Recommend if you like: Bright Eyes, Bob Dylan, gratuitous harmonica solos
Expectation: Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst is a indie rock musician with heavy folk influences. Oberst reportedly recorded all songs playing by himself in a period of 48 hours.
- Barbary Coast (Later) – Easily my favorite track on the album, Oberst’s performance absolutely sells the song. The gentle rise and fall of the guitars volume make the song feel alive, emphasizing the organic, rootsy sound that permeates the whole album.
- Counting Sheep – Another track where less is more. The simple, childish melody of the verses contrasts the obvious pain in Oberst’s lyrics, emphasizing how hard he tries to seem “easy, agreeable”.
- The Rain Follows the Plow – While Oberst’s quivering vibrato was at first off putting, a few listens later it had become one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Overall: There is barely a hint of rock in this album, but it works. Oberst made a folk album, and its pretty good. The lyrics are nothing incredible, but they’re not bad. Oberst isn’t the best singer, but his voice works for the style of music. The album has a very clear sense of identity, and Oberst’s commitment to this identity allows the album to make up for many of its shortcomings.