Fragile and lonely
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 12/20/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Conor Oberst is probably among the more underrated indie artists out there, with his raw, intelligent songs. Now as a prelude to the next full length Bright Eyes album, "Lua" is released -- heartbreak, today-is-the-first-day exuberance, and much more. Only four songs long, but worth it.
"Lua" opens the single, a fragile little guitar melody full of Oberst's wounded vocals. The poor guy always sounds a little hung over, and a lot depressed. "We might die from medication/but we sure killed all the pain/what was normal in the evening/by the morning seems insane," he sings, before launching into singing so trembly you expect to hear him sob.
With a song that emotional and raw, it's a bit of a shock to hear the countryish "Whiskey Well." No, wait, make that a HUGE shock. But after getting through that song, it seems normal enough to hear "I Woke Up With This Song In My Head This Morning," a rollicking pop tune about not being upset about a breakup. (Oberst even says that he's going to melt his ex's record into an ashtray or candy basket). Finally there is "True Blue," a whimsical little song which seems to be trying to use the word "blue" as many times as possible.
Most singles are a good song with a few mediocre ones attached. "Lua" isn't one such single. Instead it's a pretty good display of what Bright Eyes is capable of -- funny songs, depressed songs, whimsical songs, and songs that drip with joie de vivre.
Oberst does all the instrumentation on two of the songs, playing guitar, piano and keyboards. For the other two songs, he just does vocals and guitar. In "Whiskey Well" there's a pleasant mishmash of banjo and harmonica over the basic rock music; while "I Woke Up..." is ruled by solid guitar and percussion and a bit of sizzly bass.
Conor Oberst sounds like he was writing poetry, and decided to set them to music. The only exception is "I Woke Up...", which was written by someone else; it shows, because it lacks the passion and complexity of Oberst's songs. "You make my head ache"?. Not quite. Oberst can give his own songs all the passion they need -- he sounds crushed and dying, or slightly drunk, or almost sinfully happy. Most surprisingly, he does them all equally well.
"Lua" is a great prelude to whatever Bright Eyes has ahead -- they still have their angsty indie-rock edge, and Oberst hasn't lost his talents. Full speed ahead, guys."
The way to start the New Year
Adan S. Alvarado | Chicago,Il | 12/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The only problem I have with this single is, they released it knowing we would have to wait three months for the album. Oberst has once again proven his particular genius. If people were not so pretentious about poetry, he would be considered one of the best of modern day poets. But putting the argument of Conor's poetic status aside, "Lua" is a song so intelligent it's the perfect way to lead you into the other three tracks on this single. "Well Whiskey" is well Bright Eyes, the kind of song that makes people fall in love with Conor. "I woke up with this song in my head this morning" is the perfect track for people to start enjoying what they have and stop dwelling on what could have been. The first three tracks are simply amazing and any one of them alone gives you your moneys worth. However it is in the final track "True Blue" that Oberst digs up another Bright Eyes GEM. I had a friend argue that the song was pointless and simple. And I thought are we now measuring a songs worth based on complexity. Well lets forget The Beatles "Yellow Submarine" actually lets forget almost all their songs. And we will just write off Dylan's "Blowing In the Wind" as simple and trite. My friend was right "True Blue" is simple, it's so simple and catchy it's perfect.But don't take my word for it, pick up the CD. I guarantee you will be Xing of your calender counting the days til the album's January release."
Sweet CD is made of this
vedderoh1 | NJ United States | 11/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While "Take it easy" sounds more ethereal, a little distant if we want, "Lua" is one of the best singles released this year by any american performer. The magic wand of Conor Oberst materializes from the initial notes in the eponymous track, and lingers throughout the other three, that come to the soul like chicken soup for a cold. There is nothing pretentious or fake about his songwriting, which can be well described as modern poetry if the boundaries were knocked down. This is the real deal, a simple story that punches you in the face at the same time it triumphaly gets away with lines like "I know you have a heavy heart/I can feel it when we kiss". "True Blue" is a gem in itself, with a very basic construction and a powerful chorus line. "Well Whiskey" is a taste of that americana from the old Bright Eyes, while 'I woke up with this song in my head this morning" might be the longest title for a track on an EP but it achieves its purpose as the perfect get-over-what-was-not-meant-to-be anthem of the holidays.
This is definitely a CD to play over and over again until it gets cracked. Hail to the long awaited new big star!"