28 October, 2007, 1032 pm
Filed under: Music

I miss the old Bright Eyes. Pre-Cassadaga. As much as I like “Cleanse Song” and “Coat Check Dream Song” and “Lime Tree,” I can’t really say that about the other tracks. “Four Winds” made it to the radio, but it doesn’t really do anything for my moods. It’s kind of like, “Oh, fiddle. Political statement. Yeah, wow. Nice job, Mr. Oberst.” I feel bad for not giving him the room to grow up as an artist and not supporting him even though he’s sort of selling out (that’s to say, I should support him through anything), but hey! Commander Venus fans probably felt the same when he went to Park Ave (even though that’s possibly his least famed project, and I was only about 5 when both happened). And Park Ave fans probably felt the same when he started Bright Eyes. And those Bright Eyes fans probably felt the same after the first album. And maybe some of them even felt sad when he started Desaparecidos. I might get used to it, but this is such a huge leap. It’s like he could take a crap and mold it into a CD shape and some fans would still buy it for twenty bucks at Barnes & Noble, or even forty-some if it came with a special case. I love Commander Venus and Bright Eyes and Desaparecidos, but Cassadaga was a real letdown. Like a crying-while-balled-up-in-fetal-position letdown. Even more of a letdown than Rilo Kiley’s Under the Blacklight, where I could find something positive about most of the songs, and far more of a letdown than the Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible, which was just a grower (AND POSSIBLY THE BEST ALBUM OF 2007!).

Conor Oberst

I listened to Lifted all the way through for the first time in a long time, a sort of two-year anniversary, and it was incredible. I mean, that’s what won me over, and it’s a damn good thing that Erika lent me that one and not Digital Ash or I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning. It just had to be Lifted. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been interested. It’s the fact that the story carries through, and the interesting idea for the booklet and the love and lack thereof, and Maria Taylor and Jenny Lewis and all the orchestral instruments. That was all new to me. It was gritty, but it prepared me for a full introduction to indie.

And that is why I have so many artists in my music library now. Music nerd/indie fascist, as I’ve been called. Jokingly, I hope.


3 Comments so far
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Hmm. I initially started on Bright Eyes with Fevers and Mirrors…which is a terrible introduction to Bright Eyes. I didn’t like it all that much at first, but then I got my paws on “Lifted” and that did it for me as well.
I guess the reason why I like “Cassadaga” so much is because I saw Bright Eyes perform most of it live; a.k.a I got to hear Conor shout things like “This song is a bad dream!” before launcing into “Four Winds,” and the like. (I was wearing huge shiny silver earrings in the second row; they kept reflecting the light of the stage and Conor kept looking at me. I fuckin’ love those earrings.) They also did “Coat Check Dream Song,” and some older stuff, which made me pretty happy. …Damn, that was a good show. He also played Lua as a duet with the wonderful Gillian Welch (you should check her out, if you don’t know who she is…country-ish, but quite good), and it pretty much made my entire life. But yes. I think I’m a Bright Eyes fan for life; Conor could marry Tara Reid and become best pals with Kid Rock and I’d still probably worship the ground he walked on. (That may be a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.)

Comment by Kate Flynn

I think that the tendency to feel such a personal attachment to the artist rather than the music is something that gradually fades. you get hurt during those first few times — the miss steps shake the relationship that you’ve built with the voice you hear and you begin to doubt the agency of the person who makes the records. like, what were they thinking? how could someone who made something so dear to me suddenly, well, fail? that’s not to say that your sense of personal investment in the music disappears. unless you get bored of music, I guess. which you don’t, not when you care so much for it.

it’s my experience that over time what you remember is the art and not the artist. that’s the beauty of a record which means something to you. I know I’m not going to get another source tags and codes, but at least I have the original.

so, yeah. cassadega is a disappointing album. that’s undeniable. I think that conor’s got a blood in the tracks left in him though. and fuck yeah, neon bible is a grower.

Comment by Allan

Astonishingly enough, I agree with you and your fellow commentors.

It’s like a relationship, when you become so close to an artist through their music, paintings, books, etc. you’re going to notice that as time goes on, their styles are prospering into something that wasn’t there at the beginning. You either embrace the difference or you come to the earth-shattering realization that what you felt so connected to isn’t there anymore.

“Lua” has always been that one song for me. I felt like that song was written for me and anyone who liked this song couldn’t be half as bad as I originally thought–and maybe worth talking to, as biased as that sounds, it’s true. That song is always going to be there, whether Conor goes back to that or not.

I think that must mean something, and I still love him for it.

Comment by cherishaleen

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