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I'm Wide Awake It's Morning

Bright Eyes

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Album Review

Last time around, Conor Oberst — who for all intents and purposes, is Bright Eyes — shoved all of his interests into one long, overstuffed epic, but with the simultaneously I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, he separates the country-rock on the former and the messy modernistic indie rock on the latter, as if to counter the criticisms that he can't focus. I'm Wide Awake is designed as a nakedly honest singer/songwriter album, somewhat inspired by the classics of the genre in the '70s — he even recruits Emmylou Harris for some harmonies, hoping that some of the Gram Parsons' magic will rub off. Stripped of the careening, dramatic, arrangements of Lifted, Oberst's music seems simpler, and while his voice — a quavering bleat that's halfway between Feargal Sharkey and the Dead Milkmen's Rodney Anonymous — is an acquired taste; fans will find this to be his most direct album yet.

Biography

Formed: 15 February 1980 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Alternative

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

Although many musicians joined the band's rotating lineup, Bright Eyes was 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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