The People’s Key.

6 Dec

“We don’t try to do anything other than follow our interests, which are obviously a moving target.”, says Bright Eyes founder Conor Oberst about his recent changes in musical direction. The People’s Key is professed by Oberst to be his last album under the moniker Bright Eyes, and leaves the band’s trademark folk/country genre for a very much more contemporary and electronic sound.*

The People’s Key is good, solid indie music which is moderately electronic (in both its instrumental and its vocals), littered with slightly cryptic and thought-provoking lyrics and sufficiently bizarre and interesting to listen to for its aural motif of a deep-voiced, new age philosopher preaching love and unity.

The philosopher’s deep voice, American accent and sermon-like mode of address  lend him the sound of the archetypal American fundamentalist Christian evangelist, which both legitimizes and delegitimizes the philosophical concepts discussed by this new age preacher. The presentation of new-age musings in sermon format can either (or both) be making a statement about this new-ager’s legitimacy by portraying him as a figure of religious authority, or question the solidity of his claims by painting him with the same brush as that of American fundamentalist and televangelist Christians.

Regardless of intent, however, the preacher/philosopher/new-ager’s statements are thoughtful and interesting, and add to the meaning of the album’s music by constructing an intellectual/spiritual context within which it is to be presented and absorbed.

Bright Eyes founder Conor Oberst

“Ladder Song” is a beautiful masterpiece of alienation, homogeneity and losing track of what life is really supposed to be about. Its instrumental is bare-boned and acoustic, its piano melody is haunting, its vocals relatively unprocessed (always a plus for me, as you may have noticed), and its lyrics cutting.

Although for many die-hard Bright Eyes fans the new and final album may be a desecration of the old-Bright Eyes sound, The People’s Key(at the very least) makes interesting listening for the first-time hearer of the band.


Post Scriptum: I got four hours of sleep last night and then proceeded to waitress for eight hours today. I’m sorry if your eyes are burning from how terrible this review may be.


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