Review Summary: Before the tide rose, Sunny Day Real Estate bundled eleven songs into one breathtaking diary.
Sunny Day Real Estate is a band that is recognized for creating the Emo genre of music. While this may not be true, one clear fact is that their album Diary will stand as a bible for all Emo bands to come. Jeremy Enigk has created lyrics that are not only relatable and subtle, but haunting and mesmerizing as well. He is also backed up by an three piece band hell bent on providing a four star instrumental meal for you to digest. Let it be known that Diary is a gem that shines brightly even to this day.
Diary is a really depressing album. The cover art may seem misleading at first with the bright colors and the Lego esque people, but taking one look at the eerie smiles on their faces and you may begin to think that something is wrong. Discovering the true meaning of the artwork before listening to the music is a brainteaser; but I believe that the theme of the artwork is that when everyone is happy, what could go wrong? This album highlights what could go wrong, and details it like a savage train wreck.
The album begins with the song Seven, an instrumental masterpiece that is an excellent opener. All instruments; bass, guitar, and drums are spot on, showcasing the talents the band has to offer. After a short little intro movement, Jeremy sings quietly “Sew, it on” followed by a frenzied guitar and quick cymbal crashes from the drum kit. The lyrics are astounding, with Seven depicting depression as a whole. With lines that depict car crashes, a man not recognizing who he is anymore, and even the loss of a loved one. Anything depressing can be analyzed in this one song, but just remember you’re in for one hell of a ride when the song opens.
“In Circles” is the next song on the list and it is my all time favorite SDRE song ever. The guitar kicks it off with a haunting rhythmic piece, and then the band breaks it down with a bass guitar playing elegantly in the front which is just beautiful. The gloomy tone the bass provides gives you a hint of the darkness this song provides. The song then breaks into a slow mellow guitar and drum with Jeremy whispering, “Meet me There, In the Blues, Where Words are not, Feeling Remains” The vocals make you feel the sorrow of Jeremy’s voice, with every blow he takes, you feel it as grief. The song also includes a chorus that hits hard, as Jeremy screeches to the guitar in the intro, “Running Down, In circles” A depressing work of art that is both instrumentally successful and lyrically astounding.
The songs go by like a gust of wind, songs like the dense yet innocent “Song about an Angel” which is then followed up by the upbeat and cheerful “Round” go by quickly. The album enters the twilight zone, and never leaves it after “Round”. “Pheurton Skeurto” is near the end of the album, it provides a malevolent sounding piano into a waltz. The song is downright haunting, the piano dances back and forth for most of the songs while Jeremy sings with utter angst. The song is short, but provides a thick veil of dark atmosphere which is followed up by the beautiful “Grendel”.
“Grendel” contains soft lit vocals that seem like they aren’t even there. The ambient sounds that are formed with the combination of the instruments forms a feeling of dire hopelessness. Though it’s very hard to hear Jeremy, a quick glance at the lyrics is all you need to discover the restlessness this song provides. At the peak of the song, it shines like a star in the night sky. The essence of pure beauty flows from each melody casted down by this serene song, definitely a classic to all those that listen to the album.
The album ends with the quiet but also powerful song “Sometimes” It isn’t one of my favorites, but it is lyrically outstanding, reciting lines that make you wonder. Questions about death, serenity, and self conscious are thrown in the picture as Jeremy sings the final chorus. When the album closes, the wake of the peaceful waves will hit you, and Emo music will never remain the same. A classic album, which will never be forgotten.