This album has obviously created battling reviews. The fact is, Conor has a very particular sound that not everybody's going to like. I am of the opinion that he really can sing, but due to the amount of drugs he seems to take his voice ends up a little sketchy. Okay, very sketchy - particularly on "The Curious Girl...", when he is basically screaming into a microphone.
I don't see what everyone has against his chord progressions. They're simple, and he says so himself.
The way I see it is, the songs are only vehicles for his words. You can't put Bright Eyes on and go do something else - you have to sit there and listen to what he's saying. I don't think he's trying to convey "wisdom" at all - he's just saying what he has to say. Evidently this boy has an incredible amount of sadness, and this is is way of venting. To me, the "Curious girl" sounds like sitting in his living room, just listening.
If you want really good music, don't buy this album. If you want to hear one tortured young individual's view of the world, hear his pounding chords in your head for the next few weeks, and become very, very sad, while feeling like you love life and everything is beautiful...buy this album.