The Last Word: Taking A Look At Bright Eyes

Brian Raftery | April 10, 2007 9:51 am

(Ed. note: What used to be Idolator’s Record-Review Revue is now The Last Word, a weekly feature in which we round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the week’s biggest new-music reviews. Today’s entry is Bright Eyes’ just-released Cassadaga):

– “There are hints of private chronicles: rehab in ‘Cleanse Song,’ an abortion in ‘Lime Tree,’ the ‘constant compromise’ of growing up in ‘Middleman.’ Mr. Oberst still has aphoristic moments: in ‘Soul Singer in a Session Band,’ he sings, ‘I was a hopeless romantic/Now I’m just turning tricks.’ He is clearly searching for a more mature style. But the musical and rhetorical convolutions of ‘Cassadaga’ are no substitute, yet, for the way he used to blurt things out.” [New York Times] – “Oberst, always precocious, clearly has the knack for a strong hook and a well-turned phrase (see ‘Hot Knives’ and ‘Classic Cars’). Still, Cassadaga’s sound is at times too mature — a staid boomer suit fit too loosely on his Gen-Y frame. (An exception? ‘Make a Plan to Plan to Love Me,’ a Spector-tinged dream of girl-group coos.) Guests like Gillian Welch and M. Ward lack the impact of Emmylou; their contributions are quieter, if no less accomplished. And that’s okay: In the end, Cassadaga is about Oberst — and the country that made him.” B+ [Entertainment Weekly] – “If [Oberst] would address the political through this personal lens, exploring his own complicity in the military-industrial complex he currently lambastes from a false outside perspective, he might arrive at commentary that’s more about insight and confrontation than moral flattery. 6.0” [Pitchfork]