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  • Diary
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2002
You may already know this is considered a classic of the nineties, a cornerstone of the emo movement, and the best work of the band's career by many. What gets me, however, is how few people that have recently jumped on the emo bandwagon have never even heard of Sunny Day. This isn't poppy, the lyrics don't sound like high school love letters, and there's a lot of classic rock influence, but you cannot deny the way this album shaped emo today. Importance aside, just look at some of the amazing songs on here. "Seven" is the perfect opener, with tons of energy and a bit of a Rush feel to it. "In Circles" is next, a song that layed the groundwork for bands like Mineral and Appleseed Cast. "Song About An Angel" is my personal favorite. Like most of the songs on this album, it develops slowly, and takes time to be digested. "Diary" is best when listened to alone late at night, with time to read into the lyrics and take in all the nuances. Guitar and bass interplay is beautiful, and the drumming is very creative. I highly recommend everyone check this album out.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2005
I like Weezer; don't get me wrong. They're clever, distinguished, joyful, nerdy, and smart. I've enjoyed their albums (especially "Pinkerton") for years now and I think they deserve much of the credit they get from critics. But why does no one point to SDRE's "Diary" as at least HELPING to catalyze a movement that would later become the end of the 90's to 2000's resurgent indie/emo scene? Fans, critics, and fellow musicians all pointed to Weezer's influence as the reason for a more introspective, lovelorn style in rock music. Very few name-drop SDRE or "Diary."

This confuses me a little. The album may be more diffiult than "The Blue Album," but usually critics thrive on obscurity. Think of obtuse records of recent praise - Arcade Fire's "Funeral," Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," Walkmen's "Bows + Arrows" - and tell me music magazines weren't clamoring to be "the first" to celebrate their originality. My conclusion is "diary" was ahead of its time. At least the blue album had connections to accesible music; the Pixies' intensity, Beatles/Beach Boys melody, guitar stylings of KISS. SDRE were much more humble.

The music is fantastic. Rock Operas are said to take its listeners on a journey through a story. "Diary" takes the listeners on a journey through emotion, the very definition of Emo. Floating effortlessly via atmospheric guitar work and solid rhythm, the debut touches on obscure ballads, piano, and darkness, but stays mainly in the signature electric guitar/scream-sing/painful-love-lyrics bread and butter of the genre. "In Circles" of course became the SDRE theme song, but in 94 it spoke to thousands of mid-west teens confused by love. It remains one of the most powerful singles of the 90's, and the album is one of the greatest debuts in alternative music history.

Overall: 8 out of 10.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2004
Really great stuff here. Poetic, passionate, and perfect (well, near-so, it seems).
I never really got into the alternative scene much, and even less into the EMO shindig. From what I've read here, Sunny Day Real Estate seemed to practically form the genre with Diary, and I must say that I am hardly disinclined to agree with that statement, based solely on the pure quality of the music here.
What's most surprising about Diary to me is how unbelievably raw, and, yes, EMOtional this music is. It doesn't sound fake, pretentious, or whiny. It sounds very heartfelt, lyrical, and even spiritual. The instrumentation is edgy and distinct, and the lyrics and vocals are truly creative and captivating. In fact, I think the lyrics here match those of virtually any band I've heard throughout the course of the 90's...
I think, really, though, this album is so profound because of the aura it gives off, as the intricate and inspired guitar work and excellent drumming perfectly matches the lead singer's heavy-laden lyrics and meaningful messages. Very rarely do you see such a perfect meshing of music and lyrics. It's like... GOOD religious music! Imagine that. (Also interesting is the lead singer eventually becoming a Christian, which didn't come as a huge surprise when listening to the lyrics here.)
My personal favorites on the album are probably the unbelievable "Song About an Angel", which is about as passionate as music gets, the beautiful and driving "Seven" ("You'll taste it... In time"), the poetic and sincere "Circles", and the brilliant, mostly instrumental "Grendal", which is utterly fascinating.
Bottom line, get this one if you like good music.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2000
Diary was released back in 1994, so now in 2000 is a fairly appropriate time to call this the greatest record ever produced in the history of rock music. I know you'll disagree with me, but with one listen to this, you'll be swept off your feet and see what I mean. The music is kind of midwestern-y, typical of emo music, but it is also darker, at least at the time this was released. No one should be without this quite pleasing piece of plastic and joy, no one. This here is what basically sparked the whole "emo" explosion in the states today.
Yes the cover art is very cunning, and it does draw you in from the start. But underneath the mysterious images on the front (these are quite ingenious), you get a tunnel to another world filled with wonderful melodies and highly emotional vocals. As with many other emo CDs, you get the feeling that Jeremy Eingk is very depressed throughout the verses. Then after a brief silence, or a drumbeat that gets louder and louder, they explod into a huge, euphoric chorus. Sunny Day Real Estate write some of the greatest lyrics known to man, including my favorite and the already mentioned "the rain was there to wash away my tears." Melodic guitars and sonic drum beats fill the record, while Jeremy's angst-ridden vocal soars above the music.
In all of their twisted brilliance, Sunny Day Real Estate are great at finding a melody and making it heavy, as demonstrated in the wonderfully titled "The Blankets Were The Stairs." Easy to listen to, Diary is exactly what you're looking for, and a great thing to purchase from the wonderful store that is Amazon. If you want more proof about this record's greatness, find MP3s of "In Circles", "The Blankets Were The Stairs", "Seven", or "Shadows", for these are songs of great brilliance and deserve a listen from you. Please don't hesitate to contact me via email for any more questions.
If you don't like this you are one of the following A. completely insane, B. someone who just can't get into it, or C. someone who doesn't understand what Jeremy is singing about. If you're either B or C, read the lyrics, they'll help. Either that, or listen to it again, after a while, you'll catch on. If you're letter A, well're completely insane. Similar bands include Fugazi, Burning Airlines, Pedro The Lion, or Noise Ratchet (check them out on ..., incredibly talented musicians).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2004
This is by far the greatest album by this band and one of the greatest (if not the greatest) emo albums of all time. When I use the term "emo", I use it kind of liberally because, if you define it as music with emotion, all music is emo. But, when it comes to rock, this album is the closest thing I've found to communicating sadness in a poetic, talented and very delicate way.

Seven (5/5)- My favorite Sunny Day song. Ironically, one of the only rocked-out songs by them.

In Circles (4/5)- Not many lyrics but what's said counts. Good breakdown as well.

Song About an Angel (5/5)- Excellent song. Great Lyrics. Romantically sad.

Round (3/5)- One of the weaker songs. Great intro though.

47 (4/5)- Really good song. Good lyrics again.

Blankets were the Stairs (2/5)- Most annoyingly emo song on the album. With time you get used to it but still... it sucks haha.

Pheurton Skeurto (4/5)- Cool little piano song with very interesting lyrics and a nice feeling.

Shadows (4/5)- Really good song with cool distorted slide effects on the guitar during the bridge.

48 (4/5)- One of the most beautiful songs on the album but, as soon as you're fully content inside the flowing first verse, the chorus kicks in and calls you a pitiful boy. Chills.

Grendel (4/5)- Very relaxing near-instrumental. The title is the exact opposite of the song.

Sometimes (5/5)- No words to explain...

The thing that amazes me about this band is their ability to lay the vocals on top of the music in such an awkward way and have it make perfect sense. It's one of those instances where something seemingly abstract on the surface actually has incredible meaning. When I first listened to these guys, it was that abstractness that kind of turned me off. Yet, the more I listened to the really good songs, the more I couldn't deny that these guys are not only excellent musicians, but artists.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2005
Sunny Day Real Estate, in a matter of hours, became my favourite band. I first set ears on Song About An Angel in October, this year, and never looked back. I had to listen to more, and I did. Now, the band is emo. To some people, you may already be cringing and blocking your ears, but wait! Don't think about the new bands. Forget about Hawthorne Heights or Avenged Sevenfold. Sunny Day Real Estate is NOTHING like them. This was emo before the genre became the cash-in we know of these days. I assure you, there is a Sunny Day song for you, be it the highlight of Diary (Song About An Angel), the simple delight of LP2 (Red Elephant) or the innocenct beauty of The Rising Tide (Rain Song.) If you're unsure about the band, I suggest downloading the songs I mentioned above for a test drive. I consider myself lucky to have found out about this band early on in my life.

Side Note: The album art is something I adore. The pictures are very grotesque, and makes me a bit uncomfortable when I look at it. There are pictures of Lego-esque people, all with an eerie grin on their face, all in these horrible situations. For example, there is one picture of a married couple on a bed. They are leaning far away from each other,and one expects that their is no more love in their relationship. The thing about it is that they have the false creepy grins. It makes me think a lot.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2005
A lot of people try to deny that SDRE are Emo, but come on guys let's face it, they are. Yes, they are Emo (at least their first two albums anyway) but they are damn good Emo. These are the guys who established the lines of norm for all of the crappy carbon copys (who for the most part probably don't even realize they're copying, at least not from SDRE) running around on main stream radio use these days. Diary is an amazing album (LP2 is even better) and I would highly recommend it to anyone. This is TRUE Emo. This is Emo when it meant something. This is a band who were intense, emotional, creative, influential, and unfortunatly, like most of the more talented bands throughout music history, entirely under rated and unknown. If you like great music, or if your into the "Emo" floating around today and want to get a taste of the real stuff. Do yourself a favor and buy this album, you wont regret it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2000
When I first purchased Diary by Sunny Day Real Estate, I didn't expect it to become an album that I'd rate a 10 out of 10. But after putting the CD in my player and listening again and again, I was blown away. This band is completely original and unique. Although they've been catagorized as Emo, you still can't seem to put a label on these guys. They're sound is all their own. The musicianship and songwriting on Diary is amazing, and Jeremy puts his heart and soul into his vocals. The lyrics are very poetic and the music never lets up. Favorites of mine include "Seven," "In Circles," "Song About An Angel," "47," and the very trippy "Grendel." But every track here is noteworthy. If you're bored with the sudden invasion of rock by boring pseudo-punk bands and tired rap/metal acts, take a trip back to 1994 and listen to Diary. You won't regret it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2006
in circles.

meet me there, in the blue

where words are not and feeling

remains. sincerity

trust in me to throw myself into your door

i go in circles running down

i dream to heal your wounds

but i bleed myself

one of my favorite qualities in music today is the songwriting aspect. the way words may be vague, direct and so powerful that it can touch you without even the slightest movement. back when i was 17, my friends petrina, musicman and i would take the best road trips to nowhere, usa taking turns driving just following long roads with no particular direction in mind wanting to get lost and somehow finding our silent ways by listening loudly to music. along with the favorites of joseph arthur and nick drake, one band we always loved was sunny day real estate. the first time i heard jeremy enigk's lyrics it was obvious that they were meant to be read like poetry pushing emotions and opening up your mind to a place where feeling actually is alive. through exploding guitars and travelling bass lines, i was always left in such amazement how their ability to lay emotional vocals on top of beautiful noise could make such perfect sense.

formed in 1992 sunny day real estate were a wonderful quartet out of seattle taking the lead of a new fixation sharing distorted musical tales portraying colorful in depth honesty. throughout their on again/off again years, sdre went through times of being against no interviews, no press and no shows in california. together they created 4 albums and 2 eps drawing them the love of emotionally inspired fans everywhere.

during sdre's first breakup in 1996, jeremy enigk went through a spiritual re-awakening warming his voice within the beauty of acoustic and orchestral textures for his solo debut return of the frog queen. through soft undertones of the late 60s, his music gave a no-way-of-escaping magical carpet ride adventure where mischevious roads twist and turns are unexpected. inside dark worlds of despair, imagined love and longing connected towards gold glimmers of hope, jeremy proved he had absolutely no boundries.

in 2002, the fire theft was formed reuniting jeremy with 2 of the former members of sdre. together they strongly believed in creating something unlike anything else they had ever done before bringing the warmth of a real orchestra, electric guitar solos and the addition of keyboards. deep and original in structure, breathing in the spaces between notes.. the fire theft released their first self-titled album in 2003 and gave epic heartfelt mind-blowing live performances to new and old fans alike all over the world.

currently, jeremy enigk has just finished work on a new solo record and will be touring during the summer/fall of 2006. for the last 14 years, there have been true moments of change inside the circles of jeremy's mind. throughout creativity, he has let imagination run wild forever holding on to what has always been his redeeming quality, his words. going back, listening to the music of everything all over again.. the way it intensely drives straight to your heart without stopping is still just the same. thats what i remember and thats what i still love.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2005
The history of the genre emo is a lengthy and constant changing one. Once derived from punk rock, as we had entered the 90's, we had saw it take a much drastic change. Not that the genre was to completely change, but that it would break off into sub-gebres. One of the sub-genres was labeled emo-indie (although this label came later on). The main band to really make this happen was Sunny Day Real Estate. This very famous but at the same time unknown album, simply titled Diary, has helped pave the way for many bands alike and not alike. It would be a bold statement to say that this album is one of the most important albums of the emo genre, but it is generally a logical statement. This album has not only made a huge difference to a genre, but has made a huge difference to from the cool November night when I had first purchased.

Diary is a straight forward album filled with melodies and pain. Those are the two apparent things when first listened to it. Many of the songs are upbeat, but there are also the songs that have a tragic slow feel. While it does have a huge emo influence, someone who is uneducated to the genre could easily classify this as a grunge type album. That is a lot to say, because it does not have a lot of elements, but there are some. The songs are constantly going up and down. From soothing, memorable melodies to almost heavy sounding choruses. Rarely, a bass player makes little difference on an album, or not one that is apparent. This is not the case for bassist Nate Mendel (who is currently in the Foo Fighters). With his technical but beautiful basslines, it helps make Diary what it is. With the bass and the guitars working together to make very beautiful melodies, singer Jeremy Enigk sings over these guitars, often seeming off key, to make the passion on this album step up a little bit. He is obviously an amazing vocalist, and Diary is able to tell you that. The music on this album is really what emo is all about, though it sometimes shows sort of a grunge / punk turn, they keep it true to themselves and what they are focusing on. It was probably not intended to make this an emo album, but with the emotion poured into the music and vocals, it is almost unavoidable.

Lyrically, Diary is a rare gem. The lyrics on this album are very beautiful. They are sometimes vague, sometimes obvious, and sometimes just so powerful, that it becomes too much. It is obvious that the lyrics are suppose to be a keyfactor in this album. These lyrics will touch your emotions in a way you never thought possible. I know for myself that I can relate with a lot of what Jeremy speaks throughout the songs. The lyrics sometimes surpass the beautiful music, making it more intense and more memorable than thought possible.

As said earlier, Diary is filled with different speeds, tempos and ideas. The very genius opener entitled Seven kicks off the album on a fast note, with a very catchy chorus. From the second that song starts, it is obvious that this album will be something unforgettable. After Seven comes the song that Sunny Day Real Estate is best known for, entitled In Circles. This song also happens to be one of the best tracks (in my opinion) on Diary. The guitar is unforgettable and beautiful, while the lyrics sore and bring you to your knees. Song About An Angel is the longest song on the album, and also a very beautiful yet haunting song. Genius lyrics between a man and an angel, with amazing results. This is only a few examples of differences on the album, as you proceed through the rest of it, it's nothing but pleasant suprises up until the fitting closing track entitled Sometimes, which for a last track, sums up the album in one song. Diary is just shy of an hour, but it is also one of the most emotional albums you can listen to without persistingly getting bored. Tragic lyrics, hope until a dramtic ending, Diary has it all, and touches every emotion and every feeling one may have.

Easily one of the most important albums of the emo genre, and of the 90s, Diary will make memories that will bring you nothing but sorrow, yet triumph. This album could almost be considered a therapy for a broken heart. I know that this album has got me through some tough times, thus becoming the soundtrack of my teenage years. I am sure I am not the only one who has had this happened also. A staple and mark on to emotional music, this is not an album that should be looked past. Diary is an album that you will always remember, and will remain one of the greatest things you ever convinced yourself to listen to.
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