When you think of Bright Eyes,
what comes to mind? Well most of the natural details can be named here easily: tinny, cracking voice, insufficient and girlish physique, timpani, and unbearably emotional lyrical work. His voice does nothing to prevent that so, of any Indie musician of modern day
it’s unlikely one can match Conor’s excessively unhappy voice. His emotion captures a legion of listeners and forges a wall around them, becoming a group unto which was bestowed…the ability to both take in and understand ‘Bright Eyes’. A very controversial (when it comes to the music, not actual physical activity) type of music they write, Bright Eyes is one of the more ‘experimental’ groups you can dig up these days, for lack of a better word. I say this because mostly Conor’s organization likes to employ everything you expect in different ways, to the point where it’s so unlikely and innovative that you just can’t help in listening. To call out a few of these things, a lot of the time horns are popular amongst the band, semi-hollow body guitars, large drum sets, and various other stringed instruments. Seen it all before, right? Yep. Heard it all before? No. Not when it comes to Bright Eyes. On this album the band asks themselves (or rather Conor) what can they do to make a formulaic song into a very influentially awesome track? The band sounds as though they should be the leaders of an imminent Indie revolution. Unfortunately this is not the case and Bright Eyes, whilst prominently glowing with positive energy can’t seem to grasp everyone. We all know (or rather, should
) that certain music isn’t for everyone, and opinions count verily. But it’s sad. Bright Eyes are such a clearly potential racking group, and they together (Conor isn’t the only mastermind, although, he may seem that way in the studio he can’t hold his own on stage) created a bowl of intrigue with this one.
The best parts of a Bright Eyes album come in different forms, the most highly showcasing being above all lyrics,
guitars, and those jazzy instruments they incorporate a hell of a lot of the time. Oh. And vocals, as well (of course). Conor is a very shady character, or so he likes us to think, so he enjoys putting this attitude in his music. Obviously it shows to an extent, but the deeper you listen you can see something so very touching, and gut twistingly beautiful.
A Line Allows Progress, A Circle Does Not
is the album’s kickoff tune. Its very good, in fact was at one point my favorite Bright Eyes song. It ties in very well with the rest of [i]Every Day and Every Night[i] like the entire album does to itself. If you listen to this song, I guarantee you a good idea of what Bright Eyes is all about. It’s pretty unlikely to not get that feel from most any of his songs, but this one definitely stands out as one of his gems. A fine representation of his signature acoustic guitar style, very mellow and dreary, accompanied by a both high pitching and low, sad voice courtesy of Conor. See, his songs are like AC/DC’s and Nick Drake’s in a sense; that they really sound very alike, but at the same time find a source to build upon that makes it that much different than all his other songs. A different message being conveyed with the same theme, under the same influence, at the same place by the same person. But it’s a diary of sorts. All of his albums can relate to that, exactly as, he writes diaries and makes them into music. Like a true emo (no, no no…).
What I think was the man’s goal on this record was to establish a scheme for the rest of his career. If you’ve ever given his first two records a chance, then you’ll see, there wasn’t much modern Conor going on there. More of a ‘Neutral Milk Hotel’ kinda thing. But now he seems to accept that he wants to be a modern-day Bob Dylan and writes songs that can be a hell of a lot of fun on a stage, and that draw outlines for his future. Conor and company likely knew what he was going to do, and what he wanted so they massaged his dreams and created a very interesting concept.
A Perfect Sonnet
is a prime example of what to expect from the majority of the record. Really, its not much, just acoustic/hollow guitars following a straying minute voice that is Conor himself. Its so emotional though, and like many of Bright Eye’s best work finds a way from your ears to your face. By face, I mean, when you feel upset emotion your body naturally expresses it through your facial deposits by rushing blood to your cheeks and emanting salty water out of your eyes. When they’re busy welling up Conor is in the studio, smiling for he has accomplished what he desires. To get feedback through his fan’s personalities. Now, APS seems like the one ballad on the album to try and do that. It’s content is like once ripping the heart right out of Conor himself and he retires to his home to recite the day beforehand. A love story so it seems but it may not be at once, you know? All of his songs sound like they’re conveying loving feelings but likely it’s a joke. Or perhaps we just misinterpreted his lyrics? Following the acoustic trend is On My Way To Work.
Does it worse than all the others, I must say. Except for the fact that it creates the only true upbeat feel for the entire album, and still Conor manages to make you think in that dark corner of your mind trying to come up with the meaning. But obviously, this track is not a highlight, shown by it’s clear representation of everything generic and begins to show Conor and the listeners that yes, the man can indeed make filler. When the band breaks out into chorus its like you want to just tell the guy, no.
Massive failure. Man, it really isn’t working for you. Shame is what should bring on Conor after writing this song, ‘cause I know on an album so brief it doesn’t deserve to contain a track so mediocre and boring. A snooze-fest. Conor’s voice is not as exceptional as it could have been and falls short of the huge standard set by him after the first two songs. This is not up to par and uses cliché guitar and voice attack, employing an overdone BE riff (they sound bizarrely similar at some points) under a painfully obvious Conor display. Clearly not the upside, definitely, one of Bright Eye’s worst. Which still manages to redeem itself somehow. I’ll admit, nothing on this album isn’t worth in the least, ‘checking out’. Just be forewarned that this song is about as generic Bright Eyes gets.
A New Arrangement,
indeed. Well not so much. Yes, what are you thinking; it sounds just like all the others on the album? To an extent. Well…all right, admittedly I feel the album has a concept, in a way, when it comes to Conor’s writings. Much like a poetry book, a theme exists but still for an album poetry is not necessary, nor does it come through all that well. When you make a song it needs to have proper structure, and whilst Bright Eye’s multiple tracks feel like they were built on a steady base they tend to stray off into a dank, dreary field of nothingness and drag on with a sallow vibe just bouncing off the walls, like a mellow kid on cocaine. ANA relates to this in almost a brotherly way. Which comes to an odd ultimatum, as its sibling of this album Neely O’Hara
swallows the rest of the albums pretentious action and warps into a synthesized anthem of negativity. Conor exerts to his finest vocal form on here, and still being pretty produced you can tell that he gave his voice that extra push that it needed. With tortured hollers and gothic drawling this track ends the record perfectly with a very dark room feel. It puts you in a situation, or paints such an accurate picture in your mind that its near impossible to feel swirling emotion when listening to NO’H in the correct setting. I mean, just get in the right mood and relax, listen to the album as a whole. You’ll know what I mean.
Delusions, visions, emotions, and incantations in your mind to make you think like Conor does, interpret as best you can and cry as much as possible are his goals. They are the Bright Eye’s goal, and still being one of the downers in the Conor Collection, Every Day and Every Night
pertains to everything they initially stood for and have been asking of their fans. On this album, the band doesn’t work as much as a group as they’re likely accustomed to performing, instead handing the mic to Conor and letting him do all the talking. Like an over-aggressive musician during an interview, stealing everyone’s heart with his witty comments and detailed descriptions of his/her songs, greatly overshadowing the rest of the band and letting in merely one or two pieces of feedback from said group. But lo and behold, we’re dealing with Bright Eyes
here, listeners just like me should not expect much else than Conor. Bright Eyes is Conor, and Conor is Bright Eyes. And boy, does it show on this album. More so I’d say than any of the other works (with perhaps the exception of ‘Fevers and Mirrors’, but at least the band played on that one). But I digress, supposedly this is simply Conor’s attitude towards his music. A control freak reminiscent of Billy Corgan, but in Indie form with the lack of a money-hungry producer with a vision for absolute perfection (not slamming Siamese Dream,
boys, but admit it). Still, when was perfection a bad thing? Its not. Wherever it appears on this album you can sense it. Conor’s obsession with his life and music intertwined is the theme of all of his work (like the Indie version of Eminem). While the production and gloomy side of EDAEN should have brought the songs up a notch, they did, but that notch was moved from a possible 10 to about a 7 because simply…all the songs sound alike. With the exception of the electronica-esque ‘Neely O’Hara’. The greatest songs come in the smallest packages, sometimes. This is no exception:
A Line Allows Progress, A Circle Does Not
The opener and closer. Only tracks worth your time if your looking for a different side of Conor’s songwriting, or just to experiment with the various sounds he progresses in delivering. Two tracks on an album that seemingly redeem it doesn’t do that as much as some would like to think. A lack of the rest of the band takes this from a possible classic to a good, solid album, but really, any Bright Eyes work doesn’t deserve to be thought down upon in a musical way. You’ll find something interesting here, like all his other work, its just up to you on whether your going to like it or not.
Conor Oberst singer/songwriter/guitarist/various instrumentalist
and Bright Eyes