Review Summary: Coming Home is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s worth the eventual effect it will have on the listener.
New Found Glory’s fifth full length is certainly one of the most divisive albums in the band’s discography. Often dismissed as one of their weaker albums, it doesn’t exactly get the credit it deserves. While at first the album may seem underwhelming, especially to those who are used to New Found Glory’s energetic brand of pop punk, it proves to be a real grower. Much like a bitter pill to swallow, its end result is better than the initial taste it leaves in your mouth.
As the album opens with ‘Oxygen’ it’s clear the band were trying something different this time around. Like many of the songs on “Coming Home” it’s more relaxed than the band’s usual work, but it’s a rather mediocre opening that could leave a bad first impression on the listener. However, with patience there are some real gems to be found here. Some of the most memorable moments are found in the albums final three tracks. ‘When I Die’ is a catchy but poignant reflection on life, while ‘Connected’ is a song the band wrote about being away from their loved ones on tour. Unlike many songs by New Found Glory, these lyrical themes are more true to life and are likely to hit home with some, but the thirteenth track ‘Boulders’ is one of the most emotional songs the band has ever written.
Several additional musicians were involved in the recording of “Coming Home”, such as Grammy winning composer Paul Buckmaster who provided string sections on ‘When I Die’ or ‘Boulders’ or the band Eisley who helped provide backing vocals in seven of the albums tracks. The additional talent is a definite plus as it brings many songs to life. The heartfelt but depressing ‘Boulders’ is almost haunting as it’s made up of light guitars and string sections, but it’s the lyrics that truly make it a unique experience, especially for New Found Glory. The band has never been known for writing deep or meaningful lyrics, but ‘Boulders’ contains lyrics that portray the daily struggles of life.
I feel locked away with the weight of the world on my shoulders. Crushing on my head are boulders made of lies and dust, from all of us. What of the bonds we made that have started to fade" We can’t control the time but right now I’ll take what I can get out of my life. Medicate me again, so I fall away.
As much of a shock as these lyrics are for a band who usually writes songs about girls and love, they certainly don’t disappoint and ‘Boulders’ is the perfect way to close their most mature album to date. However, those looking for the more upbeat New Found Glory heard on their earlier albums, several songs on “Coming Home” aim to please those fans. ‘Hold My Hand’ or ‘Too Good To Be’ are full of the catchy hooks the band is known for and the single ‘It’s Not Your Fault’ contains some of the crispest vocals I’ve heard from Jordan Pundik. As great as the album is however it is unfortunately held back by some uninspired tracks such as the opening track or ‘Love and Pain’, but even those songs aren't terrible, they just feel bland.
With some of the band’s most impressive songs hidden at the end of the album, it’s no wonder people don’t seem to give “Coming Home” a chance. It’s not as immediate as the bands other albums, but it contains some of the most impressive songs in the bands catalogue. The final three tracks are exceptionally good and showcase maturity in not only the bands sound, but in their lyrics as well. It may not be the best album in the band’s career and it might be hard for longtime fans to digest the change in sound, but with patience it is one of the most enjoyable and unique albums they’ve put out to date.