Bright Eyes
I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning


4.0
excellent

Review

by Chewbacca USER (32 Reviews)
July 1st, 2005 | 80 replies | 9,831 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist


6 of 8 thought this review was well written

Throughout the last few years, Conor Oberst has been praised as America's next great songwriter, the next Bob Dylan, and an assortment of other praises and hyperboles. Although I tend to disagree with some of the columnists and critics who claim these things, I also tend to agree that Conor is a truly great songwriter. Lifted or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, released in 2002, was praised by critics for the huges, ambitious arrangements, lines upon lines of fantastic, metaphorical (and simple) lyrics, and his shaky, yet emotive voice. Some people believe that Bright Eyes is pure hype, and has no musical quality or talent.

Now, it is 2005, and Bright Eyes released two albums that are polar opposites, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. I'm Wide Awake.. is stripped down folk album, to put it very plainly. Many songs feature only Conor and an acoustic guitar, while others are bubbling with lap steel, electric guitars, piano/organ, horns, and Emmylou Harris on backing vocals (If you're going to call him the next Dylan, why not have her?). The simplicity itself sets the album far apart from the grandious Lifted.., and is probably one of my favorite acoustic/folk albums.

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning is, basically, the recollections of when Conor had first moved to New York and the experiences and feelings that he had. The album gives off a very warm feeling, and is a very Autumn/Winter album. It consists of mostly slow ballads, with some of them staying in their dark, depresseive state, and some becoming very uplifting and almost happy sounding. The upbeat, somewhat faster songs are few and far between, those being "At the Bottom of Everything," "Another Travelin' Song," and "Road to Joy". Although the songs are faster and more upbeat, they are also some of the songs that tend to lack what the ballads seem to offer plenty of, but I can't really put my finger on it. They are still fun to listen to and tap your foot, though.

"Lua" just so happens to be one of my favorite Bright Eyes songs. Conor performs the song solo, with just himself and an acoustic guitar. He sings in a very shaken, yet seemingly tired and depressed tone. It depicts two lovers going out and party, and getting so wasted that they don't recognize each other anymore. The character maeks promises, but doesn't promise not to break them. The song itself is extremely depressing to listen, with lyrics like "I know you have a heavy, I can feel it when we kiss, so many men have thrown there backs out trying to lift". I can't help but think that this is the best Bright Eyes song yet, but I then remind myself of some other songs. Another slow song that happens to be a highlight of the album is "Train Under Water". Although the song is fairly slow, it seems more joyous and happy then the others. The song bubbles with melody, with harmonica and some electric guitar playing, and is one of the longer songs on the album.

The rest of the album is also very slow, and once agian, depressing, with the exception of the standard song about touring, "Another Travelin' Song". Indeed, it is just another travelin' song, and is a fair letdown that interrupts the near-perfect flow of the album. As you would expect, the pace doesn't hold up, and the album gets slow and depressing once again. Although it seems like this album may be a angst-ridden emo whining, it's not. It's one of the more mature works Bright Eyes has put out, and it shows in most of the songs. I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning ends on the rather angry and seething "Road to Joy". As you may suspect, the song takes the melody from "Ode to Joy," but there are some variations to it. The song's political attack is rather obtuse, with referances to war on television, and so on. Some of the lyrics are fantastic, though, and Conor's voice is the most jagged I have heard. With the cry of "*** it up boys, make some noise1" the song becomes chaotic, and is a good ending to the album, but not perfect. I still think "Lets Not *** Ourselves" is unbeatable, as an ending to a Bright Eyes album.

Overall, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning is an excellent acoustic/folk album, but not without its flaws. Conor's lyrical approach, and musical approach, have changed somewhat since the huge Lifted or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, and is definately a good reminder that you don't have to make the same record twice to make a great record.



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user ratings (1083)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Med57
Moderator
July 1st 2005



1001 Comments


Good review, unsurprisingly enough, and pretty much how I feel about this album. You're really cracking these reviews out now, which is good to see as well.

Damrod
Moderator
July 1st 2005



1093 Comments


I'm with Med on this one. Good work :thumb:

I really like your review, and I should check it again (after only listening to it once at a record store). Agian, good work, keep it up!This Message Edited On 07.01.05

Masakik
July 1st 2005



25 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i love this album so much mainly because i love folk music

Sepstrup
August 8th 2005



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a good place to start in my opinion. Giving it a five is certainly over the top, but it's enjoyable to listen to and very poetic.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 9th 2005



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is quite good. It's too country sounding for me, but I some of the best of his are on here, like Road to Joy.

SunnyDayAM
August 26th 2005



14 Comments


I love this album

masada
October 13th 2005



2733 Comments


I'm just listening to htis again. It's still amazing, which is surprising to me.

AtTheDriveIn198d
October 29th 2005



158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the telling the story part of the first song gets annoying after the first few times but awesome album

Ryou-Neko
November 5th 2005



48 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"At others, he seems jerky and has a lot of anger like "At The Bottom Of Everything" and "Road To Joy"."

At the Bottom of Everything isn't angry...Otep is angry, go look her up.

This album seemed to sink in after 2 or three weeks of listening to it; I really didn't enjoy it at first.

AtTheDriveIn198d
November 6th 2005



158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

my mates a moron and thinks every bright eyes song is sad. but he got into bright eyes throught a "what emo song are you?" quiz and thinks FOB and HH are kings of emo so.

Glitterati
November 7th 2005



83 Comments


omg omg omg liek conor oberst

AtTheDriveIn198d
November 7th 2005



158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lo, bright eyes is country music anyways

masada
November 7th 2005



2733 Comments


[quote=^]lo, bright eyes is country music anyways[/quote]
Not really.

AtTheDriveIn198d
November 8th 2005



158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

some songs are e.g. another travling song and the songs with slide guitar makes it countryish. what would you class them as?

masada
November 8th 2005



2733 Comments


I think Bright Eyes are kind of like Belle & Sebastian with a little twang, soundwise. They have some country and folk influences, but a good deal of their music, especially on Fevers & Mirrors and Lifted or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground is much more in the standard indie-pop vein.

I can understand why people don't like them. After all, Conor did pretend to be drunk for a lot of shows in the past.

Ryou-Neko
November 8th 2005



48 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bright Eyes is rock-folk, if there is such a thing. That's what conor says, anyway, but I do agree that some of I'm Wide Awake's songs can be classified as Christian.

Hence "Drunk Kid Catholic"

AtTheDriveIn198d
November 10th 2005



158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

they should of made the talking bit of track 1 just track 1 and the song track 2 and then move all the tracks up cus the talking bit is boring after a couple of times.

BenJammin
January 31st 2006



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

An excellent CD. One of my favorite of last year. Good review.

Paul13
February 28th 2006



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice review :D

i love this album, i can't get enough of "first day of my life", and i love how the slow nice folk styled album ends in chaos oh damn i just can't get enough of it damnit :D *listens to CD*

mx
Moderator
March 17th 2006



733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've lately become hooked on this. And yeah, 'first day of my life' is also my favorite.



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