Bright Eyes "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning"
What can I say that hasn't been said about this album before? Probably not much. In the month of January you couldn't pick up a music magazine or a New York magazine without Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes being mentioned. This is the album I've been waiting 2 years for, since their last great full length release "Lifted, or the story is in the soil, keep your ear to the ground." There are alot of the same common Bright Eyes themes through this album such as God, measuring time, drug use, language, but this album has alot more political references than any other Bright Eyes release- possibly due to his appearence on that anti-Bush tour with Bruce Springstien. (which probably boosted his popularity and acceptance into mainstream magazines).
Anyways, back to the album. To me, it's not like any other Bright Eyes album I have heard before- the music isn't as experimental as it is on say "Fevers and Mirrors" or "Lifted..". I hate to say the songs sound the same, because they don't, but this release has the most similar sounding songs than any of the other releases. Not to say it's bad, because it is different than other releases in that he has embraced alot of his Midwestern influences, ie country music. People who have sat in my car with me who have never heard Bright Eyes before keep asking me if this is a country album, and of course I say "No way, it's Bright Eyes son".
The album begins with "At the bottom of everything" and a classic Bright Eyes intro that is weird, this one consisting of Conor telling a story about a plane trip gone arry. "We are nowhere and it's now", track 2, features guest vocals by Emmylou Harris. Track number 3, "Old Soul Song (for the new world order)", is about an anti-war protest Conor attended in NYC. Track 4 "Lua" is about a junkie ex-girlfriend and it's the slowest song on the album, with just Conor and his acoustic guitar. "Another traveling song", track 7, is a ho-down, knee-slapping, jug-blowing, kiss yer sister, straight outta Omaha country song.... and I love it! "Land Locked Blues" is a very mellow song featuring Emmylou Harris again, and it has a great quote "If you're still free start running away, because we're coming for you"- this quote only being one of many Bush bashing lyrics on this album. Track 10, "Road to Joy" uses the same melody from that song "Ode to Joy"- at the end they put a little rock n roll to it too. "I could have been a famous singer if I had someone else's voice, but failure's always sounded better- let's fuck it up boys, make some noise!" When I saw Bright Eyes, they closed with this one and after that line they really did fuck shit up- drums were being thrown, guitars were spread across the floor, symbols were being smashed, it was a great experience.
With all of his references to God I am still unsure if he believes in God or everything he says is just to mock people of faith, I don't even know. Listen to the album, there a few references to religion and God, I can't even tell.
Also, I bought this and "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" at Vintage Vinyl the day before it came out and I recieved a limited pressing vinyl with new stuff on it, I think.. I haven't had a chance to listen to it.
Favorite tracks- 1- at the bottom of everything, 3- old soul song (for the new world order), 4- Lua, 6-first day of my life, 8- land locked blues ... but all of them are amazing. If you haven't head Bright Eyes ever before I'd say pick up "Fevors and Mirrors" or "Lifted..." before this one.
If you like Death Cab For Cutie, Johnny Cash, Rilo Kiley, or Cursive you'll like this album.
Conor Oberst has been called the greatest song-writer of our generation, and blah blah blah- there was so much riding on these 2 albums he released by all the mainstream media magazines that I don't think we'll be hearing from him for a while. I think Conor will just lay low until he's forgotten about and then he'll be free to make music without the fear of becomming the new savior of music- somehow I see him not wanting any of this attention he's been getting. He's still on Saddle-Creek, I'm sure he got lot's of offers and I'm glad he didn't accept them.