Reviews

Digital Ash in a Digital Urn

Author: Robert Loerzel
01/20/2005 | Evanston Review | Album Review
And then there's Conor Oberst, a troubled troubadour out of Omaha, who performs under the name Bright Eyes. Inspiring adulation among many (mostly young) fans and annoying many (mostly older) listeners, Oberst sings with an almost constant tremor, like he's shivering with emotion.
Bright Eyes is putting out two outstanding albums simultaneously on Tuesday, with folk and country-rock on "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" and electronic pop on "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn." A smart lyricist with a gift for subtle melody, Oberst achieves searing and soaring moments on the CDs.
Oberst, 24, has matured a bit, toning down the apocalyptic angst of previous albums and keeping that quaver in check, without surrendering his personality. In "Road to Joy," the last song on "Wide Awake," Oberst aptly sums up the appeal of all these imperfect vocalists:
"Well, I could have been a famous singer if I had someone else's voice, but failure's always sounded better."


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