THE concept of “house and home” has been immortalised in song since time immemorial, or at least the invention of internet lists.
And like internet lists, these song titles suggest a collective affection, if not for vacuuming our Little Boxes, at least keeping the Tower Of Song harmonious.
Take Where Ever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) – an interchangeable tribute to the idea that wherever I lay my undies, bra, shoes etc, that’s my home. It’s certainly mine, at times, and our house is madness until it gets cleaned up.
I mean Our House, by Madness, is another great “home” song that goes one step beyond the notion that if you don’t pull your weight, you may find yourself exiled to a Home Among The Gum Trees, if not Home On The Range.
You reckon it gets hot in the House of the Rising Sun. Try not packing away the laundry. This Ole House might once have rung with laughter, but if the chores are ignored, someone’s Burning Down The House.
On the other hand, if it all gets done – The House Is Rockin and we’ve got a Love Shack. Indeed, a home can be a Stairway to Heaven, but a House Is Not A Home, and therefore not a stairway, if that house is crowded with angst. That’s just the World Where We Live.
All the great home songs contain a truth that almost defies logic.
Take Sweet Home Alabama. Few have ever been there, but that classic feel-good guitar riff transports us every time.
Same story My Old Kentucky Home. If you’re Aussie and consider Kentucky you’re home, you’re probably eating way too much fried chicken.
Then there’s Take Me Home Country Roads. We all need somewhere to “belooonnnnggggg”.
Not necessarily West Virginia, but hopefully an address most taxi or Uber drivers will recognise when slurred after a night on the sauce. (Just watch out for the surge fare.)
If I had a bone to pick with songwriters about the topic of home, it might be the lack of domestic detail.
For example, I struggle to name one song that states outright “Home Is Where I Love To Mow”. Welcome To The Jungle might work and I guess there’s always Green Green Grass of Home. But really, Whip It, should have been Whippersnip It.
Home maintenance is another topic shunned.
James Taylor had a crack with Handy Man. Randy Travis came close with Everything I Own Has A Dent In It but I reckon REM nailed it with It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, particularly if I try to fix it.
There’s no doubt, home is all about emotion, with a mountain of potential song topics. “Who Turned Off The Hot Water” is one. “Shut The Blinds I’m Getting Changed” is another. And that all-time favourite “Does Anyone Know Where The Frickin’ Tongs Are” surely resonates.
Further examples might be “A Home Without Occasional Hysteria Ain’t No Home I’ve Ever Lived In”, “It’s Not My Turn To Unpack The Dishwasher” and “I’m Not Coming Home Until Someone’s Changed The Kitty Litter”. That last song could well be written by me, or my cat.
And so as we turn Homeward Bound on this column about “home” songs, I hope it can Bring It On Home To Me, if not you, (yeah) that in the words of various artists across the ages, Home Is Where The Heart Is.
But always remember, no matter how far or how wide we roam, we Still Call Australia Home.