I’ve never been a Bright Eyes fan. I don’t know if it was the massive super hype that the media have always given Conor Oberst, the fact that everyone seems to think he’s ‘dreamy’ or maybe his natural gloomy style of writing. So when I got hold of ‘The People’s Key’ I was prepared to be both simultaneously unimpressed and depressed.
Surprisingly neither happened. Conor has announced that this will be the last album under the Bright Eyes moniker, and it appears as though he wanted to go down a different route. Throughout the album has some spooky ramblings from some tramp or other which is pretty standard for Bright Eyes really, but the album itself isn’t really standard at all.
Unexpectedly the album has a seriously upbeat tempo that is pretty weird for Bright Eyes. Jejune Stars and Shell Games are dancey enough to be from any mainstream indie pop band, not the vanguard of moody indie/alternative. Haile Selassie bounces along like a baby lamb packed full of biblical references leading into A Machine Spiritual (In the People’s Key) (where the album takes its title) which slows things down before picking them up again. A method repeated through the album.
My favourite track has to be the finale of the album, One For Me, One For You. Its a simple but beautifully heartfelt song that seems to round off the album, and indeed the band in an elegant and consummate way.
I was recently watching a HBO special documentary on Bruce Springsteen with footage of him and the E Street Band whilst they were in the studio writing The Darkness on The Edge of Town. It gave me a real appreciation for both the hard work that ‘The Boss’ put into his songs as well as a new found enjoyment of his music. In a similar way, this album has really helped me find a new respect for Conor and the Bright Eyes band, its just ashame thats come with their last album.
You can stream the whole album using the link below.
4 crumbles (rhubarb crumble with custard – yum!)