Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews


Lifted or The Story is in the Soil....

Author: shawn trumbo
8/13/2002 | rocking the scene | | Album Review
Three years ago, if someone were to tell me that Bob Dylan was reincarnated into an angry heartbroken boy, I would have demanded homicide right there on the spot. One year ago, if another acoustic crybaby entered the scene, the urge for shotgun shells and battle-axes would be far from sufficient given the sudden urge of antagonism. One month ago, if I would have realized that Conor Oberst was about as far from Chris Carrabba as any merited musician can get, I would have given him a chance far sooner than I did. It should not be taken lightly that if I do hear Bright Eyes compared to Bob Dylan again, my own name will become synonymous with the words “insanity" and “rage."

Despite the ridiculously long album name, Lifted... stands justly as a cornerstone for modern singer/songwriting on any level; be it personal or social. Our friendly Omaha, Nebraska based boy finds 70 odd minutes to spit out heartfelt and heartbroken tunes and lyrics through a crackling and unsteady voice that only adds to the deep integrity of what seems to be a roughly produced album.

It should be noted that the melody of the songs on Lifted… does not necessarily relate to the music or the vocals, but more as an emotional projection that Conor manages to produce. The construction of the album gives the impression of a hastily made mix tape or cheaply recorded demo. Songs such as "Make War" and "False Advertising" are intentionally made to sound as if recorded live or behind a wall of distortion. The effect on such songs is done in such a way that only adds to the brutal effect of the appalling nature of Oberst's heart.

Bright Eyes seems to have a genre identity crisis. Taking cues from what seems to be songs fit for ballroom dancing and tunes that would fit in an angry country song, the tracks remain raw and almost to the point of divine in a sense of musical conviction. Opening with "The Big Picture," Bright Eyes toys with your patience in lapsing tunes and a struggling voice that seems to cry for motivation and reason. Still, you are left anxious and wondering what exactly it is that he's saying and how far he can take this suffering. Uplifting songs capture the more optimistic view of Conor in the tracks "Method Acting" and "Bowl of Oranges," while a more confessional side is brought out by such tunes as "Lover I Don't Have To Love."

I strongly stand by the conviction that the current music industry is in a strong demand of integrity and talent. In a world where great lyrics and musical insight is at a seeming standstill, Conor Oberst's Bright Eyes once again prevails as one of the current great singer/songwriters.