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The People's Key

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iTunes Review

Conor Oberst had far too much weight put on him at an early age. He’s spent most of his career trying to diffuse expectations while still crafting music that speaks from his heart and soul. By recording with his Bright Eyes buddies — Nate Wolcott and Mike Mogis — Oberst quickly reaches the comfort zone. “Jejune Stars” and “Triple Spiral” capture Oberst’s ebullient bounce with cheesy keyboards and beats borrowed from an ‘80s new-wave disco ensemble. “Beginner’s Mind” adds even more reverb for a plush Depeche Mode-like dream. “Approximate Sunlight” turns to doom-laden, stripped-down indie rock with the crashing of radio waves opening the space. It’s a Midwestern indie-rock band’s interpretation of reggae. Rastafarian spiritual ideas can be heard laced throughout the album. “A Machine Spiritual (In the People’s Key)” is a futuristic Oberst recalling the Clash’s Joe Strummer during his Sandinista! period. Texas musician Randy Brewer contributes rambling spoken- word pieces that serve as dramatic devices, introducing the album’s “Firewall” and closing up “One for You, One for Me”.

Customer Reviews

The album art is right, Conor is on fire!

I'm a bit surprised at the brilliance of this album. Obviously Conor Oberst is a prodigious talent but I worried that he had used up the majority of his genius with that career defining double-release of 'I'm wide awake it's Morning' and 'Digital Ash in a Digital Urn' back in 2005. For me, Cassadega just wasn't on the same level - it was good but that country twinge to the songs wasn't my cup of tea.

The People's Key is much more in line with the vibe of 'Digital Ash in a Digital Urn' - so if you liked that abum, this is essential listening. It is as good, if not better than the aforementioned album - with 5 or 6 killer tracks to convince you that Bright Eyes still has a lot left in the tank! Speaking of Killers - fans of this band, or even the Cure might find something to like in The People's Key - as the catchy anthemic melodies are delivered with aplomb throughout this stunning record.

I think I'll be waiting a while to find a better album released this year. Bravo!


I'm a Bright Eyes fan but didn't like their last album as much as their earlier works, however this seems to go back to bright eyes foundations. I absolutely love this album, i listened to their stream online and found myself buying it a couple of days later. Immense album worth getting into.

Rasta tinged folk rock

Replacing the cold synth of 'Digital Ash' with some warm moog, 'People Key' is a return to form after some satisfactory but safe side projects. Replacing Christian imagery with ideas borrowed from Rastafarianism, Oberst lovingly rips up the text like a bookish obsessive. Perhaps not his best record but easily the warmest.


Formed: 1995 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

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...
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