Released on November 1, 1999
Bright Eyes is one of the most prominent indie acts - for want of a better word - to be released upon our dismal country. Conor Oberst is incredibly prolific, and still remains to be, averaging at the very least one album/EP a year. The disc that I'm going to be discussing is one of his shorter works, but one of his best.
Every Day and Every Night is a mainly non-digital album that brings to mind some of Conor's earlier works, such as Letting Off the Happiness. It starts out with the haunting melody "A Line Allows Progress, A Circle Does Not" (3/5) - the title being only a taste of Conor's lyrical maturity and wisdom. "A Line Allows Progress..." is one of Conor's more personal songs, written about an unnamed person. "You stand near the sink while you're mixing a drink / you think you don't want to pass out / where your roomates will find you again." Much of Conor's writing is intensely personal, and this song is the very small tip of the iceberg. In fact, he even names some of the people he is talking about, like in track five "Neely O'Hara".
"Neely O'Hara" (5/5) is an angst-filled techno-ballad that talks of the problems in his life - his drinking, his smoking, his neurosis, etc. It addresses these things in an interesting way - through showing the symptoms of his problems, not discussing the actions involved. "In the morning when you throw up water/and your skin it turns a pale, pale yellow" obviously refers to his or somebody else's problems with alcohol. Few songwriters and artists have ever felt comfortable enough with themselves to write something like this, and even fewer have ever released that song. Just listening to this song - the random screaming in the background - shows you how much emotion Conor puts into his music.
"A Perfect Sonnet" (5/5) is a mid-tempo guitar piece that shows some of Conor's inner desires - or the longing to have an inner desire, if you will. This song starts out as an angsty piece of annoyance (to him, definitely not the listener), and then tunes down into submission - "Now I believe that lovers should be draped in flowers and layed entwined together on a bed of clover and left there to sleep, left there to dream of their happiness," whereas the beginning chorus is quite the opposite - talks about drowning aren't exactly the same as the last chorus.
"A New Arrangement" (3/5) is the definite worse song on this EP - it's an incredibly sad song when you listen to the music and the words, molding them together, though. It is probably the most emotional song on the album, and that seriously heightens my opinion of it.
"On My Way to Work" (5/5) is the most childish song on the album, vocally. Conor, when he was younger, showed some of that youth in his voice, and he regresses to that in this song. "Besides, we all are making money, and we are all fu**ing alone and we don't know what we're doing maybe just buying us some hope" is probably the second most prominent lyric of the album (the first being "no you are not" in track 5), and gives us the haunting feeling that he can connect with us; he's been there and back, and soon we will be too.
Conor Oberst - Guitar, Vocals, Sampler, Keyboards, Bass, Lyrics
Eric Bemberger - Electric Guitars
Tim Kasher - Backing Vocals
Joseph Knapp - Drum Set, Percussion, Vocals
Matt Maginn - Bass Guitars
AJ Mogis - Piano, Loops, Recording
Mike Mogis - Organ, Pedal Steel, Vibraphone, Keyboards, Percussion, Recording
Angelina Mullikin - Violin