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Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
Label: Saddle Creek
Release: 2005

Tracklisting:
1. At The Bottom Of everything
2. We Are Nowhere And It's now
3. Old Soul Song (For The New World Order)
4. Lua
5. Train Under Water
6. First Day Of My Life
7. Another Travellin' Song
8. Landlocked Blues
9. Poison Oak
10. Road To Joy

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Average Blamo User Rating: (41 votes)

You can just feel the tension building up as the first track of this album opens up with Mr. Oberst telling us a story about a tragic plane crash. Then the opening chords of 'At the bottom of everything' come bursting in. His collaboration on this song with My Morning Jacket's Jim James is the perfect number to open up this near perfect album.

Conor leads us trough 10 moving songs about joy, sadness, politics, and obiously love. Each song proves Conor's worth as one of todays most exciting and talented songwritters. To most, this will seem like a departure from the bigger sound of 'lifed'. One of the greatest things about this album is Conor's ability to keep it simple. Here he ditches the lush and complicated orchestrations of his last album for a more simple but just as effective sound. You wont find any Synths on this record, instead you'll find beautifull duets with country legend Emmylou Harris and folky guitars that would make Dylan proud.

There are no duds on this album. Every song is worth listening to again and again, but there are some standouts. Songs such as 'First Day Of My Life' wich could be one of the most touching songs in the Bright Eyes catalogue. Another standout is 'Landlocked blues' a breathtaking duet with Emylou Harris which will surely send chills up your spine. Describing these songs in simple words will never do these songs justice, so instead do yourself a favor and pick up this album.




Reviewer Rating of CD :

this is a soulful, beautifully written album. Amen to the review already posted.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

I never considered myself a Bright Eyes fan, but during a late night album downloading frenzy, I downloaded both of the new Bright Eyes released. "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" re-confirmed my dislike for the man, his style, et cetera, but "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" was a very pleasent surprise.

Once you get past the weird opening track, the entire record is full of glorious folky Bob-Dylan-with-a-speech-impediment gems. I couldn't help but actually enjoy it, which not only surprised me but very much delighted me. On top of all the normal goodies a good album has to offer, the appearance of country singer Emmylou Harris is just an added bonus. "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" brings out a beautiful side of Mr. Oberst. A side Mr. Oberst should allow to continue flourishing.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

While many musical artists and bands are no stranger to premature judgment and labeling, Connor Oberst, the man behind the outfit known as Bright Eyes, has been dealt a double edged sword of judgment for a great deal of his career. As any artist who accumulates a large underground following, there are many who do not speak too kindly of him, calling his voice into question and saying he is overrated. On the other, much heftier hand, we have the boatloads of praise of his lyrics and the tag of being the “new Bob Dylan,” which has put a great stress on his work.

So, is Connor Oberst the new Bob Dylan? To be blunt, no. Bob Dylan defined a generation and took an old form of music and ensured it's life throughout the decades. It would be a stretch to call Oberst an innovator, or his music original, but he is pretty damn good at doing what he does.

What he does is create beautiful songs with lyrics that linger on your mind for weeks. In the past, this has been hindered by production value, but the crisp production of I'm Wide Awake... brings Oberst to the fullest of his potential. The backing band this time around provides a beautiful back drop for Oberst's vocals, and even when he goes solo for a track or has little accompaniment, it is still astounding. “Poison Oak,” is a perfect example. Easily one of the most breathtaking songs in Oberst's catalogue, he takes a great portion of the song by himself with his acoustic guitar and is joined by the rest of the band near the end as Connor's lyrical imagery and the band's tight-emotional playing propel the song towards great heights.

“Road To Joy,” sees Oberst going down a road less traveled in his musical career, politics. Oberst became politically involved during the recent presidential elections of 2004, campaigning for John Kerry's unsuccessful bid for presidency. Here, he touches on poverty (“no one ever plans to sleep out in the gutter, sometimes..that's just the most comfortable place”), the war in Iraq (“...when you're asked to fight a war that's over nothing/ it's best to join the side that's going to win”), and technology (“I hope I don't sound to ungrateful when history gave modern man, a telephone to talk to strangers, machine guns and the camera lens”).

Perhaps what makes Oberst so popular is his ability to connect with the youth. You never get the sense that he has grown cocky or has been spoiled by fame. This is evident on songs such as “Lua,” and “Land Locked Blues,” which back-track through similar topics such as depression, alcohol and substance abuse, and lost love, topics which are common on many Bright Eyes recordings. Throughout his entire career, Oberst has been extremely down to earth with his songwriting, with dashes of brilliant imagery and expression thrown in for good measure to make him different from the rest of the cookie-cutter, mainstream singer-songwriters.

Once again, Oberst delivers a great album. Well worth your money and well worth a spot in any listeners collection.

Reviewer Rating of CD :

 


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