Reviews

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

Author: Adam Graham
01/28/2005 | Detroit News | www.detnews.com | Album Review
Since the release of 2002's exhaustively titled "Lifted or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground," melodramatic Omaha, Neb., native Conor Oberst - the Bright and the Eyes of Bright Eyes - has been called everything from a whiny brat to the best songwriter of his generation. His overly tortured, preciously fragile delivery on his two new albums lends credence to the former argument. Oberst plays both country-sad ballad man on " I'm Wide Awake" and experimental auteur on "Digital Ash," each to varying results. The acoustic-based "I'm Wide Awake" is the safer, more obvious - and ultimately, the weaker - of the two albums, and on it, Oberst seems to lift from the better parts of "Lifted." Meanwhile, the more adventurous, electronica-tinged "Digital Ash" expands on Bright Eyes' folky sound, and songs such as "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)" and "Light Pollution" reflect an improved ear for melody over the sing-songy "I'm Wide Awake." GRADES: "Morning" B-; "Ash" B