Have you ever listened to an album, all the way through, and thought that it was defenitely good, memorable, and catchy - but that there's another catch: it sounds the same from its opening to the curtain close? Ever? Well, I think that in the case of Sunny Day Real Estate's debut full-length Diary
this is not only a sad issue with the music, but also an upside to it. Whilst probably thought of as the essential "emotional" release, one that any self-respecting emo must own, at the same time if you take a good look at it from outside its genre you'll see that it cannot be thought of as a classic simply because it won't appeal to any and everybody. This is because much of Diary
consists of poetic lyrical and compassionate voice work, which of course sounds great and all but nothing that just any fan of music can sit through. Also the purpose of the instrumentation is to support and propel Jeremy's work as a lead singer, making this a very vocal album. Without that as its stake in the ground Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary would not succeed as it does. Many music listeners prefer to hear what the backing men of the band have to offer aside from their frontman. You want to get the concept of the album through your singer, but to actually tell the story the lyrics are trying to convey you must have a thouroughly unique band altogether. That being said, try if you can to think of Diary
as a storybook. Jeremy is moving his mouth to produce the setting, theme, plot, rising action, climax and resolution, all the while the instrumentation is falling down upon his voice to give the characters life enough to progress. Now, when you read a book in general fashion, does it usually completely change plot halfway through, or throw in some unheard of twists and turns to produce an instant classic? Or is your usual book opening, acted then closed? Thats what this album is. A very gloomy tale of a voice and the chords that follow it. The words stay the same as the instruments eventually fade out from your senses and become one with the vocals. This is excellently crafted, but not what you expect, not a concept, not a revolution, not a neccesity. This album can be heard in the same way by reading a good meshing novel cover to cover. Therefore, Sunny Day Real Estate's Diary
is not a classic.
But it is very good. I want you to picture what I just said, about the book, in a more depressed and pained manner, read to you by a pained and depressed person. The drums can be the ink on the page - they play an imperitive part in the music on this album. Without them Diary
would fail, 'cause as you'll hear when your sifting through the pages of this album everything you don't hear. You'll hear it but it won't be there. This music is the kind that grabs you and really doesn't let you go, leaving you sitting there still listening and contemplating the song minutes after it has ended and Goldsmith's drumming is what puts you in that position along with its six stringed counter-instrument. Both the guitar and drum are important to this album, as they'll just sit there in your ears for so long, taking you deeper into the music. But what is it that's really doing this? I can't say its all the instruments. Yes, your correct: again its Jeremy's voice thats really conjuring this magic. The band as a whole plays excellently. The drums are the ink on your page, the guitar/bass is the page numbers that keep the drums in line (which is unusual, its generally vice versa, but hey another mysterious aspect of Diary
) and Enigk's voice are the pages themselves, the binding and the cover. The instrumentation seems to be masked behind the vocals until you open the book and delve into the mesh.
I can't truly say which songs are the body of Diary
. You know, those stand-out tracks that really convey the examples I've given about the music better than the rest. As I stated earlier this is a book, a story, and a generic one at that. But although so generic, its still number two on the best-seller list for weeks because of its melodic poetry. If your really into this "emo" scene, and I'm talking about real emo, not wannabes like Hawthorne Heights and Dashboard Confessional, I mean if you really went to uncover the roots and true meaning of emotional music this is one place to start. Its one place to keep with you the entire journey you'll make listening to Circle Takes The Square, Rites of Spring, Pg. 99 and Saetia. Sunny Day Real Estate in my mind never produced an album worthy of the classic title "5 out of 5", but they are one of the clamant groups that are overrated and underrated both at once. Misunderstood and misread. Read the Diary, and think of this, then try your best to understand.
Vocals/Guitars: Jeremy Enigk
Vocals/Guitars: Daniel Hoerner
Bass: Nate Mendel
Drums: William Goldsmith