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Bright Eyes

Although many musicians have joined the band's rotating lineup, Bright Eyes is primarily the songwriting vehicle of Conor Oberst, a quivery-voiced Nebraska native who first attracted attention in 1994 -- when he was only 14 years old -- as the singer and guitarist for Commander Venus. Oberst proved to be a prolific musician, joining multiple bands (including Commander Venus, the Magentas, Park Ave., and Desaparecidos) while also co-founding Saddle Creek, an influential label that helped broadcast "the Omaha Sound" to a national audience. Nonetheless, he devoted most of his time to Bright Eyes, whose albums encompassed everything from folk to indie rock to electronica. Oberst eventually shifted his focus to the Mystic Valley Band in 2008, fueling rumors that he'd shelved the Bright Eyes project after ten years of activity.

Oberst had barely entered high school when he formed Commander Venus. Nonetheless, the teenager was a quick songwriter, and he soon amassed a number of songs that didn't gel with the rest of Commander Venus' catalog, 20 of which were compiled and released in 1998 as A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997, a solo record that doubled as Oberst's first release under the Bright Eyes moniker. Letting Off the Happiness followed several months later, featuring contributions from members of Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, and Tilly and the Wall. The album also marked the first collaboration between Oberst and producer/instrumentalist Mike Mogis, who would play an integral role in Bright Eyes' success going forward.

As Conor Oberst graduated from teenaged life to adulthood, his productivity increased. Bright Eyes' third release, Every Day and Every Night, appeared in 1999, followed by Fevers and Mirrors in 2000 and Oh Holy Fools in 2001. The Bright Eyes sound had expanded by this point, with Oberst finding room for flute, piano, and accordion in the band's music. The frontman also found room to pursue alternate projects, and he dedicated some time to Desaparecidos before returning to the studio with Mike Mogis in 2002. Lifted or the Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground was released that summer and proved to be Bright Eyes' breakthrough album, with Rolling Stone deeming it one of the year's best.

Bright Eyes released several EPs in 2004 -- including Home, Vol. 4, a collaboration with Spoon's Britt Daniel -- and rang in the following year with a pair of albums released on the same day: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (whose accompanying tour produced the Motion Sickness: Live Recordings disc) and the electronic-slanted Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, both of which cracked the Top 20 in America. Hailed by some critics as the next Dylan, Oberst supported the releases with a round of festival appearances and international shows before returning to the studio once more. Recorded in L.A., Chicago, New York, Omaha, and Portland, the follow-up effort Cassadaga was released in the spring of 2007, preceded by the Four Winds EP earlier that spring. Both releases featured full instrumentation -- including pedal steel, Dobro, xylophone, and orchestral swells -- making them some of Bright Eyes' most developed works to date.

Cassadaga debuted at number four in America and number 13 in the U.K., marking Bright Eyes' highest peak on either chart. Even so, Oberst followed such success by decamping to rural Mexico to work on his first solo effort in years. Recorded in a makeshift studio with a cast of musicians dubbed the Mystic Valley Band, Conor Oberst arrived in 2008. The project soon evolved from a solo effort into a full-band affair, and the Mystic Valley Band returned in 2009 with Outer South, an album that included songs written and sung by several of Oberst's bandmates. Bright Eyes returned in 2011 with People's Key, which was recorded in Omaha and produced by Mogis and Andy LeMaster. In 2013, A Christmas Album, which had originally been quietly issued in 2002 as a Saddle Creek online store exclusive, was finally scheduled for its first full commercial release. This unique holiday album featured a selection of Christmas standards performed in Bright Eyes' trademark bittersweet style, with help from a plethora of other Saddle Creek artists including members of Cursive, Desaparecidos, Neva Dinova, and Azure Ray. ~ Andrew Leahey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The People's Key

1. Firewall

2. Shell Games

3. Jejune Stars

4. Approximate Sunlight

5. Haile Selassie

6. A Machine Spiritual (In The People's Key)

7. Triple Spiral

8. Beginner's Mind

9. Ladder Song

10. One For You, One For Me

x

Track List: Cassadaga

1. Clairaudients (Kill Or Be Killed)

2. Four Winds

3. If The Brakeman Turns My Way

4. Hot Knives

5. Make A Plan To Love Me

6. Soul Singer In A Session Band

7. Classic Cars

8. Middleman

9. Cleanse Song

10. No One Would Riot For Less

11. Coat Check Dream Song

12. I Must Belong Somewhere

13. Lime Tree

x

Track List: Four Winds

1. Four Winds

2. Reinvent The Wheel

3. Smoke Without Fire

4. Stray Dog Freedom

5. Cartoon Blues

6. Tourist Trap

x

Track List: Noise Floor

1. Mirrors And Fevers

2. I Will Be Grateful For This Day

3. Trees Get Wheeled Away

4. Drunk Kid Catholic

5. Spent On Rainy Days

6. The Vanishing Act

7. Soon You Will Be Leaving Your Man

8. Blue Angels Air Show

9. Weather Reports

10. Seashell Tale

11. Bad Blood

12. Amy In The White Coat

13. Devil Town

14. I've Been Eating (For You)

15. Happy Birthday To Me (Feb. 15)

16. Motion Sickness

x

Track List: Digital Ash In A Digital Urn

1. Time Code

2. Gold Mine Gutted

3. Arc Of Time (Time Code)

4. Down In A Rabbit Hole

5. Take It Easy (Love Nothing)

6. Hit The Switch

7. I Believe In Symmetry

8. Devil In The Details

9. Ship In A Bottle

10. Light Pollution

11. Theme To Pinata

12. Easy Lucky Free

x

Track List: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

1. At The Bottom Of Everything

2. We Are Nowhere And It's Now

3. Old Soul Song (For The New World Order)

4. Lua

5. Train Under Water

6. First Day Of My Life

7. Another Travelin' Song

8. Land Locked Blues

9. Poison Oak

10. Road To Joy

x

Track List: Take It Easy (Love Nothing)

1. Take It Easy (Love Nothing)

2. Burn Rubber

3. Cremation

x

Track List: Lua

1. Lua

2. Well Whiskey

3. I Woke Up This Song In My Head This Morning

4. True Blue

x

Track List: Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground

1. The Big Picture

2. Method Acting

3. False Advertising

4. You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will.

5. Lover I Don't Have To Love

6. Bowl Of Oranges

7. Don't Know When But A Day Is Gonna Come

8. Nothing Gets Crossed Out

9. Make War

10. Waste Of Paint

11. From A Balance Beam

12. Laura Laurent

13. Let's Not S**t Outselves (To Love And To Be Loved)

x

Track List: There Is No Beginning To The Story EP

1. From A Balance Beam

2. Messenger Bird's Song

3. We Are Free Men

4. Loose Leaves

5. Bonus Track

x

Track List: Every Day And Every Night EP

1. A Line Allows Progress, A Circle Does Not

2. A Perfect Sonnet

3. On My Way To Work

4. A New Arrangement

5. Neely O' Hara

x

Track List: A Collection Of Songs Written And Recorded (1995-1997)

1. The Invisible Gardener

2. Patient Hope In New Snow

3. Saturday As Usual

4. Falling Out Of Love At This Volume

5. Exaltation On A Cool, Kitchen Floor

6. The Awful Sweetness Of Escaping Sweat

7. Puella Quam Amo Est Pulchra

8. Driving Fast Through A Big City At Night

9. How Many Lights Do You See

10. I Watched You Taking Off

11. A Celebration Upon Completion

12. Emily, Sing Something Sweet

13. All Of The Truth

14. One Straw (Please)

15. Lila

16. A Few Minutes On Friday

17. Supriya

18. Solid Jackson

19. Feb. 15th

20. The 'Feel Good' Revolution

x

Track List: Fevers And Mirrors

1. A Spindle, A Darkness, A Fever, And A Necklace

2. A Scale, A Mirror And Those Indifferent Clocks

3. The Calender Hung Itself...

4. Something Vague

5. The Movement Of A Hand

6. Arienette

7. When The Curious Girl Realizes She Is Under Glass

8. Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh

9. The Center Of The World

10. Sunrise, Sunset

11. An Attempt To Tip The Scales

12. A Song To Pass The Time

x

Track List: Letting Off The Happiness

1. If Winter Ends

2. Padraic My Prince

3. Contrast And Compare

4. The City Has Sex

5. The Difference In The Shades

6. Touch

7. June On The West Coast

8. Pull My Hair

9. A Poetic Retelling Of An Unfortunate Seduction

10. Tereza And Tomas

x

Track List: Motion Sickness

1. At The Bottom Of Everything

2. We Are Nowhere And It's Now

3. Old Soul Song

4. Make War Short

5. Make War

6. Scale

7. Landlocked Blues

8. Method Acting (Live)

9. Train Under Water

10. When The President Talks To God

11. Road To Joy (Live)

12. Mushaboom

13. True Blue

14. Southern State

15. The Biggest Lie

x

Track List: Shell Games (Radio Single)

1. Shell Games

x

Track List: When The President Talks To God

1. When The President Talks To God

Comments

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sonia_john_a r e l l a n o There are no bad words
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sonia_john_a r e l l a n o
I love this song but I hate the bad words
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Not a fan...sorry
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in polaroids you were dressed in women's clothes. were you made ashamed? why'd you lock them in a drawer?
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LOve their music.
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This song is called "Landlocked Blues", not "One Foot in Front of the Other".
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U
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Conor's voice and the mellow songs comfort me
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bubbellarae
This is the first song that made me feel like I have some sense of what I want in my future.
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id kill for a new Cassadaga
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spgraphics
the boxes I packed and the move I make is a choice of division made because of fact. the rest left behind is a chain made with out my bones.
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spgraphics
looked many boxes and as I packed left a few behind for you see, children need their lives.
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scorreia13
If our lives could remain
Within a frame
Like a painting on a wall
Then I think we'd see the beauty there
And stand staring in awe
At our still lives posed
Like a Bowl of Oranges
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in my 45 years of listening to music...Firs t Day of my Life is the most romantically written and beautifully played song i've ever heard.
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This is a really good song (first day of my life) and it kind of reminds me of Rhett and Link's "BFF" video on youtube
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Yes
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A Perfect Sonnet is neither perfect not a sonnet. It doesn't have to be, in the song he only refers to writing the perfect sonnet. It's very raw: a 4/4 predominantl y down stroking rhythm, accompanying sung/spoken cadence with iambic heptameter mirroring normal speech, verse exploding into shouted chorus reflecting the singers frustration at his inability to articulate his feelings, and actualize his desires. It's one of those songs you wish you had written.
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First day of my life, Man that song is just packed with emotion!
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Conor Oberst is the closest thing to Bob Dylan we will ever have. The singer/songw r i t e r that probes the depths of human experience. If a soul can be defined it would be via the lyrics of CB---and all its contradictio n s , paradoxes, beauty, ugliness, simplicity and complexity.
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simply excellent
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enzothebaker 9 9 I was with you until those last couple sentences.
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graylaurenr
tg
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Conor and Kurt Cobain are the best ever.
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Never noticed the similarity to Brock...good call!
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Don't walk away
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The lead singer kinda reminds me of Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse.
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trinosilvas
I love to listen to this song it brings back so many memories
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"If the brakeman turns my way," is the greatest track off "casadaga." That says a lot considering it is an album full of memorable sOngs. A song about transcendenc e : overcoming the brutal, finite, material world for something spiritual, and lasting. When will people learn? The Christian God is the Truth, the Way, and the Life. All else just falls away.
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this song makes me so happy and cry a little. so cute. so cute. I love First Day of My Life. Sometimes this is how I feel.
yup.
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this is gorgeous, the sound reminds me so much of death cab for cutie ❤️
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" Poison oak," is incredibly sad. bright eyes talent partially lies in his ability to tap into his emotions without sounding too maudlin. Very adult music. Mature . And "yes," comparisons to bob Dylan are valid and true.
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OMG this is how I feel. Right on!
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ravencode
Yours was the first face I saw...
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city and colour & bright eyes...the best music in existence.
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This man could be compared to Bob Dylan in my opinion.
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this song makes me cry
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lldendy
I actually prefer his brother's music. Matt Oberst was the frontman for Sorry about Dresden.
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Sweet ...
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I already liiiike youuuuuu .....
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This is a very sweet song ....
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Love them!!!
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Whoa.
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Oh Bright Eyes... :) :-)
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F**king love Conor.
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Kinda like the milk carton kids
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Mind blowing imagination
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When I was a teenager Conor's music often inspired me creatively as an artist. He was a role model of mine. I have so much respect for this guy and his music. Listening to his songs now - takes me right back to that time... so many memories.
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@biggrant7: I'm so sick of seeing derogatory homophobic slurs all over Pandora! I have friends who are gay & they have been hurt by hateful bigotry. It is NOT okay for people to say those things as an insult or as a joke among your straight friends e.g.,'That's so gay' or calling people 'f*gs & faggots'. You're not cool, you're an insensitive jerk. That goes for anyone who says these types of things, I don't care who you are. All decent people should speak out against it when they see & hear it.
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Nice geetar <------ notice the spelling is all weird hahaha I'm so funny
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I can't believe this song is still so beautiful
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