Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews


A Collection of Songs Written and...

Author: Annie Holub
01/15/1997 | Ground Zero | Album Review
Conor Oberst, who records as Bright Eyes, is 17 years old and has put out three full length CDs. The latest is A Collection of Songs and it's just him, his four-track and his songs. Fuzzy noises, phones ringing, chairs creaking, doors opening and closing while he delivers into the intense emotions that drive his songs. You can hear it raining outside during one of them.

When I first head Conor, he was in a band called Commander Venus from Omaha. A friend from Iowa had mailed a tape on which a very waery voice cried, “The bitch, she lies to me" repeatedly.

“He's like fourteen," my friend said. “He sounds like a dying smurf."

Nonetheless, I was completely taken with Oberst's wrenchingly emotional songs. He would scream with such out-of-key agony that the only way to react was a combination uncomfortable grin and shrug. He really gets into it and that is so rare in this inhibited electronic music era that it takes a little getting used to. Yet once ya do, your realize it's all right. It's not about sounding good, it's about something real.

Listening to A Collection of Songs is not unlike listening to your friends messing around of guitars and bongo drums in someone's messy living room. It's personal, laid-back and about being in the moment. Everyone may be tired and/or under the influence, but the talent still shows. If your faith in new and independant music needs to be reviewed, Bright Eyes is the smelling salt.