Today’s Song: Australia’s Dear Seattle Bring Modern Sensibility to Old School Pop Punk with “Homegrown”

Dear Seattle © Pat O'Hara
Dear Seattle © Pat O'Hara
Dear Seattle set themselves apart from most modern pop punk by embracing the qualities that made the genre popular in the first place on “Homegrown.”
Stream: “Homegrown” – Dear Seattle

We never really talk about the divide in “classic” pop-punk and modern pop-punk. The genre was popularized by the simple but effective songwriting of Green Day and Blink-182, but has grown into a much more intricate and emotive style that bands like Neck Deep and Real Friends. While there’s definitely shared DNA between American Idiot and Maybe This Place is the Same And We’re Just Changing, no one would really say that one sounds like the other; younger pop-punk bands usually wear New Found Glory’s influence on their sleeve more than Blink’s.

Australia’s Dear Seattle finds a style that is both reminiscent of the tenets that built the genre in the 90’s and the emotional delivery that propels so many bands today. No other song from their debut record Don’t Let Go (released February 15, 2019 via Domestic La La) shows this better than “Homegrown.”

Don’t Let Go - Dear Seattle
Don’t Let Go – Dear Seattle

The tried and true formula of “Homegrown” is a big part of why it’s so enjoyable. It feels familiar and palatable, but lead singer Brae Fisher’s accent and occasional yelp really add a layer to what could’ve just been a good pop-punk song. The song shares most of it’s DNA with the likes of All Time Low and Mayday Parade in it’s tried and true loud-softish-loud formula. Fisher has just a touch of a snarl on the chorus that is reminiscent of Billie Joe Armstrong. At one point in the second chorus, Fisher really boarders on screaming though, and you can practically hear The Hotelier’s Christian Holden in his voice: “All these people are taking me for granted, but I just let it happen so blame me.”

“Homegrown” is a classic pop-punk song in dealing with feelings of boredom and depression through incredibly catchy lyrics. The song opens with Fisher describing a blackout:

Waking up again without my phone
My wallet’s gone, and it looks like this isn’t my home
How do I end up spending my nights alone?

It’s not necessarily a Bemis-like spiral of addiction as much as it is not really knowing what to do with your time so you drown out the boredom. The opening is reminiscent of Frank Turner’s “The Real Damage” in that it shows someone in an unsure place that takes to the familiarity of drinking heavily. The second verse is relatively fresh in that it talks about some of Fisher’s own relationship struggles (classic pop-punk move), but he doesn’t dwell on some ex-girlfriend or lovelorn crush. It’s about feeling awkward approaching women in a bar who are “Talking to handsome men about what they earn/and how they’ll shower them with golden rings and pearls.” While this isn’t really something that’s discussed in pop-punk, it also doesn’t lash out at either the women or men addressed. It’s a real reflection of self-doubt that pop-punk needs more so than something like a Real Friends song does.

While pop-punk and the scenes it’s adjacent to continue to evolve, Dear Seattle bring back some of the sensibilities that helped propel the genre in the ’90s and 2000’s. On “Homegrown,” they also provide some fresh perspective on the two most common subject matters in the genre: mental illness and relationships. Don’t Let Go is a collection of similarly catchy songs that reflect on these topics.

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Stream: “Homegrown” – Dear Seattle

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Don’t Let Go - Dear Seattle

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? © Pat O'Hara

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