“Coming Home” is a mini-album from Bjørn Riis that serves as a companion of sorts to “Forever Comes to an End.” The main connection between the two is the mini-album’s title track, which was written and partially recorded during the “Forever Comes to an End” sessions, but didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the album. This in turn creates an interesting parallel to the themes of the song itself and also the album; a song that didn’t quite fit about returning home when things don’t quite fit anymore.
I’m honestly having a bit of a hard time classifying “Coming Home” as a whole. It’s very short at less than a half hour in total. Officially it’s a “mini album” which seems to be, technically speaking approximately the same thing as an EP. But at the same time, it almost plays out as a single song in concept and execution. Each track flows perfectly into the next, and the lyrical concepts all fit together as if to tell one story. The individual songs feel more like movements of a larger piece than standalone tracks. “Daybreak” and “Tonight’s the Night” serve as instrumental bookends, while “Coming Home” and “Drowning” are the centerpieces. The new version of “Lullabies in a Car Crash” (the title track off his first solo album) provides the coda:
Breathe slowly now
And don’t be afraid
Lay down and rest your head
It’s over now
So don’t look back.
Something I’ve been struck with listening to Riis’ work, and specifically his solo albums, is that he is a master of conveying emotions through his musical arrangements and guitar playing. There is an almost movie soundtrack quality to many of the songs where you can imagine in your head the scenes playing out to the music. The “Coming Home” solo is the perfect example of this. The turn of the chords never quite resolves and the notes in the solo are always just a little bit “outside.” It’s a pitch perfect interpretation of the bittersweet feeling of wanting to be home, but not knowing if it’s even home anymore.
“Coming Home” succeeds in the same ways that Bjørn Riis’ other albums do; not just in the technical qualities of the music or performance, which are excellent, but in expertly conveying feelings of loss, melancholy, and angst in a mature and relatable way. There’s no excess and no hyperbole; simply raw, honest musical and lyrical expression. This is an album that demands you put on your headphones, rest your head, and get lost in it for a little bit.
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