The Beatles—“She’s Leaving Home”
The other songs on Sgt. Peppers, heavyweight singles like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life,” tend to steal the spotlight from “She’s Leaving Home.” Nevertheless this is perhaps the album’s most beautiful vignette. A girl escapes her home for love and adventure and meanwhile her stunned parents—begging, “Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly? / How could she do this to me?”—cannot understand what they did wrong.
They have done nothing wrong; but then neither has their daughter. Wonderfully, in “She’s Leaving Home,” as in the real world, no one is singularly culpable. Simply, inevitably, children must eventually leave home.
Slow Club—“Christmas T.V.”
No—this is not a Christmas song. Or, at any rate, the story it tells, of lonely lovers loving each other from far away, is not some hokey Christmas tale. These are two realistic characters in a realistic relationship. They are scarred and scared and sometimes they argue, but eventually they make up, and finally they know that they give meaning to each other’s lives (“You pulled me out of the dark and now it’s light”).
The super-catchy chorus, “Let me come home,” signifies the song’s core metaphor, which is that being away from one’s love is like being in a foreign place. And by the same token, being with somebody feels like belonging somewhere.
Radical Face—“Welcome Home”
Despite the song’s thrilling chorus, “Welcome Home” is lyrically very sad, a love story in the past tense. The titular home is a house the narrator once shared with his now-ex-lover. As he looks around the house now he reflects on his past and, having suddenly lost a part of his whole, on his newfound incompleteness.
But the title is not ironic. “Welcome Home” empowers the newly single. It asks, and urges you to answer: How can you make a home now that you’re all on your own?
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros—“Home”
The song’s scarily infectious melody and its hippie-tinted warm-and-fuzzy lyrics (complete with a lubby-dubby dialogue about love and cigarettes chock in its middle) earned “Home” a prime spot last year on mix CDs across America. Some might argue that “Home” has worn out its welcome since last year, or even that the song has always been artless treacle, but never mind the humbugs. Once in a while you can afford to indulge your sweet tooth.
And on that note—Happy Valentine’s Day.