Reviews

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

Author: Ann Finstad
08/11/2006 | Luminomagazine.com | www.luminomagazine.com | Feature
The word "wunderkind" seems to get thrown about with reckless abandon these days, but in Conor Oberst's case, it's probably true. That's because the 24 year old behind the shifting indie conglomerate Bright Eyes started his recording career at the tender age of 13, putting out his first album while the rest of us were still figuring out how to tight roll our jeans.

Today, Oberst is considered the "king of indie rock" in many circles, his distinctive wavering and cracking voice providing an angst-filled soundtrack for a new generation.

Oberst's skinny frame, thrift store sweaters, and ode-to-Robert-Smith hair have influenced the style of thousands of hipsters, and the record label he co-founded, Saddle Creek Records, has brought bands such as The Faint, Cursive, and Rilo Kiley into the public eye. His side project, the politically minded rock outfit Desaparecidos, released an album in 2001. But it's the albums he puts out as Bright Eyes that keep our attention. The recent double release "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" and "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" garnered him his best reviews yet, especially the latter, in which he teamed with Emmylou Harris, producing haunting melodies with shattering lyrics.

Sometimes we worry that we may be getting a bit old for Oberst's brand of whiny angst. A recent jaunt to a Bright Eyes concert showed his popularity seems to be at a peak with screaming 16 year old girls, all of whom tote and quote "Fevers and Mirrors." But as we grow up, Oberst and his music mature too. After almost half a lifetime making music and decades still ahead of him, Conor Oberst is going to stay cool for at least a while longer.


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