The People's Key
Author: Ryan Burleson
3/17/11 | Nashville Scene | www.nashvillescene.com | Live Show Preview
Bright Eyes' first album in four years, The People's Key, has been criticized for being too obsessed with the intangibles of spirituality and too light on the personal narratives that made leading man Conor Oberst so endearing early in his career. True, the album's use of psychedelic, Rastafarian imagery makes it a more challenging listen than, say, I'm Wide Awake It's Morning. But to toss it aside because the mere suggestion of science fiction feels too bizarre is a disservice to Oberst's ability to universalize even the most obtuse concepts. At the heart of his fascination with the unknown ? whether he's riffing on angels or aliens ? is the same timeless concern that has galvanized artists, writers and activists for centuries: Evil is real and widespread, and only in the context of community can this concern be addressed. The record is extraordinary, to be sure, but so still is Bright Eyes' ability to stoke fire with song.