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‘Homecoming’ by America is a mellow and emotional classic

Homecoming by America is a mellow and emotional classic
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Homecoming, released in 1972 as the band America’s second studio album, is the perfect celebration of love, nostalgia, and the uncertainties of life. With an airy and warm acoustic sound, this album draws the listener back to their fondest memories. 

Ventura Highway

Being the first, and arguably the most successful track on the album, “Ventura Highway” demonstrates the warm and mellow tone that the rest of the album has. The song opens with a catchy and memorable guitar lick played by band members Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek. The song is Dewey Bunnell’s tribute to Ventura, California, and the memories he had formed there as a kid. The lyrics, “Ventura Highway, in the sunshine. Where the days are longer, the nights are stronger than moonshine” portray Ventura as a magical ideal location. 

Certain lyrics on the track have been criticized to be “nonsensical”, like the lyrics, “alligator lizards in the air.” Lyrics like these provide childlike wonder and whimsy that early memories possess. 

To Each His Own

“To Each His Own” is more emotional, with slow piano and light, melancholy vocals. Gerry Beckley wrote this song about the heartache of moving on. With the lyrics, “Familiar faces that I’ve seen, turnin’ red and turnin’ green. They just got caught with writing on their sleeve, I guess I’ll leave,” nostalgia and the pain of leaving are the main themes of this song. 

Don’t Cross the River

“Don’t Cross the River” is a faster, more upbeat track. It tells the story of a young girl who feels like she’s stuck in one place: “She feels like leavin’ and she don’t know why. Without no bridges she’s trapped, so I sigh.” The vocalist offers the young girl advice, as he told her, “Don’t cross the river if you can’t swim the tide,” and he offers her a chance at freedom. This song relates to young people who feel limited and clueless about their path in life.

Moon Song

“Moon Song” is about the simple joys of summer. 

“Amidst the dancing paradise, a case of beer, a smile, a motorcycle child. I feel the glow surround me.” 

The instrumentals are soft and relaxing. 

Only In Your Heart

This song is similar to “Don’t Cross the River” as the singer offers more advice. 

“Carry all of the weight you can, find another man, and lead him directly there to the source. You’ve got to chart his course.” 

Till the Sun Comes Up Again

Like others in the album, the vocalist recollects the past: “Singin’ it over again, I can’t recall just how it used to be. Voices across the sea.” The vocalist is uncertain, as he asks, “Will she come to me, to keep me company?” He then sings, “won’t know till the sun comes up again,” as if he was trying to comfort himself by accepting that it was out of his hands. 

Cornwall Blank

Despite having been “on top of the world,” and well-experienced, the singer still feels lost, and he pleads for someone to “give [him] the word” or lead him around. He sings, “sometimes the free thoughts clash, sometimes I see through the grass,” and he asks for someone to come free him from his own mind. The singer feels as if he has no direction in life. 

Head and Heart

This track is a passionate love song, as the lyrics say, “There’s just no way to say how much I love you, you never make me cry, and that’s just fine.” He asks his other half, “Love me with your head and heart, love me like a child.” He finds security with his partner.

California Revisited

This track acts as the band’s love song to California. The lyrics portray the state in a dreamy, idealized way. The line, “There’s dancin’ in the streets in California” is repeated throughout the song.

Saturn Nights

“Saturn Nights” is another slow and moody song, with heavenly backing vocals. In this song, the band talks about a girl in a fantastical way.

“Filled the room with flowers from Norway. Sensed her majesty in the air. Made a sign ‘bove your doorway, to show I care.”

Touching on the topics of life, love, and simple pleasures, Homecoming is a comforting and emotional listen. With moodier songs like “Till The Sun Comes Up Again,” and “To Each His Own,” to more upbeat songs like “Only In Your Heart” or “Don’t Cross the River,” this album plays with every emotion.

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    Timothy CMay 17, 2024 at 12:49 pm

    Great album! I love America and this doesn’t surprise me that someone else loves this classic soft rock band too!