Friday, March 18, 2005

I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

There was a time when music critics would have anointed Bright Eyes's frontman Conor Oberst...with his earnest, ragged voice (self-mocked at one point with the couplet,"I could have been a famous singer, if I had somebody else's voice"), the sparkling seriocomic wordplay of his lyrics, and his powerful feel for enticing the "New Dylan".

Luckily for Oberst, the critics finally got hip to the fact that nobody was looking for a new Dylan since the old one was still alive and kicking and still making good to great (and sometimes even downright wonderful) records and so, reluctantly one supposes, they stopped anointing people.

This collection is ragged, heartfelt, wryly poetic, insanely catchy and utterly engaging...from the wistful opening of "At the Bottom of Everything" to the controlled cacophony of the coda to the closing rocker "Road to Joy".

Extra points for bringing in the peerless Emmylou Harris to sing harmony on three cuts.

Cool beans all the way round.

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