Conor Oberst
Upside Down Mountain


4.0
excellent

Review

by theamazingjamez USER (9 Reviews)
May 27th, 2014 | 24 replies


Release Date: 05/19/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's 3 PM, but I'm still wide awake.

Confession: I never really could get into Bright Eyes. Sorry. I really wanted to. I have attempted several times, but I never have seemed to be able to get into their albums. I am not by any means saying that Bright Eyes is bad. “At The Bottom of Everything” and “First Day of My Life” are great songs, do doubt about it. But, all in all, I feel that their music in general is just too choppy for me to enjoy (which, come to think about it, is probably the point). Maybe I’ll try again. I really want to like them, but, having listened to little of their music, I can’t make a fair judgment. I might have passed this Oberst solo effort by, but I heard it was pretty good. The longing for liking Bright Eyes came back into my heart, and so I would decide that I would give Upside Down Mountain a try. When I finally found time to sit back and listen to this one, I was not disappointed.

I don’t know too much about Bright Eyes or any other band that Conor is in, but it seems like the lineup is always Conor Oberst and his Ever Changing Line-Up of Fellow Musicians. Knowing that Bright Eyes covers a wide range of genres, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Upside Down Mountain. The first track is “Time Forgot.” So it is that good ol’ folk rockin’. However, it seems that Oberst by himself had a different goal this time around. It seems that Oberst seeks a richer fuller sound, with not only acoustic guitar, but slide, power chords, synths, trumpets, ambient piano and backing choirs, contrasting with Bright Eyes’ acoustic attack. Overall, the beginning of the album is pretty good. “Time Forgot” is a decent opener, and “Zigzagging Towards the Light” is one of the better songs on the record.

So, throughout Upside Down Mountain Conor is rolling along doing his thing, singing about all of his relational troubles, and I am actually starting to enjoy myself. It felt good. However, I was not prepared for what was soon to come. Near the latter part of the record there is a song entitled, “You Are Your Mother’s Child.” This song’s sheer simplicity and power was nearly overwhelming. The most interesting thing is that the topic of the song is one of the most cliché topics you could have in an acoustic folk song. Yet, somehow, Oberst seems to make even clichés sound good with this track. “You Are Your Mother’s Child” quietly and calmly screams in your face to shut up and listen. I stopped what I was doing at the time, and had all my attention focused on that track.

The momentum from “You Are Your Mothers Child” carries through to the end of the album. The last five tracks contain some of the better end of folk tunes, especially “Desert Island Questionnaire.” Upside Down Mountain might have been a 3.5, but that last section bumps it to a 4. Good job, Conor! Maybe I’ll finally go and listen to I’m Wide Awake all the way through, but for now, I’m content with “Zigzagging Towards the Light.”



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Conor Oberst

Outer South


Comments:Add a Comment 
sharkmsc
May 27th 2014


137 Comments


*no doubt.
Good job

Ire
May 27th 2014


41948 Comments


bright eyes is shitty this prob is too

theamazingjamez
May 27th 2014


35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Actually, I liked this one considerably better than most Bright Eyes tunes I've listened to. I've been a fan of Bright Eyes, but this one's pretty good.

Veldin
May 27th 2014


2981 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Enjoyed this quite a bit. Time Forgot and Common Knowledge are instant classics and there's a handful of excellent songs strewn throughout.

Feather
May 28th 2014


3959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is not true at all.



"It seems that Oberst seeks a richer fuller sound, with not only acoustic guitar, but slide, power chords, synths, trumpets, ambient piano and backing choirs, contrasting with Bright Eyes’ acoustic attack."



Because you explicitly say that you havn't listened to much Bright Eyes I understand why you think this (you have propably only tried to listen to I'm Wide Awake). Bright Eyes very often has incorporated all of these elements into their music. Hell, when they released "I'm Wide Awake" they released "Digital Urn" on te same day which was a predominently electronic album.

Feather
May 28th 2014


3959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Regardless, good review.

theamazingjamez
May 28th 2014


35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the advice.

AliW1993
May 28th 2014


7511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nothing new here, but for me it's Oberst's best record in quite a while.

Cygnatti
July 14th 2014


32012 Comments


http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/conor-oberst-rape-accuser-i-made-up-lies-to-get-attention-20140714

well who woulda fuckin' thought?

Couchpotato123
September 22nd 2014


3 Comments


This is a good solid, objective review. Nicely done.

NorthernSkylark
September 22nd 2014


8669 Comments


hmm, still need to jam this - liked that one single tho

Digging: Gang of Youths - Go Farther in Lightness

iamamanfromspace
December 30th 2014


1030 Comments


Love the lyrics on Time Forgot and also Artifact #1

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2016


19702 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this album is ok. wonder if his new one is good

Feather
October 30th 2016


3959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like the new one, but its about the same level as this. He needs Bright Eyes.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2016


19702 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah i agree Conor is cool by himself but he writes such great songs that usually need a solid backing band

Feather
October 30th 2016


3959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

100% agree

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2016


19702 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

is Bright Eyes finished tho as a project? whats the status of that?

Feather
October 30th 2016


3959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah, they disbanded in 2011

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
October 30th 2016


19702 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

damn didnt know they were done for good just figured Conor was exploring other projects for a bit

Feather
October 31st 2016


3959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think he decided to just fully close that project. Tbh their two best releases were lifted and wide awake, they were growing a little irrelevant.



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