You can hardly turn on the radio these days without hearing Phillip Phillips crooning the ubiquitous hit “Home.” Now the song has even permeated the radio; without even knowing it I have started associating the song with the American Family Insurance commercials. Shame.
A year or two ago, I was quite taken by a song of the same title by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. I thought it had the feel of June and Johnny Cash. Then last week I was playing Song Pop and came across “Home” by Daughtry. This all started to make me wonder how many artists have sung about “home.” I sought to find out.
I decided to make a playlist on the topic. The criteria for my playlist was very simple: the song simply had to be entitled “Home”. Thing like “Home Again” and “Coming Home” were disqualified. I quickly compiled 30 songs (30!) that all had the simple title of “Home.” I was curious what the word meant to all these artists (no duplicate songs by different artists). I decided to make my project a bit of a competition. What fun to pit these unwitting songs against each other in a meaningless contest in my made-up categories!
After listening through a couple times, I realized that the simple word has many meanings depending on the artists. Here are the winners:
Best holiday song – Michael Bublé and Blake Shelton. Before Christmas, this song practically brought me to tears as the date got closer and closer to my older daughters coming home from college. You can practically imagine Michael and Blake mournfully staring out the train window, dreaming of being home for the holidays (as if they don’t actually take private planes).
Most miserable – Three Days Grace. Sometimes home is not a nice place. The lyrics and the music are equally angry in this song. Sample lyrics (imagine screaming): “This house is not a home, I think I’m better off alone.” To make things more tolerable when his significant other arrives at home, the singer gleefully boasts that he will (*gasp*) already be stoned. No need for that; I think he might be better off alone after all.
Saddest song – Foo Fighters. I promise you a sadder song you have never heard. I looked online to see what peoples’ interpretation of it was and several indicated that they actually used it at funerals. One woman said it reminded her of when her husband was in rehab, and all he wanted was to be home. Another said it reminded her of when her mother was in hospice care right before she died. Yes, it is that sad and that powerful. Listen at your own risk- it is beautiful and emotional.
Most religious – Phil Wickham. When Phil sings, “Father, I’m coming home; I cannot go on,” my first inclination was to help him call the suicide prevention hotline. However, I really think it’s about losing his way and then finding God’s light. It’s a pretty song.
Most abstract – Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx. If a song was a painting with blobs of color and random splatters, this would be it. I. Don’t. Get it. I also don’t get the album cover, and I don’t get the artist’s name: Jamie xx. Is ‘xx’ the last name? Is s/he giving us two kisses? The song is just as random, trust me.
Best can-do attitude – OK Sweetheart (there is also a She & Him version of this song). This artist is leaving her old life behind, and she is making a new life for herself. She will call it home! Even the album cover is optimistic- a little cottage with cute ceramics. Good luck to her!
Most comfortable – Jack Johnson. I had never heard this song before I started this project. I equate listening to any Jack Johnson song to wrapping myself up in a comfy blanket. In this song he uses his garden and his home’s upkeep as a metaphor for his family (I think- this is taxing my interpretive aptitude). It’s as sweet as you would expect from J.J. Very nice surprise.
Best love song – ZZ Ward. ZZ (is that a first name?) feels that home is where her lover is. There is a slight chance this song is about sex and I’m too obtuse to get it, so I prefer to think that it’s a sweet love song. (although she does have a “come hither” look to her and there is a parental advisory on the album cover. Hmm.)
Here is my complete playlist (artist names only as all the song titles are “Home”):
• Phillip Phillips
• Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
• Dierks Bentley
• Michael Bublé and Blake Shelton
• Three Days Grace
• Daughter, Igor Haefeli, Ian Grimble, Elena Tonra
• LCD Soundsystem
• ZZ Ward
• Gabrielle Aplin
• Delta Spirit
• Foo Fighters
• Breaking Benjamin
• Carly Rose Sonenclar
• The Falls
• Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx
• Paradise Fears
• Eli Young Band
• Phil Wickham
• Alexi Murdoch
• Zero 7
• Ok Sweetheart
• Tides of Man
• Jack Johnson
• Bone Thug-N-Harmony
Filed under: Playlists