In early 2005, young indie icon Conor Oberst (AKA Bright Eyes) unveiled two full-length albums--I'M WIDE AWAKE, IT'S MORNING and DIGITAL ASH IN A DIGITAL URN. Whereas the latter proved to be a departure into electronic music, the former sticks to Oberst's established sound, which combines the urgency and heart-on-the-sleeve sentiment of emo-rock with twangy, down-home feel of alt-country and folk music.
I'M WIDE AWAKE begins with Oberst telling a story that morphs into "At the Bottom of Everything," a jangly, upbeat tune featuring My Morning Jacket's Jim James on backing vocals. Throughout the record, Oberst reaches nearly hysterical peaks, seemingly overcome with emotion as his wavering voice, which often recalls Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano, veers almost, but not quite, out of control. Oberst's eccentric vocal delivery makes his pairings here with ever-graceful harmony singer Emmylou Harris intriguing, particularly on the rambling shuffle of "Another Travellin' Song." Although Oberst manages to work up plenty of energy on some tracks, the quieter tunes, including the dreamy New York City narrative "Lua," are the album's highlights, revealing hushed melodies that showcase his maturing songcraft.
- Released: 11/18/2016
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Pop