|1. If Winter Ends|
|2. Padraic my Prince|
|3. Contrast and Compare|
|4. The City has Sex|
|5. The Difference in the Shades|
|7. June on the West Coast|
|8. Pull My Hair|
|9. A Poetic Retelling of an Unfortunate Seduction|
|10. Tereza and Tomas|
___________________________________________ 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
not so sure about that anymore...while there is some great poetry on fevers, i don't think i've heard anything of his equal "june on the west coast" from this album. absolutely gorgeous love song. and the scratchy production here fits his strangled voice, better, too. makes his whining less so. in time, this album will be regarded as a naive masterpiece, a miracle of talent and desire and desperation.
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.
The first song, If Winter Ends, is one of my all time favorites. It's so passionate. As is the second song, Padric My Prince, about his brother who "drowned in a bath tub before he even learned how to talk." it's so brilliant and wonderful. Conor Oberst writes the most lovely, poetic things. YOu can't help but want to help the guy through hard times.
It's a great album!
This is the question that this album and maybe Bright Eyes in general answers for me. Yes. It is possible. I think there is a lot of potential here, but it is lost trying to sound a certain way. The songs are predictable and I think that the lyrics are also trying too hard to be deep or emotional.
I just don't buy it. That would have to be my impression of the album. I've heard people say it's creative, original, blah blah. I guess I just don't agree.