Friday, February 20, 2009
I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
Connor Oberst, the singer/songwriter mastermind behind the band Bright Eyes celebrated his 29th birthday earlier this week. I took this not-so newsworthy information and used it as an excuse to blog about one of the best songwriters of our generation, so here we are!
A man that has been hailed as the "next Bob Dylan" (although I wouldn't go that far) has been writing some of the most unique and intriguing material for the past decade. The man who seems to eat, sleep, and breathe music has been in and out of bands since he was 13 years old. Acts that range from The Faint (Early years), Desparecidos, his solo projects, and his most notable musical vehicle, Bright Eyes, all bands have provided Oberst with the means of publishing his poetic lyrics and stories.
And where do I begin with Bright Eyes?
A band that functions as Oberst's respiratory system has made a name for itself chugging out some of the most thought out and lyrically dense songs that our generation has seen.
Often labeled as "emo," Oberst has made a reputation for himself showing his highest moments and then also his lowest throughout his career.
On 2002's LIFTED or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, Oberst puts a smile on the listener's face with such uplifting lyrics such as:
"And I came upon a doctor, who appeared in quite poor health, I said, 'There's nothing I can do for you, you can't do for yourself.' He said, 'Oh, yes you can, just hold my hand, I think that that would help.' So I sat with him a while and I asked him how he felt, he said, 'I think I'm cured, No, in fact I'm sure of it, Thank you stranger, For your therapeutic smile.'
But at the same time, Bright Eye's Finest hour, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning shows some of the most disturbing lyrics in "Poison Oak" when he confesses,
"The sound of loneliness, makes me happier."
Yes, the contrast in lyrics, moods, and emotions expressed in a Bright Eyes song have almost become synonymous with Oberst.
But is that necessarily a bad thing?
The music that Conor Oberst has made is not the bubble-gum pop you hear on the radio nor the catchy single you see on MTV. The lyrics might not always be pleasant and uplifting, but that's the way life is, and that's why Oberst has been so successful.
He ventures into a side of songwriting few artist's like to go, it's not the easiest route, but the emotional spectrum in a Bright Eyes album is what makes their music so meaningful and intriguing.
It almost sounds as an odd contradiction to say that in Oberst's deepest and darkest moments he puts together some of his best work, but that's just the way it is.