Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary (Cover Artwork)

Sunny Day Real Estate

Sunny Day Real Estate: DiaryDiary (1994)
Sub Pop Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: ChinatownChinatown
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I was shocked to discover that not a single Sunny Day Real Estate review had been posted on this website yet, seeing as how this band is regarded as one of the founders of emo. Rightfully so; Jeremy Enigk's unique vocal styling, the band's tight musicianship, and some purely gifted song-writing prop.
iTunes StoreAmazon

I was shocked to discover that not a single Sunny Day Real Estate review had been posted on this website yet, seeing as how this band is regarded as one of the founders of emo. Rightfully so; Jeremy Enigk's unique vocal styling, the band's tight musicianship, and some purely gifted song-writing propel their records far above the rather weak standards set by "emo bands" nowadays.

Their debut full-length Diary, according to most fans (including me), is SDRE's finest offering. At 52 minutes, it's longer than the disappointingly short LP2 that followed, and was written before Enigk turned Christian (which resulted in SDRE becoming an almost religious-sounding band).

Despite the fact that most of Enigk's lyrics on Diary are cryptic, they are delivered very movingly. Even if you can't really decipher their meaning, lines such as "the mirrors lie/those aren't my eyes", "gifts and garage", and "I climbed mountains for chairs" please the ear. Not many singers can write abstract lyrics without coming off as pretentious, but Enigk is one of those rare cases.

"Seven", the album's lone single, kicks things off in grand style. The song is fast and, though the chorus isn't as complex as some in the other tracks, it caters well to both picky scenesters and mainstream listeners.

"In Circles", by far the band's most popular song, follows up. Although quite slow, this tune shines because of an amazing display of vocal range, alternating from Enigk's warbles in the verses to a mesmerizing group chant of "I go/In circles!" in the chorus.

Tracks 3 to 9 follow through in much the same soft/heavy/slow/fast fashion, with the exception of 7, "Pheurton Skeurto", a short, creepy, piano-driven masterpiece that serves as a breather for the two hard-hitters that ensue, "Shadows" and "48".

Unfortunately, there is a blemish on this record: track 10, "Grendel". It takes only a few words to describe this mess: directionless, no verses, and a sparsely-used chorus buried under weird feedback. If they had added some verses and cleaned out the noise, or even dropped the song from the record altogether, then Diary would be absolutely perfect.

Still, things end on a high note with the closer, "Sometimes". The ending is absolutely classic: Enigk screams incoherently until the song's abrupt finish.

Overall the music is engaging and diverse, the vocals are incredible, the lyrics are profound, the liner-notes are filled with darkly hilarious illustrations and use a really neat letter font. Even the sticker on the CD is cool. This record is breathtaking. I don't throw around the term "classic" often, but Diary is just that.

Even if you think you can't tolerate any music classified as "emo", buy this record. I guarantee it will change your opinion about the genre (at least about the beginnings of the genre, anyway). It sounds nothing like the gutless crap being released by a large number of labels nowadays.


People who liked this also liked:
Alkaline Trio - GoddamnitJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyThe Get Up Kids - Something To Write Home AboutDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeJawbreaker - Dear YouThe Clash - London CallingRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeMinor Threat - Complete DiscographyAt The Drive-In - Relationship Of CommandOperation Ivy - Operation Ivy

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Mrdogg45 (December 14, 2006)

This, along with Rites of Spring, is THE definative emo album. A must have.

Anonymous (March 17, 2006)

Lol, what does being black or white have to do with the album quality?

blackhipster666 (March 8, 2006)

Simply One of the greatest records about life, inner feelings, thoughts and emotion ever made- a masterpiece whether your black-white etc.

Anonymous (January 8, 2006)

The album, as far as they go, wasn't bad. However, the only part that actually spoke to me was... "Grendel", which the reviewer seems to not understand. For you information, it is a clear reference to John Gardner's classic "Grendel", which gives a completely different view on the story of Beowulf. A beautiful, if somewhat disturbing, book... A tale of the hero, told through the monster's bioghraphy, and from his point of view.
Risking souning geeky... GO READ! It's a must.

thejewvolta (December 22, 2005)


Anonymous (November 24, 2005)

what book was it? http://www.los-angeles-casino.com/lanir/casino-directory-2005.htm l

Anonymous (November 8, 2005)

one of the best albums i have ever heard. i talked to the lead singer and he said Diary is based on Dungeons and Dragons

KeithyBoBeefy (March 30, 2005)

My friend reccommended I purchase this album. So I did. I listened to it on the car ride home and was thinking to myself, eh, it's ok I guess. I then went home and lsitened to i again and felt the same.

A few weeks later I picked up the cd again and put it into my stereo. I was amazed at how much more I appreciated it. The music just flows and the vocals are amazing.

Anonymous (December 7, 2004)

And look at you... Listening to Big D and the Kids Table... Listen buddy, if you honestly like the shitty music you listen to, more power to ya... But don't ever bash those who have a bit more musical depth thana 5 year old ska revival. Thanks.


BSD is so fucking lame its funny...HAHAHAHAHAA I can say the same about you and you're shitty taste in music but I don't give a rats ass about you.

Anonymous (June 12, 2004)

Most of the people who post on this thing are really assholes. Just because someone likes a different kind of music then you doesn't make that music suck. What's good for one person may not be good for another person. Now before I go into the 3's A Company theme song I'll discuss the album.

I recently picked up Diary on a recommendation from a friend. To be honest, it took a few listens to get into the album. It wasn't bad by any streth of the imagination, it just took awhile to get into. When I actually took the time to really listen and look into the lyrics, I was confused. The vocals are good, but sometimes the music and words are blended together and I cannot make out what he is saying. It doesn't help when everything is written like a riddle.

It was definately worth the money I spent on it, although not as good as I expected.

Anonymous (December 23, 2003)

What is the deal? It's like, everyone goes and sees if their favorite album is in the reviews and when they find out that it isn't, they act all shocked and write a review and give it four and a half stars so they can remain scene by not gushing and cumming all over it with five stars.

GreenVandal (December 23, 2003)

too bad that im the squirell master from half baked, and you just got ass whooped. (maybe in more ways then one)

Anonymous (December 22, 2003)

Sorry Vandal, you can't stab me. I'm fucking Adibisi from OZ. You are about to get fucked proper-like.

*Does Vandal Adibisi-style*

GreenVandal (December 22, 2003)

Its only internet violence. Its ok.

You hav been saying my name liike 4 times in a row alot, is this some sor of chant?

Anonymous (December 22, 2003)

violent pacification violent pacification
vandal vandal vandal vandal


GreenVandal (December 22, 2003)

::stabs that dude too::

Anonymous (December 22, 2003)

Hey you know what? This record is on Sub-Pop records. That is so interesting! There happens to be another band who put some records out on Sub Pop.


Go buy "Blood Guts And Pussy".....

go on

Okay, there. Good. Now listen to it. Better than this band, huh? Yeah I know! What the fuck is wrong with the rest of the world? Totally!

"Old Enough to Bleed, Old enough to Breed? Old enough to PEE, Then she's old enough for me!"

GreenVandal (December 21, 2003)

*stabs Janelle too*


GreenVandal (December 21, 2003)


Anonymous (December 20, 2003)

i'm not amused...

vandal - give it up already!

sk8punx4evr (December 19, 2003)

i hate punk so much. how's that for incendiary?

GreenVandal (December 19, 2003)

*stabs BSD in the face*

I really dont have a reason too...I either hate or dont give a rats ass about every band menioned in this thread so far. Well most anyway.

It was purely for revenge!

Anonymous (December 19, 2003)

AH HA! in yo' face bitch!

disclaimer - Janelle is delirious right now from her sickness.

Anonymous (December 19, 2003)

"to quote big d " the life of the perfect scenester" comes to mind Janelle"

And look at you... Listening to Big D and the Kids Table... Listen buddy, if you honestly like the shitty music you listen to, more power to ya... But don't ever bash those who have a bit more musical depth thana 5 year old ska revival. Thanks.


Anonymous (December 19, 2003)

Kids, this shit sucks. Go listen to all of the CDs I review and tell me this crap doesn't suck hard.


Anonymous (December 19, 2003)

Quite a long top ten list Janelle? Wouldn't it only be 10?
I guess there could be a lot of ties... Oh, and you didn't even mention the Clash...


Anonymous (December 19, 2003)

where do you guys get off calling sdre the first emo band? emo began in d.c. in the mid-'80s when a bunch of whiny punks with sticks up their asses listened to "zen arcade" one too many times and decided to make a scene out of imitating it. rites of spring, anybody? moss icon? the current trend of calling a bunch of passionless, watered-down indie dreck "emo" isn't even descended for sdre: christie front drive was the big influence in that department.

in any event, this album is boring.

Anonymous (December 19, 2003)

"just cause its called punknews doesn't mean we all have to like every old school punk band, and theres bands who deserve to be on that list more than some bands you mentioned, i.e. fugazi"

Ok ok Dignin - I was just listing OTHER crucial punk bands that HAVE been reviewed here already - ones that this guy said are covered and deserve to be on a "top ten" list.

cos I would have certainly put bands like D.O.A., MDC, and DISCHARGE on it too! - but then again, this would be quite a long list...

robertneumark (December 19, 2003)

id have to give it a 9.5
its not perfect but its so legendary that marks dont matter

Anonymous (December 18, 2003)

Conor couldnt kick the shit out of my 9 month old brother. Emo sucks ass, I would never shoot myself over emo. Nor over any other type of music. And I was wrong to say Bright Eyes kicks the shit out of this band. I was simply stating my opinion. This band blows, theyre nothing great, and I like Bright Eyes, i was compairing two emo bands that ive heard before and not satisfied by one of them. and fuck you for saying what you said, calling me ignoratant, your ignorant if you listen to this shit and boast about it. and I appreciate the one guy picking quicksand over this crying fest err 'great ablum'.

Punk rock isnt about crying, well I guess to our generation it is. Im so proud to be part of it. Thanks for ruining it, Fuckers.
Im glad to see a few posts about actuall punk bands.


dignin (December 18, 2003)

just cause its called punknews doesn't mean we all have to like every old school punk band, and theres bands who deserve to be on that list more than some bands you mentioned, i.e. fugazi

Anonymous (December 18, 2003)

yes how'd you know, friend?

like i said on another post, that's what it's all about: making sure i look good to you guys...

No, but really, it's just the music i like...nothing more...well, also that THAT'S punk.

Anonymous (December 18, 2003)

to quote big d " the life of the perfect scenester" comes to mind Janelle

Anonymous (December 18, 2003)

"One of the top 10 most important cds to the scene that this website covers"

Well if it is, then fuckin ones like GBH, TSOL, RAMONES, UK SUBS, DAMNED, CHAOS UK, SUBHUMANS, PARTISANS, SHAM 69, better be other ones in this idealistic top ten of yours...

it's called PUNKnews.org right? someone confirm this to save my sanity

Anonymous (December 18, 2003)

i like Bright Eyes too man, but saying this "he kicks the shit out SDRE" or whatever it was you said. Is so naive and ignorant that you'll probably shoot yourself when you realize your error.

Like this band or not, the path that they paved is unimaginable.

GreenVandal (December 17, 2003)

Bright Eyes makes me want to vomit into a bag, then drink it, only to vomit it up again as "Vomit 2.0: The Ultimate Groseness"

Fo Sheezy.

Never heard this band. Maybe someday I will. But nt now, im too busy playing mario kart.

notfeelingcreative (December 17, 2003)

Okay, quicksand it is!

Icapped2pac (December 17, 2003)

"I loved this record, but strangely, nothing they did afterwards impressed me much at all."

I agree 100%, Aubin. This album is pretty solid though, and opened me up to a new twist on the punk and post-hardcore I was listening to at the time.

Anonymous (December 17, 2003)

Uht OH!!! I own a Thrusday record, and I do NOT own this record. Dont have a muzzle or gun either. I will say this, Bright Eyes kicks the shit out of this band, but emo in general isnt to great. Listen to Quicksand or Skycamefalling.


Anonymous (December 17, 2003)

I've never really been a fan of this band but I gotta say I like the album cover

Kurt_F (December 17, 2003)

I too, enjoyed the Rising Tide.

Anonymous (December 17, 2003)

One of the top 10 most important cds to the scene that this website covers. Thank you for putting a review up.

Anonymous (December 17, 2003)

Anyone one of you who owns a Thursday record and DOESN'T own this record need to sit up in your chair, put the muzzle in your mouth, and pull the trigger.

The band pretty much destroys every other "emo" band out there.

notfeelingcreative (December 17, 2003)

I bought this album when it first came out because being on subpop I expected it to contain seattle esque metalrock like Mudhoney, Tad, or the Fastbacks, it didn't, so I hated it for three years before I gave it another chance, it grew on me!

dignin (December 16, 2003)

the shins is goood.

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

So, what, you can't write reviews on certain bands now?

Next reviews to come:

-Tom Waits
-The Shins
-NUFAN (Leche Con Carne! or Don't Miss the Train, I haven't decided yet)

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

there's a lot of religious imagery used in the lyrics on "diary". it's about as overt as it is throughout the rest of the sdre/enigk/fire theft stuff (e.g. not at all). what this has to do with anything regarding this album is entirely beyond me.


i highly doubt that anyone who truly loves this album enough to talk about it wants to put it in an open forum of this nature (or any nature, really). it's rather a personal thing, don't you think?


Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

most overated album then.

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

Who influcened this shit? Seriously. Cute art. =)

Heres to tattoos of 'Mom'

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

How can they be the most overrated band ever if the majority of people here are saying they only have one album (out of what, four or five) worth owning?

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

This is one of my favorite albums of all time. I really can't understand how it is "overrated." Some may freak out if I say this, but this album reminds me alot of radiohead and modest mouse. It is inventive and original, and pretty much just kicks ass. It is too good for a label like "emo" or any other label for that matter. I like the back to the future reference.

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

possibly the most overrated band ever

aubin (December 16, 2003)

I loved this record, but strangely, nothing they did afterwards impressed me much at all. It seemed like Jeremy's voice changed between Diary and LP2, and it always bugged me a little.

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

Nobody reviewed this 'til now, I suspect, because it's one of those albums that is so influential that it deserves better than an on-line review is really capable of giving it.

Which makes me wonder: what gives YOU the right to review Sunny Day?

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

Holy shit, I can't believe I referred to "Sometimes" as "Something". My mistake!


Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

i would love to see someone give this a bad review.

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

Anyone remember when kids kept choking on Weeblos? Bahahahahaha.

(yeah, I'm a prick)

stratmanx (December 16, 2003)

Nice one, for some reason I thought you were gonna make an analogy that if you had a Delorean with a flux capacitor then owning a normal delorean wouldn't be the same much like how if you heard SDRE and then someone else, you couldn't listen to that someone else. Good point though, they brought upon a shitstorm of whinyness.

As for Diary, their best album, I think I'm the only one who enjoyed The Rising Tide though...I will agree it is waaaaaaaay preachy and kinda overproduced but still good.

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

Good album but overrated. The pink album is ten times better. Deck.


Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

I used to love this band. But now I hate them for all the shitty emo bands they have inspired. Stupid, I know, but if I had a Dolorean with a flux-capaciter, I would take a bunch of these shitty emo bands'albums back to 1994, let SDRA listen to them, and then help them destroy their instruments for the common good of the universe.


matt81 (December 16, 2003)

excellent, excellent release. i think this might have been the first vinyl record i have ever bought. i remember putting it on as i was going to bed sophmore year in high school and falling asleep while listening to it. good times. and just to be a picky asshole, i think the closer is called "sometimes".

i-type-poorly (December 16, 2003)

i love SDRE, but i think this album is way overrated. Some good tunes but for the most part I think it's too droning and formless. It seems like they were better when they just focused on one craft on each album. Pink was great because it was so technical, How it Feels had the best melodies, and while most people don't like The Rising Tide has the best songwriting.

maverick (December 16, 2003)

I went totally ass-backwards with this band. The first thing I ever got was How It Feels To Be Something On on vinyl [which has one of the best opening songs ever], then I got LP2 used, then I finally picked this up used a year or so ago. I remember listening and being like "man, this sounds like every band from the past 5 years" before realizing that this album inspired all those bands.

Going back in time musically is weird.


Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

I've found that Mineral's Power of Failing is much more likely to change a person's mind on the whole indie/emo thing. Most people who hate that sound love that album. In fact, I've yet to meet someone who doesn't.

But anyway, yes. The only SDRE album really worth owning.

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

a diary review? shit was i sucked into a high school time warp today?!?!

all joking aside this is a great album and in my opinion the only sunny day album worth owning.

it's too bad they started the trend of emo kids crying at concerts. wahh.

flummo (December 16, 2003)

That album art makes me happy

funkisdead (December 16, 2003)

i was going to review this next. bummer.

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

yep, classic album. good review
sometimes you gotta be in the mood for his vocals though. at least they're better on diary and lp2 than the later releases.

Anonymous (December 16, 2003)

Thanks a lot for fixing up my review, guys. I finally figured out how to seperate it into paragraphs, and I promise the next one will be set to post upon its arrival.

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go