When listening to Bright Eye's newest album, Cassadaga, it's hard to believe that Conor Oberst is almost exactly one year younger than me. He has a way of writing songs and lyrics that some artists twice his age can't manage to do, and weave heartfelt song writing with intriguing musical masterpieces. Yes, he's been penned as "rock's boy genius" by the music press, and there will always be those same haters out there that can't deal with it, but at the end of the day Conor's music stands not only for itself, but also the test of time.
With Cassadaga, Conor enlisted a slew of "who's who" to perform with him including Andy LeMaster (Now It's Overhead), Ben Kweller, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Janet Weiss (Sleater Kinney), Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley), John McEntire (Tortoise), M. Ward, Maria Taylor and Rachel Yamagata. It opens with the chilling "Clairaudients (Kill Or Be Killed)," featuring what sounds like a message from a woman talking about finding spiritual orbs or something like that. When "Four Winds" and "If The Brakeman Turns My Way" come on though, the album starts to take shape showcasing that '70s inspired alt-country rock that Conor does oh-so-well. These tracks sound like they could have come off '05s I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. By the time the crunchy "Hot Knives" plays, another side of Conor pops up, one with bright electric guitars (and steady acoustic ones), pulsating drums and huge strings. Oh yeah, and a story about a woman who can't hack it and decides to do something about it by changing into something else. Another highlight is an old live show favorite, the slowly building "I Must Belong Somewhere."
Conor proves with Cassadaga that he remains an old soul. This is his most polished record to date, but before you listen to the naysayers on it just think how cool it would be to hear Bright Eyes on a more mainstream level. Look out radio, you might have to put away those shit records for something quality.
"No One Would Riot For Less" MP3