There’s a time in every modern indie rock teenagers life when they discover Bright Eyes and must decide whether they love or detest the gloomiest dream boy. The man behind the music, Conor Oberst, is such a cult icon of the scene, his striking black hair and pale face reminding us that it’s okay to be emotional. He gave, and gives, boys and girls alike the “ok” to cry. I came down on the love side of the conundrum; I’ve long enjoyed “emo” music, and Bright Eyes has always seemed like the perfect combo of indie and emo. Today I’m highlighting two of my favorites that showcase two sides of Bright Eyes.
First, probably *the* song that most people think of when they think of Bright Eyes: First Day Of My Life. The simple solo guitar chords slowly, sweetly compliment Oberst’s lo-fi, soft vocals. His voice wavers every so often, convincing the listener that Oberst is in love with them, and only them. The lyrics are so sweet it borders on cloying, but there’s such an honest quality to the song that I can’t help feeling that Oberst really does just love someone that much. The song also includes one of my all time favorite lines from a love song; “I’d rather be working for a paycheck than waiting to win the lottery.”
:Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life:
My second favorite song is another one of Bright Eyes more well-known efforts, Four Winds. Even though he hails from Northern climes, I’ve always thought that this song felt very “Texas.” This is after Oberst took a slightly more countrified turn. Those who are used to singer-songwriter Oberst may be surprised to hear a full band sound, and such a rich one at that. The fiddle is the star of this tune, but there are definitely a couple different layers at work here. The song is so versatile; sometimes it makes me wanna dance, and sometimes it makes me wanna cry. There is such a palpable yearning in his voice that is mirrored only in the slight whine of the strings.
:Bright Eyes – Four Winds:
I’ve definitely met my fair share of Bright Eyes haters. And sure, Oberst can be a little trite at times. But if you give it a chance, you might be rewarded with some of the most heart wrenching (you know, in a good way!) music you’ve heard in a long time.