Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst | Merge
By DAVID BOFFA  |  August 26, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
Conor Oberst isn’t really known for writing uncomplicated pop tunes — some might call his elaborate songwriting in Bright Eyes pretentious — though before his Desaparecidos days, he wasn’t known for writing punk songs and admonishing US foreign policy, either. Oberst’s somber lyricism on “Eagle on a Pole” sounds familiar: “Ashes from the dead/Like a dandelion head/Exploding and then are scattered by the breeze.” And depressing tales are pervasive — “Danny Callahan” tells the story of a supposed leukemia patient. But any comparisons with Bright Eyes end here. Few studio tracks are utilized on this homonymous solo release: an electric lead guitar and Rhodes piano accompany the country-fried bass, drums, and acoustic rhythm guitar on “Moab,” and jokes about “Looking like a girl in a gown” are cracked over rockabilly piano leads and 2/4 drums in “I Don’t Want To Die (in the Hospital).” It’s just an Omaha boy playing some good old country pop — for once.
Related: Bright Eyes, The man and the band, Indie springs forward, More more >
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