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Volume 68, Issue 16, Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Arts & Entertainment

Bright Eyes' latest a brilliantly composed album

By Cara Sarelli
The Daily Cougar

Conor Oberst is a busy man, but that could be expected from a musical, poetic genius.

From where his inspiration comes, no one can be completely sure. What fans can be sure of, though, is with all the talent that goes unrecognized, Oberst's purely evident love for what he does will prevail, and his name will be widespread.

Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, his most recent Bright Eyes album, is but one of countless releases of which he has been involved in the creation. It comes to delight those needing something musically substantial in mid-August.

Oberst's most recent album has been patiently awaited since its previous EP There's No Beginning to the End of the Story, released earlier this summer, contained one song from the upcoming album and a few non-album songs.

The Story shows off the dynamics of Oberst's talent, influences and career seriousness, perhaps more than anything he's ever done before. But he is known for pushing the envelope in the way he seems to challenge himself with each project and live up to its expectations.

"There's no beginning to the end of the story," Oberst says in its second chapter, "Method Acting." The story can only be told through music, but it is all around, breathing in everything. It is a story about life, love, friendship, identity and society.

Beautifully composed, the work has moments stemming from many influences, in an eclectic blend of country, folk, rock and oldies slow-dance tunes. The plot also takes twists and turns with its dynamics and varying, intricate time signatures.

Elements of the underlying themes found in movies like American Beauty, Moulin Rouge and Pleasantville can be found in The Story. The themes are demonstrated in lines from "Bowl of Oranges ": "Our lives are fractions of a whole/But if the world could remain within a frame like a painting on a wall/Then I think we would see the beauty/Then we would stand staring in awe at our still lives posed like a bowl of oranges/Like a story by the fault lines and the soil."

Often compared to Bob Dylan for his folky storytelling skills, it must be noted Oberst deserves a name of his own as an entertaining renaissance man. 

Bright Eyes began a United States tour in Nebraska on Sept. 10 and will be playing a much-anticipated show in Houston on Oct. 3 at The Engine Room. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at

For more information about Bright Eyes, go to

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