With the seventh Bright Eyes release, The People’s Key, Conor Oberst’s voice has grown more confident than ever before. The 10-track release begins with a trippy monologue by Denny Brewer of Refried Ice Cream about the why the world is the way it is.
“Shell Games” has a catchy chorus as well as a beautiful piano intro. The drum rolls and guitar start off “Jejune Stars“ caught my attention immediately. The dialogue exchange between Laura Burhenn and Andy LeMaster adds an experimental vibe to “Approximate Sunlight” that really completes it. “Hailie Selassie,“ the halfway point on the collection, is the weakest song. The way Oberst delivers his lyrics and the way he awkwardly enunciates certain words is what makes the piece lose some of its potential.
The second half of the CD starts off a bit rough. “A Machine Spiritual (The People’s Key),” is another track that doesn’t meet expectations. Lyrically the song is great, but I’m not a fan of the delivery.
“Triple Spiral” and “Beginner’s Mind,” on the other hand, are two of my favorite tunes on the album; I could listen to both all day. The final two cuts on the disc, “Ladder Song” and “One For You, One For Me” are placed perfectly on the record. “Ladder Song” is melancholy yet hopeful and “One For You, One For Me,” has a pro-equality message. The final track left me in a positive mood because of Brewer’s point, that knowledge is the key to enlightenment, and how love, compassion and mercy is needed for the human race to grow and prosper. This could take the place of I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning as my favorite Bright Eyes release.
In a Word: Marvelous