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Bright Eyes
I'm Wide Awake And It's Morning
by: Sun-J

At the young age of 24, Conor Oberst has already at least a dozen (perhaps even a bakers dozen) records released under his belt (not counting 'b-sides'). This year, he dropped two albums simultaneously on the same day. I'm Wide Awake And It's Morning, and Digital Ash In A Digital Urn. The latter is a record that Conor would not have been able to put out had he caved in to the lecherous luring of major labels. Saddle Creek allows Oberst to conform to his own radical ideas whenever he wants. Digital Ash In a Digital Urn is analogous to Benjamin Gibbard's experimental project, The Postal Service, however, Conor's trembling voice is not so confident over UK, 2-step experimental. However, the latter, I'm Wide Awake And It's Morning will be the subject of this review.

The album opens with "At The Bottom Of Everything" where Oberst begins with an eccentric story while sipping what seems to be an endless glass of water. It's very surreal to hear his voice tremble when he is talking. Nonetheless, the story sets a perfect mood for the morose album. Oberst begins to rhythm into the song which has a country- folk vibe to it. Oberst's lyrical writing from the beginning, is creative and pensive; "While my mother waters plants, my father loads his guns, he says death will give us back to god Just like this setting sun is returned to this lonesome ocean." "We Are Nowhere, And It's Now" is a very simple song, consisting of a subtle guitar rhythm, a fundamental drumbeat and a quiet piano loop. Emmylou Harris, whose vocals are all over the album, comes in. Her scratchy voice is a pleasant contrast to the trembling of Oberst, but this song is the one occasion, where her vocals are a bit overbearing. "Old Soul Song," continues with more subordinate instrumentation to the dominate trembling of Oberst's soothing tremors, and features some of the most honest, emotional lyrics of the album; "...and on the way home held your camera like a bible, just wishing so bad that it held some kind of truth..." The next song is an obvious standout track, "Lua." Conor opens up with quiet whisper-singing before amplifying his voice very slightly. This track is very vintage Bright Eyes as Oberst sings the gloomy lyrics we have grown to love; "...Iíve got a flask inside my pocket we can share it on the train, if you promise to stay conscious I will try and do the same, We might die from medication, but we sure killed all the pain..." "First Day Of My Life" has a very catchy tempo, a perfect segue way into the country tinged, upbeat instrumentation in "Another Travellin' Song." On this cut, Oberst takes some very subtle shots at the commercial driven music machine; "I dreamt a ship was sinking, there was people screaming all around And I awoke to my alarm clock, it was a pop song it was playing loud..." "Landlocked Blues" featuring Emmylou Harris is perhaps the best track on the album. Harris and Oberst's voice blend in perfect harmony as they gloss over passionate, political lyrics; "We made love on the living room floor, with the noise in background of a televised war..."

As a whole the album encompasses a country-folk feel at times, but mainly sticks to the usual Bright Eyes songwriting. The album as usual, is very sad, and if you are in a state of depression, I am sure Conor Oberst will be your best friend. To really enjoy the music, it is a must to grasp on to every word. Conor Oberst is only 24, but a lyrical genius. His metaphors are paradigm than poetic, and the vivid imagery transcending from his sentences are lucid enough to elevate your mood just enough.


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