Bright Eyes lightens up on ‘Digital,’ ‘Wide Awake, It’s Morning’

Seth Roy

Credit: Beth Rankin

Conor Oberst has consistently written thoughtful, imaginative songs throughout his career.

For the most part, the songs have been pretty, dark and depressing. They are always dense, with complex rhythms and melodies. No matter how good the actual music is, however, Oberst’s lyrics have always been his main attraction.

With Digital Ash In A Digital Urn, Oberst takes his music in a new direction while keeping the overall sound that people have come to expect from a Bright Eyes album.

Digital Ash, released simultaneously with I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, is a brilliant record.

There is a lot to listen to in every song; with each listen, another riff or beat reveals itself. The depth of the album is staggering.

Oberst’s shaky, yet somehow soothing voice is still in top form.

The biggest difference between this album and his others is that the music is much more upbeat, with some songs leaning to a poppier sound. But the album is still far from being considered mainstream.

The lyrics are just as poetic as ever. Some are still rather depressing, but they tend to be hopeful. Even on songs like “Down In A Rabbit Hole,” the lyrics may be laced with terror and sadness, but they also look forward to something new and better.

Each song is a little different and takes the reader in a new direction.

“Arc of Time” is the most optimistic I’ve ever heard from a Bright Eyes album, and has some of the most thought-provoking lyrics.

Other highlights on the album are the over-stuffed “Take It Easy (Love Nothing),” the punkish “I Believe In Symmetry” and the abstract “Ship In A Bottle.”

Digital Ash is Bright Eyes’ easiest album to listen to. The album grabs hold of its listener at the first track, and doesn’t let go till the end.

Contact Pop Arts writer Seth Roy at [email protected].