I got my name from Rock ‘n’ Roll -rws -jcr -dlh

Brad Lindert

You’ve been called the greatest songwriter of your generation ********– the best writer since Dylan. You’ve been seen making out with Winona Ryder. Your last album was the critically acclaimed “Lifted or The Story is in the Soil Keep Your Ear to the Ground.” You are Conor Oberst and you are the man behind the musical force that is Bright Eyes.
After releasing an amazing album that finally got you out of your self pitying style of music you decided that you would not be able to recreate the brilliance of “Lifted.” So, you decide to write a country-tinged album called “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.”
But remember, you’re Conor. One album isn’t enough. Should you make a double album of folkie, country tunes? No, again you have to remember that you are Conor Oberst. You’re considered a genius by a lot of people. So you try your hand at a different style of music. So you go into the studio to write another album. When finished you emerge with “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn,” an electronic album. After releasing it on Jan. 25, you take some time to realize that you’re a folk singer and you just released an amazing country album and an amazingly bad electronic album!
“I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning” shows how good Conor can be. His lyrics are brutally honest and paint amazing scenes from his personal life. The great country singer Emmylou Harris guests on a few tracks to create a lush back porch feel. It reminds me a lot of “Lifted,” but more subdued. The huge crescendos make way for simpler melodies that hug the listener.
“Poison Oak” is a standout track with a hushed start as Conor sings, “When a telephone was a tin can on a string / And I fell asleep with you talking to me.” Soon the singer declares, “The sound of loneliness makes me happier.” But the two best songs on the album would be “We Are Nowhere and It’s Now” and “Landlocked Blues.” Both feature Emmylou Harris. I haven’t heard duets this good since Patti Smith was a guest on REM’s “E-Bow the Letter.” There are not true faults to this album, excluding the opening story on “At the Bottom of Everything.”
Then there is the fault-laden “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn.” The lyrics are far worse on this album. And whereas the simple melodies of “It’s Morning” hugged the listener, these simple lyrics put him to sleep. Even the best song on the album, “Ship in a Bottle” has a problem that is unforgivable. The song starts to grow loud and rock out when all of a sudden a crying baby takes a solo! That is just not music, no matter how loose of a definition of music you have.
Conor could have saved us the trouble of having to buy two albums by putting the best tracks of “Digital Ashes” on to the end of “It’s Morning.” Come on Conor, save this poor college student some cash.

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