Bright Eyes
Lifted or the Story is in the Soil...


5.0
classic

Review

by Victoria Michelle Coia USER (10 Reviews)
May 11th, 2011 | 19 replies | 3,806 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "To love and to be loved... let's just hope that is enough."

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Conor Oberst has been making music since he was a young teenager, and on his previous works it certainly showed. While still a teenager he had not yet developed an ear for good melodies and because of this his songs suffered. His lyrics have always been worth listening to, but the absence of interesting melodies kept his music down. Listening to his earlier works, “A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997” or even “Letting Off the Happiness”, one can tell that there is a brilliant musician waiting to break out and be the voice of thousands of depressed teenagers who, like Conor, are struggling with their self-identity.

On his second album “Fevers and Mirrors” it seemed Conor had finally learned how to write a complete song. Songs such as “The Calender Hung Itself” and “Arienette” are some of the best songs Oberst has ever written and prove that he can put lyrics and melodies together to make a great song. However, some of the songs on the album, namely “The Center of the World” and “A Song to Pass the Time”, failed to possess the emotion that was present earlier on the record. With “Lifted or the Story Is In the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground” Conor has crafted not only his best album, but his most quintessential album because it represents everything that Bright Eyes’ work stands for. Everything Conor has ever strived to reach for, with his music, is present on this album. There’s the pointless intro on “The Big Picture”, the struggle with his self-identity on “Method Acting” and "False Advertising” and the pretentious closer “Let’s Not *** Ourselves (To Love and to Be Loved).

On “Lifted...” every song has lyrics that are not only personal, but lyrics that anyone who has every felt lonely or unloved can easily relate to. With lines like, “*** my face *** my name They are brief and false advertising” it’s hard not to relate and feel a closer connection to Conor. He seems to write these lyrics with ease and through 13 songs that spread out to over an hour long that is not something that is easily done. Anyone that listened to Bright Eyes before this release knows that Conor was always been capable of making a complete album that was not only lyrically well written, but also possessed the melodies to hold the listener’s attention, and that potential is finally realized on “Lifted...”. “Bowl of Oranges” is one of the standout tracks on the album because it embodies what Conor and the rest of Bright Eyes wanted to accomplish. It has Conor’s captivating lyrics, “ Of love’s uneven remainders Our lives are fractions of a whole But if the world could remain within a frame Like a painting on a wall Then I think we’d see the beauty And stand staring in awe”, and it also boasts, what I believe to be, Conor’s most unique and original melody.

Another aspect of Conor’s music that needed improvement, especially with Bright Eyes, is his voice. Before “Lifted...” Conor didn’t seem to know what kind of voice to use for his music. His voice is obviously limited, so he has had to find ways to make it effective for his music’s sake. On “Fevers and Mirrors” it seemed Conor was confused as to what type of voice was best for the music and because of this the album faltered a bit. However, on “Lifted...”, Conor has found the voice that suits him the best and it takes the album to a whole new level. Whether you love it or absolutely dread it, Conor’s nasally voice dominates the album and works on every song. Gone are the tedious moments where Conor’s voice drags the entire song down.

A huge part of this album’s beauty is that while listening to it the songs don’t go on for too long. The songs are at the perfect length and what helps is the atmosphere that is present on the entire album. “Don’t Know When But a Day is Gonna Come” is the perfect example. While listening to this song it’s hard not to imagine a world that is black, deserted and completely forgotten about and Conor’s lyrics and melodies build this image. It truly is remarkable and it helps that the song is set up by the wonderful “Bowl of Oranges”. Perhaps the most important song on the album is “Let’s Not *** Ourselves (To Love and Be Loved). This is because it is a 10 minute epic, in which, Conor relates himself to the world around him and how he sees it. It is a poweful country-western type song that sums up the album perfectly with the line, “To love and to be loved... Let’s just hope that is enough.”

“Lifted...” is an album that needs to be listened to with an open mind because it is lengthy and sometimes Conor’s lyrics can completely turn people off. However, those who are looking for an album with substance or just looking for an album to help pass the time look no further than “Lifted or the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground”. It is an album that shows the full potential of Conor Oberst, and Bright Eyes and what he is capable of when he sets his mind to it.



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user ratings (653)
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4.1
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Comments:Add a Comment 
vmcoia91
May 11th 2011



555 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Some feedback would be much appreciated. Thank You!

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 12th 2011



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is so weird, I just opened the internet to download this album (I've been listening to Wide Awake all day, decided it's time for Bright Eyes album #2 seeing as I'm seeing them in three weeks) and this is the first thing I see

GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

I'll read the review when I'm not rushed.

cvlts
May 12th 2011



8954 Comments


The first paragraph and about half of the second paragraph is basically unnecessary.

vmcoia91
May 12th 2011



555 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I can see that, but I was having trouble starting this review so when I came up with that I kept it. Not the best, I know.

cvlts
May 12th 2011



8954 Comments


I know you're goin for artist background but that should only take about 2-3 sentences. Other than that nitpick, this is a really good review. You obviously know this album (and this band) extremely well and it shows.

Never heard of this but I'll pick it up right now based off this review.

vmcoia91
May 12th 2011



555 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thank you! Do get it. It's one of my favorites, as I'm sure you can tell.

foreverendeared
May 12th 2011



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. I think I like Fevers & Mirrors a bit more.

IAmKickass
May 12th 2011



840 Comments


I really need to listen to this.

Kiran
Emeritus
May 12th 2011



6000 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"bowl of oranges" is my favourite bright eyes song

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2011



17197 Comments


i freakin' adore this album. gonna go put make war on repeat and have a good ol' fashioned sing along

iFghtffyrdmns
May 12th 2011



7047 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

decent review, awesome album.

oh conor you're just so sad but we love love love you.


wabbit
May 12th 2011



6978 Comments


Good review. My only qualm with this album is I do find the songs to be a bit long.

ConsiderPhlebas
May 12th 2011



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Cool review

vmcoia91
May 12th 2011



555 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Your rating makes me sad Phlebas

flamingmouse
May 13th 2011



183 Comments


Totally agree. The lyrics on this album and Wide Awake are so amazing and just hit home.

vmcoia91
May 13th 2011



555 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I love the lyrics on every Bright Eyes album except the People's Key.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2011



7140 Comments


Hey vmcoia91. So I'm super late to respond to your request, but I will try my best to make up for it. Please excuse my tardiness, yeah?

The review is solid. I find that as a whole it demonstrates a writer which is aware of Bright Eyes' history and - more importantly - has a cogent appreciation of what his works mean, and how time and experience has changed his art. In terms of sounding knowledgeable (which is about half the battle), I think you got that down, so kudos.

Ultimately for me, where this review falters a bit is in the effectiveness of the writing. Your content may be spot-on, but there are many instances where the review struggles to get off the ground and it feels like you have great difficulty expressing yourself. Here:

i.) The introduction takes too long to get started - you take about a paragraph and a half to get underway. Moreover, the sentences don't appear to "flow" as nicely into one another as one would hope for.

ii.) Sentences like "He seems to write these lyrics with ease and through 13 songs that spread out to over an hour long that is not something that is easily done" and "His voice is obviously limited, so he has had to find ways to make it effective for his music’s sake" utilize broad generalizations without much proof and are quite assertive. Work on backing yourself up a bit more.

iii.) Repetition: "Anyone that listened to Bright Eyes before this release knows that Conor was always been capable of making a complete album that was not only lyrically well written, but also possessed the melodies to hold the listener’s attention, and that potential is finally realized on “Lifted...”. “Bowl of Oranges” is one of the standout tracks on the album because it embodies what Conor and the rest of Bright Eyes wanted to accomplish."

(Continued -)

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 27th 2011



7140 Comments


You have already mentioned this idea more than once in your earlier build-up.

iv.) Jarring sentence structure; I know trying to work in lyrics into your writing is difficult in terms of making it aesthetically pleasing, but the disorganization of lines like "It has Conor’s captivating lyrics, “ Of love’s uneven remainders Our lives are fractions of a whole But if the world could remain within a frame Like a painting on a wall Then I think we’d see the beauty And stand staring in awe”, and it also boasts, what I believe to be, Conor’s most unique and original melody" make this review a bit of an eyesore to the purist.

I would suggest looking up how other writers make their writing seem tighter and "neater". One thing you could consider is placing slashes at the end of lyrical lines to indicate a lack of continuity.

-

That should be enough for you to work on for now. Do take heart in the fact that you are writing very well - especially if this was just your 7th review ever on this site. Do keep it up. Most readers with little over five reviews can't pen like this yet.


vmcoia91
May 31st 2011



555 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thank you so much for the feedback Irving! I definitely get some of the things you pointed out and I will work on them.



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