The cleansing power of music is contingent upon an artist’s ability to create tension. Any sort of cathartic work should be big and moving, and singer/songwriter Drew Hersch establishes himself as an expert in crafting this type of compelling composition with his newest single, “Home Again.”
In its story, Hersch tries to reconcile what is with what could be. His words are straightforward enough to follow while staying ambiguous enough to be usable to listeners on a personal level. While his writing is mesmerizing, the music itself manages to tell the story even more so than does the lyrics. The way he uses cinematic sound effects and field recordings adds a unique atmosphere to his piece—it’s visual and distinct. The beeps from the hospital-patient monitor and the chirping of the birds transports his audience right into the scene. You can feel yourself flying above blurry, yellow lines in the road—illuminated only by limited light from small fog-lamps. You’re speeding faster and faster towards—what? You don’t know.
It plays in a way similar to AFI’s “This Time Imperfect:” a beautiful bonus track from their strongest album. Amidst the age of compact discs, artists would sometimes throw an Easter egg fifteen minutes or so beyond the conclusion of the last song. It would be buried within the track—accessible only if you let the album play out or fast-forwarded through the silence. It was only noticeable if you happened to catch that the running time of the final tune was around twenty minutes. Often these surprise endings would be the best parts of their entire albums. They were boundless compositions that felt like a well-kept secret. Even though it’s being released as a single, that’s what “Home Again” feels like—a grand finale. It’s an epic showstopper full of excitement and emotion.
Drew Hersch studies media production at the University of Colorado in Boulder. His vast experience in the arts and theater background make themselves known through his music. You can hear it in the orchestral textures he weaves into the foundations of his projects. He released his debut album “sad boy summer” last year, and his self-produced track “honey” boasts over 600k streams to date.
During the “Home Again’s” first act, Hersch’s timbre reveals something bigger to come. You wait for him to push up to that next octave and let it rip. His voice climbs over expanding layers right past an anti-drop. You can feel everything come so close to the edge with every passing D major chord. “Home Again,” reinforces the fact that good storytelling in music doesn’t stop with the lyrics; it’s the way in which the words and sounds work together that create gratifying harmony or striking dissonance.
Written by Matt Kalicky