Coming Home (New Found Glory album)

Coming Home
Studio album by New Found Glory
Released September 19, 2006
(see release history)
Recorded January—April 2006 at Groovemasters Studios,
Santa Monica, California
Genre Alternative rock
Length 48:11
Language English
Label Geffen
Producer Thom Panunzio, New Found Glory
New Found Glory chronology
Catalyst
(2004)
Coming Home
(2006)
Not Without a Fight
(2009)
Singles from Coming Home
  1. "It's Not Your Fault"
    Released: September 12, 2006

Coming Home is the fifth studio album by American rock band New Found Glory. It was produced by Thom Panunzio and released on September 19, 2006 through Geffen Records.[1] Written and demoed at the Morning View Mansion in Malibu during 2005, Coming Home is a concept album unified by a lyrical theme of being away from home and loved ones.[2] The album marks a departure from the band's earlier work, implementing piano, keyboard, and string instrumentation more comparable to classic rock than their usual pop punk sound.[3][4][5]

Coming Home was a critical success for the band, garnering praise from many music critics. The album was particularly noted for its matured style,[6][7][8] while the songs were considered the most "mellow" of the bands career.[9] Despite the release of only one single, "It's Not Your Fault", the album was still a relative commercial success, debuting at number eight on the Billboard Rock Albums chart and number nineteen on the Billboard 200.[10]

The Japanese edition, issued on September 13, 2006, features three bonus tracks. Another bonus track is exclusively available with a digital download of the album from the iTunes Store, while Best Buy customers received a voucher inside their CD cases for the download of a fifth bonus track called "Over Me". The album would prove to be the bands final on a major label, leaving Geffen Records the following year before signing with independent label's Bridge Nine Records and the long running Epitaph Records.

Contents

Background

Following the release and prolonged touring of fourth album Catalyst (2004), which included a supporting slot on Green Day's American Idiot Tour,[11][12] the band were left drained and sought an extended break. They were able to take two months off and regroup afterward, something they had not previously done during their career.[13] The quintet decided to take on a new approach for the writing process of Coming Home, rather than the usual "tour bus and dressing room jams", they moved into a house together in Malibu, California called the Morning View Mansion to write and demo new material.[14][15] Despite this, main composer and lead guitarist, Chad Gilbert took a book containing over 40 riff ideas that he had written during the previous tour into the mansion.[16] Drummer Cyrus Bolooki explained that, "The whole idea is that we can be sitting around, watching TV, and suddenly be like, 'Hey, I've got an idea. Let's do this'. We've always wanted to do something like this, but we were never sure just how to do it. I know all the guys are really excited to get into the house, hang out and make some music."[15] The band spent four months in Malibu with studio engineer and long term friend Paul Miner, from August 2005 through November, eventually leaving with 14 finished demos to present to their record label.[15][17]

Recording

The demos finalised in Malibu caught the attention of Thom Panunzio, who aside from his production work (Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Ozzy Osbourne), served as an executive for Geffen Records.[18] The band were flattered by Panunzio's interest, immediately agreeing to the collaboration.[18] The quintet had decided against working with Neal Avron, who had produced the band's three previous albums, as they wanted to try something different.[19] The band's frontman, Jordan Pundik explained that, "We love Neal. Neal's amazing and he's one of our really close friends. But after three records with him, after writing those records and a lot of other bands started to come out and get kind of popular, we kind of wanted to try something different."[19] After hearing a demo of "On My Mind", Panunzio was keen to work on the project. Pundik recalled that, "one of the songs that really got him to say. 'OK, I want to do this' was that song 'On My Mind.' That song really got him. Thom's done everything from like the Go-Go's to Bob Dylan, so he's very well rounded in music."[19]

The band entered Jackson Browne's private recording studio named Groovemasters in January 2006, after Panunzio had suggested it would be a suitable recording location.[18] New Found Glory strove to achieve a "clean kind of classic guitar sound" when recording, using a Vox AC30 amp on almost the entire record.[20] The amp, known for its "jangly" high-end sound, was used with several classic guitars in the studio including a Fender Tele, Les Paul, Gibson 335-S and a Rickenbacker.[20] Gilbert enthused that, "It sounds huge. When you put our old records on and our new record, there's actually less guitars on our new album, but it sounds bigger."[20] Jordan Pundik likewise accounted; "he [Panunzio] brought this classic vibe to it, especially with the tones he got. We learned we don't have to double-up 15 Mesa cabinets and make it all distorted to make it sound big."[14] Pundik also spoke of the bands desire to challenge themselves musically; "Usually with every record we think, 'We’ve got to put the fast punk song on it or people won't like it', but this wasn't anything like that."[14] He did admit that around thirty songs were written, including some fast-paced songs, but were excluded as, "(they) didn't really fit."[19] Steve Klein, the bands principal lyricist and rhythm guitarist, also praised Panunzio for helping the band bring new elements to their sound. Describing the sessions as "best recording experience ever", he added, "It's this empty mansion where we were able to set up all our equipment, we just woke up and wrote songs. We were really relaxed and able to set our own pace. Everything about the record is way more classic rock sounding because Thom has done a bunch of classic rock records like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen and Ozzy, and the list goes on and on. He kind of brought this different element to our band. This disc is less guitar driven and more melody driven, more than any other of our records."[21]

One track, the folk-tinged acoustic song "Too Good to Be", was not written until the latter part of recording, only being penned in minutes whilst in the studio. Jordan Pundik joked that, "the funny thing is, that's the song you'd think we wrote sitting on a beach around a fire."[14] While all the songs were primarily written on guitar, Chad Gilbert also tracked melodies on piano, despite his limited ability on the instrument.[20] Gilbert explained that, "When we wrote the songs a couple of songs started out on piano, like the melodies. So in pre-production, I did the piano. But I'm not very good, I can write melodies, but I just use two fingers, my pointer fingers."[20] Panunzio subsequently brought in Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) to play the keyboard, piano and organ parts throughout the album.[14] Paul Buckmaster conducted string sections for "When I Die" and "Boulders", while indie rock band Eisley, comprising four siblings including Gilbert's then-fiancée Sherri DuPree, provided female backing vocals for seven tracks on the album.[22][23][24] Once the process of mixing and mastering the record had finalised, the band asked Autumn de Wilde, best known for her portraiture and commercial photography of musicians, to shoot the cover art and liner photography for the album booklet.[25] Chad Gilbert later declared that he was "really proud", citing the music as "the most uplifting" the band had ever written,[17] while Pundik added that Coming Home would be "the one that will stand the test of time."[14]

Composition

Music

Music critics agreed that Coming Home represents a more "mature" sound than previously heard from the band,[2] made noticeable by slower songs, more serious lyrics and inclusion of other instruments (keyboards, piano, string sections) concurrent with their traditional rock-based setup of guitar, bass and drums.[4] Most distinctive among the musical arrangements on Coming Home is that only three of the albums thirteen tracks ("Hold My Hand", "Taken Back by You", "Too Good to Be") contain high tempos of over 130 beats per minute.[31][32][33] Unlike their earlier work, with fast-paced pop punk songs such as "My Friends Over You" and "Truth of My Youth" (both in excess of 150 bpm),[34][35] various tracks such as "Oxygen", "Make Your Move", "When I Die", "Connected", and "Boulders" contain "moderately slow" tempos of no more than 80 bpm.[26][29][36]

Prior the albums release, Chad Gilbert explained, "The songs are all pretty different, sonically speaking" and said that lead single "It's Not Your Fault", has "big, full guitars and a piano line that goes throughout. It's pretty anthemic, and Jordan's voice has never sounded better."[25] The guitarist also noted that the albums cleaner guitar sound was attributed to little distortion effects used in comparison to earlier albums, while describing "On My Mind" as "this modern New Found Glory twist on a classic rock song."[20] Brendan Manley of Alternative Press called the album a "statement of sentiment that stands apart in the NFG discography",[37] while The Palm Beach Post opined that, "Coming Home is similar, in spirit, to the 1990s crooning of Chicago's brilliant Smoking Popes. Jordan Pundik's vocal delivery curls into sweetness, rather than a snarl. Wrapped around journal-entry cute lines on the boppy, '80s-ish "Hold My Hand" and the earnestly protective pleadings of "It's Not Your Fault."[38] Jack Foley of Indie London wrote "Gilbert’s guitars are crisp, lively and fresh, while the vocal melodies are strong enough to have everyone singing along at some point. Take the feel-good romp that’s "Too Good To Be" for example. It’s vibrant in every sense, boasting some gloriously breezy guitar riffs and some fine vocal layering, with almost hand-clapping beats."[39]

The Salt Lake Tribune said that the album "largely drops the punk-by-numbers that dominated past efforts to get a little more personal lyrically, thus becoming more approachable."[40] Alan Sculley of The Daily Herald explained that, "Coming Home pretty much leaves any punk element behind. The songs still rock - just note the wallop delivered by "Hold My Hand" or "Connected." But the band pulls back on the tempos of virtually all of the songs."[19] Scene Point Blank writer Chris Abraham noted, "Coming Home still encompasses the things that make New Found Glory great. Relatable lyrics, hooks so melodic and catchy that my hands are red from not buying a mitt, and, despite a mellower tone, I could still imagine myself going fucking nuts singing along to these songs live."[41] AbsolutePunk founder Jason Tate warned that, "it's crucial you abandon any pre-conceived expectations for this album. If you're anticipating the band's previous albums re-hashed, you're going to be completely let-down. While the choruses and sing-a-long hooks could compete with the best on any of their previous albums - it's the slower melodic approach to the songs that truly makes the album come alive and fully breathe."[42] Rae Alexandra of Kerrang! magazine called the album a "massive departure" and suggested that, "NFG are taking what will be, by far, the biggest gamble of their career. Some of you won't even recognise them immediately; it's not fast, it's not forced, but - in an entirely new way - it sours."[43] In an earlier Kerrang! article discussing the album, Alexandra wrote that "It's Not Your Fault" displays "more maturity - and piano - than ever before", while "When I Die" is "low key with orchestral accents", making it "one of the most beautiful moments on Coming Home."[30] Corey Apar of Allmusic was in agreement and stated that "from the album's packaging to the comfortable nature of the music, it actually feels more mature in a way that is catchy without seeming to care about radio accessibility."[44]

Lyrics

"There are always songs about death that are really sad, but this is an uplifting song that gives me strength."[14]

Chad Gilbert, describing "When I Die", a song written about his fathers death.

Lyrically, the album is themed around the concept of dealing with time apart in relationships and familial issues whilst on the road. The albums more serious tone has been attributed to the developing family life of the band (including new marriages and children).[44] Alan Sculley of The Daily Herald explained that, "Catalyst marked a move toward slightly more mature and serious material about relationships and life issues That lyrical direction is even more pronounced on Coming Home."[19] The band were particularly inspired by early Beatles records,[14][45] seeing Chad Gilbert working on penning lyrics alongside Pundik and primary lyricist Steve Klein for the first time.[20] Gilbert explained that, "I've always been a part of the music and I've always written the music for the band, but I've never been a part of the lyrics. This time I just kind of felt like in order to kind of have the best record, we had to do things different. That's what made it stand out like that."[20] Regarding the album title, Gilbert detailed that the songs "are all sort of tied together by this theme of wanting to go home",[25] while drummer Cyrus Bolooki said that the title track was one of the first songs written for the album and after assessing the lyrics "it was a phrase that sat well with we wanted the record to communicate."[13]

Jordan Pundik later accounted, "I'm not comparing my band to the Beatles whatsoever, but their [early] records were simple songs about love and relationships, and people could relate to their songs because they understood what they were trying to say. That's what this record reminds me of. There's not weird metaphors. It's just straight up, wearing your heart on your sleeve."[45] Steve Klein emphasised the shift in mood from their previous album by stating, "I think every record we make we try and capture a time period. When writing the songs for Coming Home it was more positive than negative. I felt on the last record, Catalyst, we were very negative lyrically. You can tell that by the titles “All Downhill From Here” and “This Disaster,” it was a heavier record. Coming Home on the other hand takes you to a different place. It’s the record I feel we’ve been waiting our whole career to do, taking everything people love about NFG and bringing it to the next level."[16] Bassist Ian Grushka further explained, "We only really talk about personal things that have affected us first-hand, our songs are about emotions rather than some political agenda."[13] The song, "When I Die" was written by Gilbert about the death of his father.[20] When initially writing the bridge section for the song, Gilbert found the experience emotionally draining and had to leave the studio in order to compose himself.[20] Despite this, he maintains that while song is "sad", it remains "a good sad."[20] He reflected this in the albums liner notes by adding, "It is a song about accepting death and finding the bright side of the situation. I'm no longer afraid to die because I have my father there waiting for me on the other side."[22]

Release and promotion

Chad Gilbert performs acoustically during a store signing promoting Coming Home

Coming Home was first announced in June 2006, with the band citing a scheduled release date of September, with lead single "It's Not Your Fault" preceding the album in July.[25] The music video for "It's Not Your Fault" would eventually make its worldwide debut on 1 August 2006 through Total Request Live.[46]

A week prior to the albums release, the band posted a mock open letter to Lionel Richie, who was also about to release a new album of the same name the following week. The band jokingly threatened to name their next project Dancing on the Ceiling (Richie's 1986 album),[47] writing, "Congrats this week on the release of your new CD Coming Home - what an awesome title! Sounds familiar though, where did we hear that before? Oh yeah, it's the name of our new CD which drops Tues. Sept. 19. Our new single and video is 'It's Not Your Fault.' Hey...we haven't heard your song yet...Send us a copy."[47]

The album was released on 13, 19 and 25 September in Japan, North America and the United Kingdom respectively.[48][49][50] Following the albums release, the band announced a 34-date tour of North America stretching from Cincinnati to Boston.[46] The band had initially planned to release either the title track "Coming Home" or "On My Mind" as the second single,[21] however due to internal problems at Geffen Records, any further release plans were scrapped. Just after the album was released Jordan Schur, the labels president, lost his job.[37] With no focus on the record in the immediate aftermath, Jordan Pundik recalls, "Everything fell apart and Coming Home was just forgotten about. The record didn't stand a chance."[37] Later the label would offer the band a new contract under a subsidiary label called Octone Records, however the band declined and parted ways with the label.[37] Despite this, the band continued to tour in support of the album, joining Paramore in the UK during October 2007.[51]

Reception

Commercial performance

Coming Home debuted at number eight on the Billboard Rock Albums chart and just inside the top twenty on the main Billboard 200 chart, at number nineteen, with sales of 83,123.[52] The album also entered the Billboard Tastemaker Albums chart at number thirteen. The Tastemaker chart is not decided by record sales, but compiled by ranking new albums based on "an influential panel of indie stores and small regional chains."[53] Overall, this marked a drop in performance in comparison to their previous two releases; Catalyst (2004) and Sticks and Stones (2002) debuted on the Billboard 200 at number three and four respectively,[54] each selling in excess of 500,000 units.[55] However, with just the sole single release of "It's Not Your Fault", the band have cited a lack of promotion and support from Geffen Records as a factor.[56] Indeed, after leaving Geffen for the aforementioned reasons and signing with independent label Epitaph Records, the bands next release, Not Without a Fight (2009), topped the Billboard Independent Albums chart and entered the Billboard 200 at number twelve,[54][57] despite a potentially damaging internet leak six weeks before its release.[58]

Critical response

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk (88%)[42]
Allmusic 4/5 stars[44]
Alternative Press 5/5 stars[27]
Big Cheese 4/5 stars[59]
Contactmusic (favorable)[28]
Entertainment Weekly (B)[60]
Kerrang! 4/5 stars[43]
The New York Post 3/4 stars[61]
The Palm Beach Post (A-)[38]
Rock Sound (9/10)[62]

Coming Home garnered many positive reviews from music critics upon its release.[6] Praise often centered on the albums "matured, nuanced songwriting" and slower musicianship.[6] Seen as a departure from their previous work, the songs have been described as the most "mellow" of New Found Glory's career,[9] yet still employing "the group's firmly established talent for writing strong melodies."[19] AbsolutePunk founder Jason Tate scored the album at 88%. He paid compliment to the album's change in direction from earlier material, "the band's latest album hits us as the summer months fade and the air bends to the onslaught of fall. Incidentally, the band's musical thermometer is still intact. Instead of an album full of summer-fist-pumping-anthems they've released the perfect music by which to watch the leaves fall from the trees." He went on to add that Coming Home "certainly has the qualities that could make it a classic in time".[42] Corey Apar of Allmusic awarded the album a four star rating and praised the "at-ease spirit of Coming Home". He emphasised the new approach by adding, "the band is now in a position to simply enjoy itself without needing to forcibly shove saccharine-saturated hooks down the throats of anyone standing nearby. Make no mistake - this is a New Found Glory album through and through. It's full of melody, personality, and all the best attributes of their earlier work presented in a way that grows more memorable with each listen."[44] Brendan Manley of Alternative Press was unanimously positive and awarded a full five-star rating. He noted that the album "extracts their finest qualities. Launching with the excellent "Oxygen", Coming Home boasts stuttering rhythms, full-bodied guitars and gold plated vocal harmonies. NFG have made the best album of their career."[27] Paul Hagen of Big Cheese magazine awarded a four-star rating and commended the band's experimentation for leaving a "tiresome genre" for a new and matured direction. He offered particular praise to the guitar work, of which he described as "rousing and memorable." He later summed up Coming Home as a "creative, earnest and emotive" record.[59] Texas based newspaper, The Dallas Morning News also gave a favorable review and described the album as a "sober, but happy record that recalls the band's formative days in sound and spirit."[63] Simon Vozick-Levinson, critic for Entertainment Weekly, awarded the album a "B" grade and noted the maturity found amongst the songs; "Like Green Day and Blink-182 before them, Florida-bred five-some New Found Glory has outgrown the bratty attitude that made them famous".[60]

Alex Lai of Contactmusic likewise noted that, "Those who are familiar with the earlier work of NFG are in for a shock. Beginning in more relaxed fashion than expected, "Oxygen" is a grand love ballad, serious in tone but retaining the group's ability to produce a catchy hook. Far from being a one-off experiment, these are actually the characteristics to the album and like Blink-182 before going on hiatus, New Found Glory have allowed their music to mature."[28] Jack Foley of Indie London, gave the album four stars out of five and described it as "utterly engaging". While mentioning standout tracks, he added, "The low-key "Make Your Move" drops some beautifully cascading riffs, while, the chiming piano chords that open "It’s Not Your Fault" give way into an effortlessly inspiring song."[39] People magazine declared that Coming Home is "their best album yet",[27] while Dan Aquilante of The New York Post awarded a score of three stars out of four and wrote that the album is "a smart, stylistic mix rich in vocal harmonies, it's driven by guitar and piano breaks. The notion of getting back to family, friends and better days connects the 13 tracks."[61] British rock publication Kerrang! awarded the album a "great" four K! rating. Rae Alexandra opined that Coming Home "displays a new level of sensitivity and subtlety; a new take on harmonies and melodies." He noted that while the album isn't as immediate as previous material, it will "move you far more deeply in the long run. It's hopeful; learned; masterfully executed. It's everything New Found Glory have been leading to all this time; and it's everything we never knew they had in them. Absolutely stunning."[43] Florida-based newspaper, The Palm Beach Post were also highly favorable and graded the album as an "A-". They wrote, "It's all written in beautifully vulnerable, snarkless, shout-it-out-loud terms, with an unself-conscious joy in the lyrics, the do-do-dos and the muted hand claps that find a sweet, genuine current of emotion without sacrificing edge. Pundik's delivery is never cloying, ironic or dumb. Underscored by drummer Cyrus Bolooki's strong beat, the songs are like a pre-made mix tape about the ups and downs of making yourself honestly vulnerable to another human being. Bravo."[38] Rock Sound journalist Tim Newbound rated the album at nine out of ten and particularly praised the bands progression. Writing that, "New Found Glory have come of age. Put simply, nearly ten years into their flourishing career, the five-some are now better songwriters and better musicians. Their punchy punk-pop styling of old may have dimmed, but their knack of writing inducing melodies amid sincere delivery has only intensified. Pundik's nasal-edged vocals have now blossomed into a fuller pitch, perfectly complimenting his bands more tuneful and matured musicianship. Top notch."[62]

Accolades

Coming Home received recognition in year-end lists compiled by the music media. Alternative Press included the album in their end-of-year "Essential Albums" list, with editor Leslie Simon writing, "From the opening chords of "Oxygen" to the ethereal wafting of "Boulders," I admittedly fell in love with this album the first time I heard it."[64] In AbsolutePunk's staff compiled "Top 30 Albums of the Year" feature, the album placed at number twelve, with Jason Tate noting, "Coming Home features a slick sound from Florida pop-punkers New Found Glory. They aren't shy about pulling out the ballads, nor are they shy about racking up the points in our list."[65] While fellow AbsolutePunk staff writer Drew Beringer placed "Connected" from the album on his list containing his favorite tracks of 2006.[66]

Publication Country Nominated Work Accolade Year Rank
AbsolutePunk United States Coming Home Top Thirty Albums of the Year[65] 2006 12
"Connected" Drew Beringer's Best Songs of the Year[66] *
Alternative Press Coming Home Ten Essential Albums of the Year[67] *

* denotes an unordered list

Track listing

All songs written, composed and performed by New Found Glory.[22][23]

No. Title Length
1. "Oxygen"   3:15
2. "Hold My Hand"   3:42
3. "It's Not Your Fault"   3:37
4. "On My Mind"   3:56
5. "Coming Home"   4:09
6. "Make Your Move"   4:02
7. "Taken Back by You"   3:25
8. "Too Good to Be"   2:59
9. "Love and Pain"   3:03
10. "Familiar Landscapes"   3:19
11. "When I Die"   3:43
12. "Connected"   3:38
13. "Boulders"   5:23
Total length:
48:11

Personnel

The following personnel contributed to Coming Home:[22]

New Found Glory
Additional musicians
Production

Chart performance

Chart (2006) Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart (ARIA)[69] 48
U.K Album Chart (The Official Charts Company)[70] 86
U.S Billboard 200[52] 19
U.S Rock Albums (Billboard)[52] 8
U.S Tastemaker Albums (Billboard)[52] 13

Release history

Region Date Label Format Catalogue # Ref.
Japanese Japan 13 September 2006 Universal Compact Disc, digital download UICF-1077 [48]
United States United States 19 September 2006 Geffen B0007676-02 [49]
United Kingdom United Kingdom 25 September 2006 CID1706 [50]

References

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