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Letting Off the Happiness

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 21 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Saddle Creek
  • ASIN: B00000HXU7
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #69,896 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. If Winter Ends
2. Padraic my Prince
3. Contrast and Compare
4. The City has Sex
5. The Difference in the Shades
6. Touch
7. June on the West Coast
8. Pull My Hair
9. A Poetic Retelling of an Unfortunate Seduction
10. Tereza and Tomas

Product Description

Product Description

Japanese version featuring a bonus track: "Empty Canyon/Empty Canteen".


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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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
To start off, I must say that this is my first and only Bright Eyes album. I plan on getting many more because of it though.
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.
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By A Customer on June 2 2002
Format: Audio CD
this is oh so easily the best bright eyes album in my opinion, and one of my favorite records ever. the range of style is pretty wide, from the wonderfully spacious "june on the west coast", a real singer/songwriter showpiece, to the shimmering new-wave downer "touch", and almost everything in between. and some of the arrangements on this record are just amazing, especially the billowing and exploding country swoon of "the difference in the shades" and the barn burning "the city has sex", suggesting that the company mr. oberst keeps in the studio is just as creative and talented as he is. one thing i don't get is why people find this album so depressing. there are definitely some strange characters and sad emotions on display, but the joyfulness and creativity and love of music that obviously went into the album makes it impossible for me to listen to it witout smiling. really, this is just a awesome record.

bright eyes gets a lot of flack from some people for being nothing new and immature and pretentious, but i imagine this is becuase most people have only heard fevers & mirrors, which is a HUGE step down from this album. it's like two different bands.

probably the best and most exciting lo-fi record since pavement's "slanted & enchanted".
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Format: Audio CD
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. it's good, but improvements were to come in the form of better lyrics and cleaner production."
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.
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By A Customer on Jan. 19 2004
Format: Audio CD
Letting off the Happiness is really a beautiful work. This is early Bright Eyes, and many say that it's not as "acessible" as Fevers and Mirrors or Lifted, but I'd say either start here or with Lifted (I started with Fevers, and now that I've heard the other two CDs, it's my least favorite).
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.
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