for us.
More like this: