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March 22, 2005

{     Bright Eyes - Digital Ash In a Digital Urn     }    

Yeah, I know it's destined to be outshined by I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, but this other (less critically-adored) Bright Eyes release includes one of the most devastating new-wavish electro-pop tunes I've ever heard- "Arc of Time (Time Code)". It's also chock full of anthemic synth, catchy-ass melodies and all the raw self-concious charm that has become the trademark of frontman Conor Oberst. And it's just bursting at the seams with lucid and literate songwriting; here's a taste from the album's second track "Gold Mine Gutted"- "It was Don Delillo, whiskey neat and a blinking midnight clock. Speakers on a TV stand just a turntable to watch. Only smoke came out our mouths on all those hooded-sweatshirt walks. We were a stroke of luck. We were a gold mine that gutted us...." It would be a shame to pass this album by, simply because it was released on the same day as what will likely be viewed as the crowning achievement of the Oberst discography. Sure, Digital Ash isn't perfect, but it's far, far from forgettable. It holds incredible promise and expresses a range only hinted at by other Bright Eyes material. Here's to hoping that the digital flame is kept burning....

Comments

Why do I feel like I'm the only person that just can't stand that guy? And that haircut! Oh my god, I so hate that haircut....

(but I do like a few songs... fuck.)

Posted by: Shane at March 24, 2005 10:45 PM

Testes. Testes.

Posted by: Lindsey at March 24, 2005 10:47 PM

You're not alone, Shane. I got your back. Unfortunately, I do think that we're the only ones in this club (and yes, I, too, am embarassed to admit a few songs have gained my favor).
Its funny, the only performers I've ever seen get so intoxicated that they were forced off the stage are/were Conor Oberst and Ol Dirty Bastard. I once saw Bob Pollard drink probably the equivalent of two times Oberst's weight in Old Milwaukee and he was still more coherent then when I saw Bright Eyes. Homeboy couldn't even tune his guitar at the end of his set so he just walked off and left it.

Posted by: Eric at March 25, 2005 12:46 AM

...Adam, Sean is getting the bright eyes haircut tomorrow...

Posted by: Katie Laishley at March 25, 2005 5:14 AM

I just don't know....

Four years ago, this cat was the darling of a cult full of weepy wannabe indie-girls. He made their eyes as wet as he made their panties, and I was pretty content to write him off as just another emo-clown milking that crowd for all it was worth.

That's why this album so surprised me.

I mean really, fuck the guy making the album. Good haircut, bad haircut, I don't give a shit.
He's a poster boy, for sure, and this recording is just further proof that his real calling in life is writing Top 40 radio hits.
Instead of following that road, we'll likely get five more droning acoustic albums full of ironic irony and "I'm so sad" posturing. Oberst could spend the rest of his life trying to prove to me how wonderfully profound and miserable he is, but I'll always know that at heart he's much better at writing upbeat pop tunes than he is at playing the mascaraed ne'er-do-well.

Posted by: Adam at March 25, 2005 4:13 PM

Conor displays wisdom and bitter honesty about his pains.. as most all of us should do ourselves.. you want to cry for him and be a better, stronger person listening to him. Johny Oxen must have been a good man.. if you held off to listen to this album after you absorbed "I am wide awake" you are in for quite a lovely surprise. "Freedom Yells.. it don't cry.. whatever sells, will decide. There is no hell when you die so don't look so worried... " Hell yeah Conor!

Posted by: Rob Stenta at April 18, 2005 3:07 AM

Easy/Lucky/Free is gem as far as im concerned. Even the way the album opens is very memorable. But im very biased I love bright eyes even the early stuff most people consider unlistenable.

Posted by: Scott Perdue at April 18, 2005 6:09 PM

Concept albums are so refreshing when it comes to music. Its reassuring to find an album that leaves me thinking for weeks, trying to make sense of how the songs tie together. Anyone can write a song, but it takes someone whos got something to say to compose something as beautifully honest as 'digital ash'. Connor Oberst is a brilliant lyricist/songwriter with the ability to interact with subjects like death, God and hedonsim. Digatal Ash may be the best album i have ever come across- the main reason being his hair.

Posted by: charly at April 20, 2005 10:44 PM

who the fuck cares what the fuck his hair looks like. the guy can write.

Posted by: lily at April 10, 2006 4:37 PM

OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME! how can you not stand him. FUCK YOU!

Posted by: yeahh at March 7, 2007 1:16 AM
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