Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews


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

Author: jericho
08/13/2002 | The Delhi Conspiracy | | Album Review
they ate every letter in the alphabet and still had an appetite. (those are the words printed below a drawing in the story book liner notes for lifted) twenty-two year old conor oberst has done just that, only he's spitting that alphabet out of his mouth through his very own imaginative storytelling as he sings and
strums with some of omaha's most talented musicians for over seventy-three minutes. sounds tiresome, i know, especially to most anyone and everyone who's familiar with oberst's seven year career as the mastermind behind bright eyes. i myself am a huge fan and admirer of oberst's art but its inevitable not to
admit some of his past work has come off as a bit of an overkill or even tantrumish at times. it's been more a joy, at times, then a burden to listen to oberst paint imagery with his clever poetry, and for a guy who formed bright eyes at the tender age of sixteen i've found it rather easy to cut him some slack. bottom line is this. lifted or the story is in the soil, keep you ear
to the ground is a truly amazing and genuinely compelling record. the records seven minute opener "the big picture" offers a distant jangly guitar line, an almost a cappella movement sparked up by oberst's wavering vocals. with lifted oberst has found a way to provide such a balance in his onslaught of orchestrated arrangements which are backed by strings, horns, bells, choirs, pianos, organs, banjo, mandolin, etc. etc. the third track "false advertising" has come to be one of my favorites. an almost waltz like piece that remains constant and fixed until a purposeful
mistake is made as the song stops on the vocal line "mistakes." the song then remains the same, shifting back to that playful rhythm till the end. some other sounds of excellence are the hypnotic "lover i don't have to love," the somber western prophecy "don't know when but a day is gonna come," and the lightly textured "nothing gets crossed out." oberst sweeps it
all up dust and all on the albums closer "let's not shit ourselves (to love and to be loved). a country ballad, a sincere and truthful mess of words, when oberst sings, "i do not read the reviews, No, i am not singing for you." this is convincing as hell. moreover, his honesty and grasp on present day is revealed towards the end, "i should stop pointing fingers: reserve my judgment of all those public action figures, the cowboy president so loud behind the bullhorn, so proud they can't admit when they have made a mistake. while poison ink spews from a speechwriter's pen, he knows that he don't have to say it, so it don't bother him. 'honesty' 'accuracy' are really just 'popular opinion'. and the approval rating is high, so someone is going to die. abc, nbc, cbs: bullshit. they give us fact of fiction? i guess an
even split. and each new act of war is tonight's entertainment. we are still the pawns in their game." as he goes on singing, "i got the blues! i got the blues! that's me! that's me!" the song comes to a close with oberst's watered down hope, "to love and to
be loved, let's just hope that is enough." every moment on lifted shapes the next, and every word and note are beautifully arranged. I've heard some dylan and cash comparisons which i can see. having knowledge oberst is twenty-two years of age and owning just about every bit of physical evidence on his career i
know this and this only; conor oberst has blossomed into a truly prolific songwriter and with every bright eyes release there is growth and a broader more distinguished sound. a pure sound and language.


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