“Home Street Home” is the punk musical, created by Fat Mike. It is a punk musical, so it should be something I would love right? You are absolutely correct. I can’t stop listening to this.
Before I begin, I do want to mention that this musical tackles some disturbing content which may be triggering for some of you. Trigger warning: Incest, rape, suicide, and cutting. Adult content: Drug abuse and frank sexual dialogue.
“Home Street Home” is a musical, which at the time of this blog post, has only been performed in the San Francisco bay area. So this review is based on the concept album that was released in February of 2015.
“Songs from Fat Mike’s musical performed by NOFX and members of Descendents, Lagwagon, No Use for a Name, Alkaline Trio, Mad Caddies, Frank Turner, The Living End, Old Man Markley, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Dropkick Murphys, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Dance Hall Crashers, The Aggrolites, Limp, The Real McKenzies, Mariachi El Bronx, R.K.L. and Hedwig & the Angry Inch.
All Music written by Fat Mike. All Lyrics written by Fat Mike. Additional Lyrics by Soma Snakeoil and Jeff Marx.”
I want to make this distinction between the album I am reviewing and the musical itself. Because sometimes I enjoy one or the other more. For example, I love the music for “Les Miserables,” yet never actually liked the musical. What? How can this be? Well, the play/musical was woefully short in character development and coherent story. This is not a review of “Les Mis,” so I will not elaborate further. But, I did want to clarify the difference.
“Home Street Home,” is a musical experience that I cannot stop listening to. Seriously, it’s been over a year, and yet I still listen to the whole thing, beginning to end, at least once a week. Why? Well, it is incredibly catchy. Most of the songs are a nice mix of punk and musicals. Catchy and, with enough variety that it’s not like listening to a Ramones version of a musical. If you have heard any NOFX song, you will recognize the song structure and melodies. From the first song till the last, musically, it keeps our attention and never bores. Some songs, are better than others, but musically it does not disappoint.
What is it about? This is the question and answer that will determine if you will enjoy this. The subject matter is very explicit. The first character we are introduced to is Sue, who in the very first song, is determined to run away from home. More specifically, run away from her father who, for the last 4 years, has been sexually abusing her. This song sets the stage for the rest of the album. This is not a musical for the easily offended or triggered.
When Sue runs away from home, she finds herself alone on the streets and meets a few punk kids who also live on the streets. We are introduced to them and their stories through songs. The most heartbreaking? The gay kid who was regularly abused by his older brothers (“Three Against Me”).
Most of the early songs are great character pieces. There are a few that deal with drugs and S&M (“Let’s Get Hurt,” “Safe Words,” “Bad Decision”). Another has to deal with Sue’s cutting habit (“Sleeping Beauty”). It is one of the few expressions of this common self-abuse, that actually elaborates the reason why someone would do that to themselves. Another deals with the gay kid and his older gay lover (“Bearly Legal”). Another song, which is kind of funny, deals with the street kids trying to convince Sue to do drugs (“High Achievers”).
“So, are you trying to tell me that if I do drugs it will make me smarter?” Sue asked.
“We’re not saying it will make you smarter… But, it might make you more interesting.”
The songs are explicit and perfectly in line with the story being told.
The central theme of this musical, if you haven’t guessed, is forming your own family. The family’s these kids were born into have failed and almost destroyed them. So, instead, they created their own family, with their own rules. This is a theme I always enjoy and works well here.
Is this for everyone? No. But, most of the things that I enjoy are not made for everyone.
My favorite song is the confrontation between Sue and her parents who, eventually, find her and want her to come back home with them (“I’m Suicide”).
If you enjoy punk. If you enjoy musicals. If you are like me and that sounds amazing, then “Home Street Home” will not disappoint.
Have you listened to this album? What did you think? Leave a comment below.
Thanks for reading.