I’ve recently been thinking about the concept of “home” as it pertains to music. While all of us have different experiences regarding what home might specifically mean to us, there is a universal quality we can all relate to about what home is supposed to feel like. I like examining these broadly relatable concepts in music because you can find references across genres and appreciate the ways songs connect to each other, even when their styles are vastly different. Kind of like humans, right? Here are a few songs about home that I enjoy.
Home on the Range – (orig. by Dr. Brewster M. Higley)
This 1873 ballad is the official state song of Kansas and has been arranged and recorded many times by country western and folk singers like Roy Rogers, Willie Nelson and John Denver. The chorus conveys the perfect ideal of home as the comforting place it should be. (Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day). My favorite part about songs like this is exploring how certain lyrics change over time in true folk tradition. Growing up, I used to love how the lyrics to songs I read in hymnals at church were completely different than the lyrics my grandparents would sing to the same tunes. Below is a Roy Rogers version I like:
Home – (Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros)
This indie folk/pop tune is simple and sweet, but I love the idea that home is represented by a person rather than a place. Often we equate the idea of home to the idea of togetherness, where the security we feel by being with our partner, friends or family members is “home” enough for us. Instead of posting the official music video, here’s the version that went viral of local father/daughter duo Jorge & Alexa Nevarez a few years back. Jorge has since posted another version with his other daughter Eliana. It’s cool to see how this family demonstrates the theme of this song by performing it together with such love for each other.
Once in a Lifetime (written by David Byrne, Brian Eno, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth, performed by Talking Heads)
While many songs reference the ideal of home as a place of safety, others explore the reality of what home can turn into. In some cases, home can represent a rut in human routine, or even a prison-like environment one can become shackled to. I think we’ve all at one point or another asked ourselves “How did I get here?” which is why this song hits “home” for so many of us.
Our House (written by Graham Nash, performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
What’s not to love about a love song written for Joni Mitchell? Everything about the song is easy going and appreciative of the moment, like a deep, relaxing musical sigh.
What are some of your favorite songs about home?