Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews


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

09/12/2002 | Relevant Magazine | | Album Review
Conor Oberst is back to his roots. From the soul on the sleeve band Bright Eyes to the socially painful outfit Desaparecidos and back again, he's still capable of making our minds contemplate, our hearts ache and this time he's even managed to make us smile, well, almost.
With his seventh recording on the ever popular Omaha, Nebraska label Saddle Creek, Oberst, who is the tender age of 22, it's almost safe to say he's on his way to holding honors on those notorious lists of "next great singer/songwriter." Maybe it's his surrealistic ability of storytelling in his songs. Thoughts of a young Dylan may begin to formulate. Oberst has a track record of being that voice which rises above the systematic approach. The trademark: fundamental producing and unabbreviated rawness. The more you experience Oberst in any musical setting, the more you realize the music is almost more digestible through the soul rather than the ears.
With feelings of indecent proposals, a struggle for independence and perseverance, Lifted is layered with fluctuating ideologies. Is it true what I heard about the Son of God?/ Did he come to save/ did he come at all? And if I dried his feet with my dirty hands, would He make me clean again? Oberst contemplates the world's reasoning with religion, education and parenting in "Don't Know When But a Day is Gonna Come." With an eerie backdrop of strings and a delivery of a focused percussion section Oberst adds the distress when he bellows, could you please start explaining, you know I need some understanding.
But amongst the midst of the all too familiar anguish from Bright Eyes, it's the sixth track "Bowl of Oranges" that adds the hope we've all been praying for in Oberst. The piano adds the atmosphere of joy as Oberst reassures us with That's why I'm singing baby don't worry cause now I've got your back. And every time you feel like cryin' I'm gonna try and make you laugh.
Lifted has the sounds that make that indie/folk flavor so darn appealing. Heck, Bright Eyes has even managed to entwine a little two-steppin' sounds into the track "Make War."
With 73 minutes and 10 seconds, the album may be hard to swallow, but once you get it down, you'll appreciate the values and thoughts it conjures up.


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