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coverpic flag US - Nebraska - Full Moon 103 - 02/24/05

Bright Eyes
I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
Saddle Creek

Conor Oberst has hit the stars lately, as he's been pulled into the limelight and spotlight among celebrity big-shots. F.i. by R.E.M, Bruce Springsteen, and others during the election trail tour in the US last year. They didn't succeed in getting rid of the Texan chimpanzee. Maybe Conor for president should've been their slogan. It certainly seems Conor and his Bright Eyes shows wit and power. And some sort of Midas touch.

2005 is the year for Bright Eyes to present two albums at the same time. As a foretaste two singles were released last October - "Lua" from this album (and "Take it Easy (Love Nothing)" off Digital Ash in a Digital Urn). I'm Wide Awake... has mostly been hailed by the press as the album lifting Conor Oberst to become some "new bob Dylan" and whatever they say. And the album sure is rock solid. Not being rock as the genre but more like Bright Eyes roaming in folk-country territories. Yes, even the country queen/goddess herself, Emmylou Harris, appears on three songs on the album. I'm Wide Awake... holds ten songs and the quality is high throughout the album. With a nerve within, showing Conor Oberst's skills for writing touching and catchy melodies. Bearing the trademark Bright Eyes 'angst feel', mainly due to Oberst's vocals. But there are also softer, more utterly comforting parts inbetween. Such as the bouncy-waltzing ballad (with Emmylou) "We Are Nowhere and It's Now", the powerful and soulfilled "Old Soul Song", and the aforementioned single "Lua" - the latter with Conor's voice and guitar only.

Before putting on this album I imagined an all quiet, acoustic piece of record. But there are drums and rhythms. Yet the album is quite toned down, not being raw or rough. Except for Conor's voice now and then when he's letting out some steam. And of course the darkly melancholic lyrics. I'm Wide Awake... is good therapy if you're, like me, longing for sunny summer times. It somehow makes me feel good inside by my oven with a glass of port. Listening to the majestic beauty of "Train Under Water" or the stripped "Land Locked Blues" (another of the Emmylou tracks).

I'm Wide Awake It's Morning could be some secret sequel to a Long Day's Journey Into Night. Right now it's getting late and I'm feeling sleepy. As "Poison Oak" whispers and calls from my speakers. Before all of a sudden Bright Eyes decides to pull some end noise with the closing, err, title track "Road to Joy". Maybe "Lua" once more for a lullaby.

Distribution in Norway: Tuba!

Copyright © 2005 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Bright Eyes articles/reviews: Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, Fevers And Mirrors, Letting Off The Happiness, So What!, Oslo, 27.08.01.

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