Suppose one wanted to give “Welcome Home” a low mark – what actual grounds would one have for saying it’s a bad record? It’s a catchy, memorable, uptempo song, delivered in a friendly and honest way. It’s sentimental, but a level of sentimentality is almost inevitable when you’re trying to communicate big emotions in a small song. Certainly its sense of calm and relief doesn’t transmit as phoney.
But I don’t want to listen to it again, either – I can make myself empathise with it but that doesn’t come naturally. It’s not an exciting record. It doesn’t want to be, so this is another unfair criticism, but one which gets closer to the contentedly huge gap between what “Welcome Home” offers and what I want. Pop music needs to agitate me somehow, contain questions or conflicts, provoke reactions (physical ones are fine!), build imaginative worlds - but “Welcome Home” is all resolution, a happy ending without a story to lead me to it. In the end I can’t respond to it, not because it’s bad, or poorly crafted, but because it feels too complete. Maybe later.