ALBUM REVIEW : Bright Eyes The People’s Key

Courtesy Photo / Google Images
Bright Eyes

Courtesy Photo / Google Images Bright Eyes

Dannica Patrick

Last year, Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst announced he will retire the Bright Eyes name – but before that, fans will get one more album. The constant change of Oberst’s music left some uncertain of what to expect. However, “The People’s Key” captures how well Oberst is able to evolve musically while maintaining the “key” element of Bright Eyes: intelligent lyrics over unique melodies.

Kicking things off in classic Bright Eyes fashion, The People’s Key opens with a spoken introduction setting the tone for the album. A man’s frenzied, yet interrelated musings – from the span of time and the future, to relating elements of the Sumerian tablets to events in the biblical book of Genesis, to phase shifts from dimension to dimension – timidly transform into the album’s opening song, “Firewall.” The track slowly builds up into an almost orchestral arrangement, complete with chanting, only to be deconstructed into a single guitar rhythm.

The beautiful piano melodies and heartbreaking lyrics of “Ladder Song” allude to older Bright Eyes albums. With lyrics expressing emotion both explicitly and through imagery, listeners are reminded of what Oberst built his career on: his ability to share his personal struggles in such a way to which anyone can relate.

The listener is left to meditate on the lyrics, rich in imagery pertaining to science, theories on the universe and everything in between. The People’s Key closes the book for Bright Eyes. However, the retirement of Bright Eyes doesn’t mean that Oberst himself is retiring. With projects such as the Mystic Valley Band and the Monsters of Folk super-group, Oberst’s music is maturing from poetically depressing songs about death and heartache to Dylan-eqsue anthems dealing with politics and religion.

Dannica Patrick is the host of Motion Sickness on WCKS student-run radio at 9 p.m. on Sundays.

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