Camelia Brennan

Bright Eyes: LIFTED or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground

LIFTED or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground was the first CD I played after hysterically installing a CD player into my beloved 1990 Pontiac 6000. What is the point in being able to drive if you couldn’t listen to Bright Eyes… amirite, ladies.

During this this time, Conor Oberst was touring with a 16 piece orchestra and there were rumors of him falling off stage drunk mid show. Who knows if this was actually true, but as a 16 year old girl, the whole Saddle Creek alcoholism emo lore situation was FASCINATING. As someone who couldn’t even legally purchase alcohol yet — being an alcoholic and not having a curfew all seemed VERY cool.

Prior to this, I hadn’t been spending too much time listening to twangy guitars, as I was busy with my newfound emo obsession. The Americana influences throughout this album felt fresh to me, as well as the epic nature of these recordings. Oberst’s screams over an orchestra really hit me as an angsty teen, and there’s something very beautiful about the two in combination. 

In “False Advertising”, after the lyrics “Now all that anyone is listening for are the mistakes” — the song is interrupted by a woman apologizing, “Oh, I’m sorry” with the response “No it’s ok, it’s ok”, the music then swells into a waltz. As a woman who was frequently apologizing, this part always filled me with optimism. Everything is going to be ok, after all?!

Just kidding. Cars don’t even come with CD players anymore, basically no one even tries to purchase physical music and the U.S. military just killed 7 children with a drone strike “on accident” and no one seems to care. Conny O was probably right to be so sad all the time.

This album holds up though, so give it a listen.