Posted by: ericclark | August 25, 2008

Solo album from Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes showing staying power

Conor Oberst

I’ve been a fan Bright Eyes since 2002’s “Lifted,” but I have to admit that the band’s last three albums – 2005’s “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning” and “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn,” and 2007’s “Cassadaga” – didn’t  have much staying power with me.

I liked each of those albums when I first heard them, but they didn’t stay in heavy rotation for more than a few weeks, and I haven’t listened to them since.

However, I’ve gotten enough enjoyment out of Bright Eyes over the years that I still closely follow the group. When I heard Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst was releasing a solo album this year, I wasn’t exactly excited, but I figured I’d pick it up anyway.

I’ve been listening to Oberst’s self-titled solo debut for about three weeks now, and I have a feeling this one is going to have more staying power than Bright Eyes’ recent releases.

One of the strengths of Oberst’s solo album is its tight focus. While most Bright Eyes albums pile on the instruments, here Oberst works with a small alt-country band. The album’s 11 songs all have a similar tone, making it the most cohesive album Oberst ever has put out.

Oberst’s solo album reminds me of other stripped-down outings from well-known musicians, like Beck’s “Mutations” or Sufjan Stevens’ “Sevan Swans,” two albums I come back to all the time.

Check out the zany video for Oberst’s first single, “Souled Out!!!”:

Or have a listen at Oberst’s MySpace page.

What do you think?

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