“Migrant Returned” Album by The Dear Hunter

There are loads of bands in the world who, at some point in their careers, decide they’re going to put out a high concept album rather than a straightforward collection of songs. However, for The Dear Hunter — one of my all-time favorite groups — concept albums are the norm, not the exception.

For their 2013 album Migrant (the band’s fifth studio release), vocalist and songwriter Casey Crescenzo went in a less grandiose direction, opting instead for a more introspective and soul-baringly honest album spoken from his own personal perspective. Several of the songs on it are favorites of mine that I often sing along with to this day.

You can imagine, then, how excited I was to hear about a total reimagining of Migrant that released a month ago, titled Migrant Returned.

The album I fell in love with a decade ago got a fresh coat of paint, with all the songs remastered/rearranged/remixed in some way, along with a new track order that now includes six bonus tracks previously released as The Migrations Annex: “Dig Your Own Grave,” “Old Demons” (now listed as “Older Demons”), “The Love,” “Middle Ground,” “Like Crazy,” and “Owls”.

“It is, without a doubt, the original recordings. The performances are exactly the same as the original, they’ve just made changes to the arrangements and remixed it to their liking, bringing up some parts that were more buried in the mix previously, but definitely not re-recorded.”

u/TheGimpAndTheFeast, Reddit

As with any album reprise, there are changes that longtime fans will either love or disagree with — a removed intro or string section here, a change in melody or guitar tone there — but overall this feels like a release the band is much happier with, and that counts for something. I know I’m hearing layers in the songs that were probably there the whole time but feel totally new.

Redditor u/crazy_cat_lord wrote a list of comparisons between each of the Returned songs and their original versions from Migrant and Annex, which I think is worth a read whether or not you were a fan of the original album or TDH in general.

Here’s the full Migrant Returned track list, with 🌟s to denote my personal favorites:

# Track name Standout tracks
1. “An Escape”
2. “Girl”
3. “Let Go”
4. “Kiss of Life”
5. “Sweet Naiveté” 🌟
6. “Whisper” 🌟
7. “Shame” 🌟
8. “This Vicious Place”
9. “Middle Ground” 🌟
10. “Bring You Down” 🌟
11. “Like Crazy”
12. “Shouting At The Rain” 🌟
13. “Cycles”
14. “Dig Your Own Grave”
15. “Don’t Look Back” 🌟
16. “Owls”
17. “Older Demons” 🌟
18. “The Love”

Get the album in these places: