Haligh, Haligh, a lie, Haligh
Where did my love affair with Bright Eyes start? Was it on that balcony in Spain through the cheap broken headphones connected to a now broken mini-disc player? Or was it all those nights I stayed up 'til 7am on the internet? It was dial-up then. Every song had to be worth it. And how many Bright Eyes songs did I download that were woeful (no pun intended) - constructed with the most heartbreaking lyrics yet delivered with the most unlistenable voice?
Too few, it seems. Since that time three or four years ago, Conor Oberst has changed his sound a bit. He's become more versatile, able to deliver electronic renditions with a heart, and traditional country singer-songwriter tales with real emotion - not just the faux, take-it-or-leave-it pop kind associated with the style. And obviously, his vocals have become much more... mainstream? Less raw in any case.
But back then... A dog barks. A kid whines. Still young, still growing up, still melodramatic. Let your guard down and you'll feel the emotion. You won't write it off, as another piece of hipster chic. It's not another angsty anthem. It's genuine emotion; innocent, broken-hearted, strummed solemnly.
But now we speak with ruined tongues
And the words we say aren’t meant for anyone.
It’s just a mumbled sentence to
A passing acquaintance,
But there was once you.
Even if you hate his voice - and many do - you have to admit that his lyrics are breath-taking. I relate to that little excerpt quite a lot. It's a smile, a nod, and a turn away. Find a distraction quickly. Speak quietly and hope she doesn't hear you. You understand the way things are now; you were her best friend, now you're not. Are you unclear? Do you not understand how things ended up this way? Go on, let the guard down. Break it down through tears and alcohol. Let yourself be free of all your lies, just for this minute.
He says the choices were given
And now, you must live them
Or just not live,
But do you want that?
Bright Eyes - Padraic My Prince
* [this song is the definition of lo-fi intensity]
Elsewhere: Daytrotter has some excellent session songs by Casey Dienel. Not only is the writing on the site constantly excellent, but they also feature fabulous artists, and host exclusive tracks. Do you need reasons to like Casey Dienel? Ok. She's got a lovely voice. She's been compared to Regina Spektor. She covers Pavement as one of her session songs [...And now we see the flock follow the hyperlinks]. She sounds like this:
The La La Song
Intrigued? Discover her Daytrotter session.