Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Songs #333 & 334 - It's TWOsday!

Song #333 of 9999                                   Song #334 of 9999

Title: First Day of My Life                         Title: Take it Easy (Love Nothing)
Artist: Bright Eyes                                    Artist: Bright Eyes
Year: 2005                                               Year: 2005
Album: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning        Album: Digital Ash in a Digital Urn

It must be hard being a prodigy. I say that with no sarcasm or irony as an introduction to a discussion about Connor Oberst, the singer-songwriter who formed Bright Eyes while still in his teens. To have one's early artistic development under intense and constant scrutiny must be at once quite fulfilling and perhaps a little terrifying. If nothing else, I'm sure the impulse to top yourself must be constant and strong. It may even lead you to release two albums on the same day!

I've admitted before (in post #16) that I am a latecomer to Oberst's work, having written it off (perhaps unfairly) as overly angsty and stricken with a vocal tone quality that I found grating. But 2007's Casadaga was just too brilliant to overlook as a mature Oberst figured out that he could be both a folkie and a rocker all on one album. I say this in retrospect as I listen to Oberst's fraternal twin pairing from 2005, in which he consciously separates the steel guitars and delicate fingerpicking of I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning from the big beats and sonic saturation of Digital Ash in a Digital Urn.

These are both really good records and I'm excited to give them proper spins when I have more time (conducting a show this week so my research time is limited :-/). I'm always a little embarrassed to admit missing significant artists the first time around but it's so much fun to uncover these gems when researching my blog. If, like me, you didn't pay much attention to Bright Eyes a decade ago, it may be time to check him/them out.

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