“Here we go. Can I get a goddamn timpani roll to start this goddamn song? Tonight it is a goddamn song, for all you goddamn people!”
[Let’s not shit ourselves (to love and be loved) – Bright Eyes]
Conor Oberst has been one of favourite songwriters for a while now, and most of his songs have managed to convince me that he isn’t a singer; but more of a poet. Like many of the artists I hope to watch live someday, including Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, I like to think that Oberst has amazing stage presence and I will love to see his rejection of me as an audience more than I will like his involvement in the act.
Why I chose to write about Bright Eyes for my first music writing is that it is the culmination of everything that music means to me. It is the combination of words, crude tunes and the most important of all, sincerity and vulnerability that appeals to me. And Oberst is sincere even in his insincerity. A particular song of his called “False Advertising” is a song where he admits that he only pretends to be hurt because he wants to be pitied, and he wants the audience to throw their sympathy onto him (along with the money they have). He “rehearses” his sorrow before he is pushed onto the stage to prove to everyone how upset he is. This is true for all his songs; all of them are about topics that are very obviously depressing and melancholy – war, suicide, death et al.
This is a major concern for me personally, that an artist that I admire is subtly admitting that he is misleading his audience into believing that there is much less depth to him than we see. It is a scary thought because to realize that the inspiration that makes me believe that there is still some annihilative passion in the world, is a realization that I am not ready for yet. Nonetheless, for anyone who is willing to explore the kind of music that will move you, Bright Eyes is the band for you.
Songs you must listen to:
- False Advertising
- Landlocked Blues
- First Day Of My Life