An Analysis of the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
In 2010, the musical group Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros released their song “Home.” The song was written and performed by Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos and takes a unique spin on traditional music by including both sung and spoken poetry. The song includes a variety of musical elements such as whistling, guitar, tambourine, trumpet, and piano. The song also crossed many genres: American folk, Indie, and country. The song “Home” is a declaration of love between the two vocalists, the lyrics and the music express how no matter where they are physically they will always feel at home when in each other’s company.
At the beginning of the song, for the first twenty seconds, the audience listens to a rhythmic whistling accompanied by guitar and a tambourine keeping the beat. The tempo, at 120 bpm, speeds up the listener’s heartbeat creating a joyful euphoria in preparation for the song. Then the lyrics begin in the key of D Major.
Alabama, Arkansas I do love my ma and pa, Not that way that I do love you.
These beginning lyrics are a comparison. The female vocalist, Jade, is comparing the way she feels at home with her parents to the feeling she receives when she’s with her lover. In the next line, the male vocalist, Alexander, reciprocates these feelings,
Well, holy moly, me oh my, You’re the apple of my eye, Girl, I’ve never loved one like you.
He uses the metaphor “you’re the apple of my eye,” a common English phrase meaning he cherishes her above anyone else. For the rest of that verse, the pair continues to express how much they love each other. There’s no one in the world they would rather be than with each other. Within these lyrics, there are many comparisons and metaphors such as,
Well, hot and heavy, pumpkin pie; Chocolate candy; Jesus Christ; Ain’t nothing please me more than you.
This is a comparison with the love the male singer has for things like pie and candy with the love he has for her and that nothing, even some of his favorite things, will compare with the love he has for the girl he’s singing with. These things set the theme for the rest of the poem.
The chorus brings in the main theme of the song,
Ah, home, let me come home; Home is wherever I’m with you; Ah, home, let me come home; Home is wherever I’m with you; La, la, la, la, take me home.
Within these words to each other they’re expressing the safety and comfort of home, getting their listeners to remember the things that make a home, home. For many people, it could be a place they can be truly themselves, with no fear of being judged by the world. At home they are safe. The vocalists are expressing to each other how intense their love is for one another, that they can be completely and utterly themselves with each other in a manner that is so freeing they constantly desire their partner’s presence. In the first part of the lyrics, the singers are asking to come home, wondering where home even is and then in the second half of the lyric they declare the solution to their homelessness: a true home is with each other. The phrases are paired with a soothing folk guitar with indie vibes accompanied by the addition of some piano to the music, this adds more of a folk tune to the song. Then there is a long pause in the singing where the audience is serenaded with a folk and country array of trumpets for a grand entrance, or in this case, a homecoming then the singers say together
Mommy, I’m coming home,
Again relating that familial aspect of the home to each other to conclude the chorus.
The transitional phrase appears very similar to the beginning of the song. The whistling and guitar accompanied by the consistent beat of the tambourine prepare us for the next verse of the song. The second verse begins with the male singer expressing,
I’ll follow you into the park, Through the jungle, through the dark; Girl, I never loved one like you.
This is a promise to his lover. No matter where the pair venture and no matter who they meet nothing can match the love he has for her. He even reiterates the phrase
I never loved one like you
This is reassurance of how intense this love is for her. This is also a comparison to traditional wedding vows, “In sickness and in health” is a very common phrase spoken at weddings as a commitment to no matter what hardship life throws at them they will remain dedicated to each other. “Through the jungle, through the dark,” is a paraphrase of this. He is promising to follow her to the scariest places and through their darkest times. Then in the next part of the verse, the female singer responds
Moats and boats and waterfalls; Alleyways and payphone calls; I’ve been everywhere with you,
The pair has traveled many places with each other but again alluding to their feelings of “home” with each other. These two have traveled many places and experienced many different things both together and through personal journeys but when they’re with each other it’s different; they can be traveling around the world and still be at home.
The bridge switches up the beat of the song a little bit throwing in a little variety to the otherwise identical beat.
That’s true, laugh until we think we’ll die; Barefoot on a summer night; Never could be sweeter than with you
Alexander sings, in this, he is telling of all the fun experiences they’ve had together that have made each other’s company home. All his life experiments with Jade make it better and sweeter of a memory. Jade responds,
And in the streets, you run a-free; Like it’s only you and me; Geez, you’re something to see
This is her side of the story of how freeing it is to travel with her “home.” The contents of this lyrical response show us how safe Jade feels when she is with Alexander, when she is with him it is almost like it is just the two of them, a whirlwind romance that makes you forget the world.
After this comes another repetition of the chorus before the most unique part of the song. In spoken words, Alexander tells Jade of the first time he knew she was something special, that he loved her, and surprisingly it isn’t this huge romantic gesture of travel and togetherness like the rest of the song but chaos. Alexander tells the story of the time Jade fell out of his window and as he was driving her to the hospital he was watching her and realized that he loved her. As the pair are having this conversation the drums in the background are stopped and replaced by a melodic plucking of an acoustic guitar. This creates a warmth and nostalgia over the conversation for the listener and the two singers to appreciate this special moment together separate from the rest of the song. The two have this conversation of love together before jumping right back into the chorus and singing together repeating lines they’ve sung throughout the song and vocalizing until the music fades out.
In conclusion, the song “Home” is the love story of Alexander and Jade. The audience is taken through their love story of how they’ve seen the word and done things on their own, but when the pair were brought together it was so much better and with one another they could go wherever they wanted with the comfort of home within each other. The song uses many comparisons and metaphors to describe their love story to their listeners and through this, the audience sees the pureness of their love story and how freeing it is to love someone so much they become home. In its unique beats and patterns along with the story accompanied by it, the song, “Home” creates a beautiful atmosphere for daydreaming about love and adventure.