My Formative Albums Of The 00’s No. 10: Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning
Of all of Conor Oberst’s many albums, this may be his best. Originally released in tandem with the dark electronic opus Digital Ash In A Digital Urn, the young singer-songwriter made history by hitting the top two slots in the billboard charts with songs released on different albums. Whereas Digital Ash provided the gloomy tales of death, I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning was an album about rebirth. It’s like he pressed the button labelled ‘widescreen’ on his musical arsenal, and his usual confessional lyrics and weedy voice are backed by expansive instrumentation and epic hooks.
This was also the first overtly political album in Oberst’s career.After he moved to New York, all the songs here become outlined by the shadow of the Bush administration and the fallout of 9/11. This is the sound of a young man coming to terms with a society that has failed him and his generation, and he is pretty fed up with it. But as with all albums under the Bright Eyes moniker, there are always a few heartbreaking/warming love songs. Lead single Lua is a fragile thing, gently fucked up in it’s own beautiful way. First Day Of My Life has lyrics Coldplay wish they could write. And Poison Oak is just crushing when you discover it’s a true story.
If you have any interest in Bright Eyes, I’m sure you have heard this album already. If not, then see what you think.