I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
``If you're still free, start running away," Oberst instructed many minutes into the lilting waltz, and his advice seemed terrifyingly sound.
Finding a way to make an individual experience resonate universally has always been a worthy songwriter's stock in trade. At a moment when the value of one person's freedom has become relative to the national security, however, Oberst makes it his job to entirely erase the space between the personal and the political.
``One Foot in Front of the Other" was originally released on a Saddle Creek label compilation in 2003 and then re-recorded with Emmylou Harris (and renamed ``Land Locked Blues") for Bright Eyes' 2005 album ``I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning." The latter is a spare, haunted version. There's no buoyant piano, no gentle percussion to distract us from Oberst's troubled panorama, where romantic conflict and global conflict are woven into a single narrative. ``We made love on the living room floor/ With the noise in the background/ From a televised war/ And in that deafening pleasure I thought I heard someone say/ If we walk away, they'll walk away."
What an extraordinary image, and how apropos of a generation coming of age post-9/11. Danger is ever present, and the threat is so enmeshed in our daily lives that acts as intimate as lovemaking and brutal as warfare are fused -- and confused. They're no longer unrelated events that happen to be unfolding simultaneously, worlds apart; they're happening in the same room.
LP / CD / MP3
LP / CD / Deluxe CD / MP3