Letting Off the Happiness
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|8. Pull My Hair|
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BRIGHT EYES - Letting Off the Happiness (CD, Saddle Creek, Pop) I can't help but wonder if this "band" got its name from the character in Watership Down? Never the matter. Bright Eyes is a project spearheaded by Conor Oberst, who has quite the knack for penning some fine damn emotional pop music. This is amazingly mature, considering that this fellow hasn't been (to my knowledge) recording for that long. Mr. Oberst's ability to write quality melodies is light years beyond most songwriters. In addition, his breathy vocal style fits his music perfectly. Features guest appearances by members of other bands including Cursive, Drip, Lullaby for the Working Class, Neutral Milk Hotel, and more. Ten tunes including "If Winter Ends," "The City Has Sex," and "A Poetic Retelling of an Unfortunate Seduction." Holds up to many repeated listenings. Excellent. --Rating: 5 -- babysue.com 11/98
Conor Oberst has more passion in his young 18 year old body than in your little pinky. Last year a friend of mine made me a tape of Bright Eyes stuff and it made me cry. This album is less sad and much more dynamic. As the mastermind behind Bright Eyes, Conor enlists help from friends and family to record songs that originally grew out of the Oberst family basement. I love the scrapped together feel of the songs. If you like slow pop like Ida, or you're a Karate fan, you'll love Bright Eyes. -- lemon pepper fanzine issue 1 . december 1998
LOVE IN LOW FIDELITY! I hated the new CD by BRIGHT EYES when I first heard it. But a certain little something about the disc must have snagged on my brain. And multiple plays revealed the truth: Letting Off the Happiness isn't just another stupid bit of bedroom studio lo-fi indie rock ephemera. No no no! it's an incredibly accomplished and intelligent bit of bedroom studio lo-fi indie rock ephemera. I mean, don't pick this up and go "Where's the single?" is that the first thing you'd ask Elliott Smith? Instead, this is an alternative rock record to savor slowly, though it may well be worth asking whether theres something even more accessibly brilliant up songwriter Conor Oberst's tattered, thrift-store sleeve. -- option'sINSIDEReport No. 41 Dec. 1, 1998 Scott Becker, Editor
The enigmatic young man who calls himself Bright Eyes is quite a grand song writer. You may not always see it coming, but his music and especially his lyrics hit you in a way that never lets you doubt the absolute truth of what he's saying. I am also keen on the way he writes a love song. His sweet sonnets are never about being enamored by a lovely young lady, instead the passion he ruminates on is that of a time and place, of salvation and a more innocent definition of the word hope. Songs like "The City has Sex," "Tereza and Thomas," "Pull on My Hair," and "June on the West Coast" show his sorrow that springs from ending a love affair with the future and having a one night stand with the present. (miles curtiss, supafly #3)
___________________________________________ Magnet Magazine www.magnetmagazine.com
Fifteen years ago, a Nebraska teenager named Matthew Sweet turned his correspondence with Athens, GA., heroes like Michael Stipe into a musical career, ultimately moving to Georgia after high school to play in Oh-OK with Stipe's younger sister, Linda, and Linda Hopper (Magnapop). Now, there's another teenage songwriter working the Nebraska/Athens axis, Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, whose second CD features contributions from members of Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, and midwesterners Lullaby for the Working Class. Oberst's lo-fi bedroom confessionals restore the magic to a genre that long ago lost its luster to every self-indulgent loner with a four-track. Oberst's honest, sensitive lyrics are never less than affecting and experienced beyond his years, and Athenians Kevin Barnes (Of Montreal) and Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel) add their wonderfully skewed melodic sense and innovative instrumentation (accordian, pedal steel, weird keyboards) that puts this well above the usual bedroom noodling. Trouble is, the recording (done in sessions in both Athens and Nebraska) doesn't capture the full dynamism of the songs. There's a lot going on here that's almost impossible to hear, lost in a mix that's often cluttered or scratchy. Perhaps in the future, studios like John Keane's or David Barbe's can really capture their visionary imaginations. -- David Daley, Magnet Magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
To me, this album is a masterpiece. It is always interesting and entertaining to listen to and it's good enough to where you wont want to listen to anything except this album.
The secret without question lies within Conor's God-givin talent to write amazingly beautiful and sad songs. From what I hear, this CD is a good deal less depressing than some of his others but still, you get a heartbreaking story in nearly every song. He presents his stories in a way that I have never heard before, a way that never wears a song out. Not only can he write , he can also sing. I understand that many people can't take his voice but I feel it is absolutly perfect for what he is trying to do. His sparse screaming fits throughout this album help to contribute to the overall raw atmosphere of it as well.
The only problem I have with this is the extremely lo-fi recording. In many of the songs, one can tell that it could have been better. I especially don't understand the reason for putting 14 minutes-plus worth of blankness at the end of Tereza and Tomas. I do like the extra version of Contrast and Compare with only Conor on vocal after it but I see no need to leave a gap that long before disclosing the CD extra.
My last words of advise...Please people, Give Conor a chance. He is genius in terms of songwriting and he isn't a bad guitar player either. Look past the lo-fi sound and you will see this. every song is worth listening to especially IF Winter Ends, Padraic my Prince, June on the West Coast, and A Poetic Retelling of an Unfortunate Seduction. Just buy it and enjoy.
The songwriting on this is amazing, and though the arrangements are far less complex than those on the CDs that follow this, the songs are just as good (and sometimes a good deal better).
Some of my favorite Bright Eyes songs are on this CD, including the first track, If Winter Ends, and the seventh track, June on the West Coast, which is lovely in its simplicity (it seems to be just Conor Oberst and his guitar with minimal acompaniment. It's almost happy too, which in itself is unusual). The City has Sex is also outstanding.
Really, all of the songs on this CD are very good, and far more raw and immediate (and less polished) than the later stuff. If you like Bright Eyes or anything in this style- it's sort of folky, emotional indie- you'll have no problem listening to this the whole way through and you'll enjoy it all (once you've gotten used to Oberst's voice, which does take some listening).
One final note: I wish I could give this CD half a star less. Bright Eyes has a tendancy to either start or end songs with annoying static or speaking or... things that are not music. While it does not ultimately detract from the value of the songs, I find it incredibly annoying.
I'm sure some people are sick of all the Bob Dylan comparisons, but here I go. Remember early Dylan (like Highway 61 Revisited- Era and Another Side of Bob Dylan- Era) when it was mostly just him and an acoustic guitar, sometimes an organ and some drums? It didn't take away from the effect of his unique voice and his poetry like some of the later, more rock-oriented, electric efforts. I think the same thing about Bright Eyes..."Letting off the Happiness" is my favorite album by this band because there weren't all these other unnecessary instruments distracting the listeners from Conor's voice and his lyrics. His emotion is pure and there is a great balance of vocals and instruments on this album. Now I'm just going to say a little bit about what I appreciated about each song:
1) if winter ends
"I dreampt of a fever, one that could cure me of this cold, winter-set heart..." great lyrics, good tempo...
2) padraic my prince
this was the first bright eyes song i ever heard (before i ever bought any of their albums). i think i was in awe by it, and i just had it saved on real player on my computer or something, and i kept uploading it over and over to listen to it.
3) contrast and compare
i love the female vocal accompaniment! wonderful! it really compliments conor's deep voice and adds a lot to the song.
4) the city has sex
this song reminds me of late-70's punk rock!Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
what i said then: "i think this one is not quite so good as fevers and mirrors, which is a 19 year-old's masterpiece. he did this one when he was 17; not bad at all. Read morePublished on July 11 2004 by Davy
Conor Oberst is a genius. There is no doubt about that. Everything he writes and sings is so heartfelt, you can't help but relate with the guys problems. Read morePublished on Dec 1 2003 by Nicole
it sure has taken him a long time to kill himself. I miss John Ritter.Published on Oct. 4 2003 by Karlito Brigante
Is it possible to try too hard to sound like you're not trying?
This is the question that this album and maybe Bright Eyes in general answers for me. Yes. It is possible. Read more
I love Bright Eyes, they are one of my favorite bands, but this album [is not good]. There's something about it that's more emo in a negative way. Read morePublished on July 2 2003 by Bunny Lane
i've recently become a bright eyes fan in the past few months. since then i've managed to snag lifted, fever and mirrors, and lettings off the happiness. Read morePublished on April 22 2003 by James Stanton
"Lifted..." is highly overrated. This is by far the best Bright Eyes album. All ten songs are riveting--there's no filler. Read morePublished on April 11 2003
Like poetry in motion, can one single cd be anymore amazing? This is by far my favorite Bright Eyes cd to date. Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2003 by Kimberly Brown