Bright Eyes
The People's Key


4.5
superb

Review

by ModernGuilt USER (11 Reviews)
February 4th, 2011 | 39 replies | 6,881 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I've seen, I've see, I've seen stranger things, man.

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

Conor Oberst, frontman for indie trio Bright Eyes, has exhibited his share of eccentricities. He has cited Daniel Johnston, a song writer who released much of his material from the confines of a mental hospital, as a major influence. So he is obviously no stranger to questions of sanity or mental inconsistencies. Despite this, Oberst’s lyrics remained coherent and his subject matter intimately relatable. On Bright Eyes newest album The People’s Key, however, Conor Oberst seems to have finally followed his idol and gone quite completely off the deep end, while, simultaneously, creating his most coherent and mature album to date.

As with previous albums, The People’s Key, opens with a monologue, setting the stage for themes explored throughout the album. Danny Brewer, a friend of Oberst’s, begins the song Firewall with an outlandish account of the beginning of the world, comprised of lizard men and transdemensionality. Sections of Brewer’s bizarre religious views bookend several songs throughout the album, affecting uncomfortable laughs and raised eyebrows in the critical listener. The theme of religiosity is present in many of the songs as Oberst struggles with both the desire for a concrete religious belief and a strong aversion to the burden it would place upon him. Other themes include a critique of postmodernity, the fate of children born to immoral parents, and the realities present only in our strangest dreams. The lyrics, as always, are simply sublime. Oberst weaves mythological metaphors and references to obscure historical events together to create an intricate and engrossing tapestry that begs listeners to stop and contemplate their meanings and implications.

Musically, The People’s Key, falls closest to the band’s 2005 electronica album, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, though the new album is much more experimental than anything the band has released. The instrumentation is complex and varied, ranging from distorted guitars and 80s synths, to more familiar implements such as acoustic guitar and piano. The opening song, “Firewall,” begins with dissonant guitar and an oppressive drum beat, only to break into a funky rhodes organ for the finale. It sounds like an identity crisis, but it feels complete and unique, a testament to the talent and musical integrity of the band.

Though Fans of the acoustic sound heard in both I’m Wide Awake it’s Morning and Cassadaga may be disappointed by the percussive nature of The People’s Key, it is by no means a disappointment. In reality, Bright Eyes newest album is an absolute masterpiece. If the rumors are true, and this is, in fact, their last album, it is a magnificent swan song, worthy the same critical acclamation their previous albums received.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
ModernGuilt
February 4th 2011



51 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream the album at http://www.npr.org/2011/01/31/133278431/first-listen-bright-eyes-the-peoples-key

mvood
February 4th 2011



816 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm listening to stream and it sounds catchy as hell so far. I'm guessing this is gonna be his best since I'm Wide Awake. Review is good pos'd.

psykonaut
February 4th 2011



3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

finally got around to checking this out and i quite like it. this is either gonna grow on me really hard or i'm gonna forget about this in a month. good review btw

STOP SHOUTING!
February 4th 2011



628 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review!

Kris.
February 4th 2011



11370 Comments


its ok

psykonaut
February 4th 2011



3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah i'm loving this

Veldin
February 5th 2011



911 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's "Conor", not "Connor" by the way...

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

PandaNuts
February 8th 2011



129 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yes. Sci-fi emo perfection.

Knott-
Emeritus
February 8th 2011



10193 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Please stop calling this album sci-fi emo, it's the stupidest description I've ever heard.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2011



17116 Comments


I love Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and I find the songs on this to be rather tepid. There's nothing in them that I can say I hate but they do nothing for me. Conor's lyrics on this lack any sort of feeling or substance and the music just plods along and never really bursts or blooms. The entire thing feels phoned in.

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

thebhoy
Emeritus
February 8th 2011



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ I disagree.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2011



17116 Comments


The thing that made me love Bright Eyes was the lyrics and to me his music was more secondary to the experience (although I do absolutely adore some of his arrangements). There is absolutely nothing on this that I relate to lyrically. Without the intimacy and catharsis Conor Oberst is nothing. He can try to fight his past all he wants and disconnect himself from why people like me fell in love with his songs in the first place but if he continues down this road with his post-Bright Eyes career like he did with The Mystic Valley Band (keep in mind I really liked his self-titled solo album) he's lost a fan. There's nothing in this for me.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2011



17116 Comments


also you liked the new Decemberists cd so yeah...

Hep Kat
February 8th 2011



14009 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lame/gay album

Digging: Fucked Up - Year of the Dragon

thebhoy
Emeritus
February 8th 2011



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ I disagree

Romulus
February 8th 2011



8372 Comments


never dug this band/dude really

Knott-
Emeritus
February 8th 2011



10193 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

There is absolutely nothing on this that I relate to lyrically. Without the intimacy and catharsis Conor Oberst is nothing. He can try to fight his past all he wants and disconnect himself from why people like me fell in love with his songs in the first place but if he continues down this road with his post-Bright Eyes career like he did with The Mystic Valley Band (keep in mind I really liked his self-titled solo album) he's lost a fan. There's nothing in this for me.


sums up my review really

WeepingBanana
February 8th 2011



9897 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

album was alright. i'm pretty much agreeing with everyone who didn't love it. it just wasn't as intimate as i would have liked

psykonaut
February 8th 2011



3913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

changed it to a 4.5? nice

kanecooper
February 8th 2011



630 Comments


Wow.



Really?



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