Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bright Eyes Part 2

Okay, I listened to Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. I was under the impression that this was Oberst's stab at electronica, but I was wrong. Yeah, there are a lot of electronic elements (drum machines, etc), but Digital Ash is closer to I'm Wide Awake or Lifted than it is to electronica. It lacks the subtle layering that makes good electronic music interesting. It also lacks the coldness of electronic music, or rather it has a very different kind of coldness. Electronica is the coldness of concrete and steel, of binary code and circuit boards. It's the coldness of reaching out and touching something cold and metal. It makes you foget that you're living and breathing and organic. Bright Eyes' coldness is more like the coldness of the homeless. It's the coldness that clings to you on a cold, damp morning. It's the coldness that we know only because we are alive. This album is more like an indie/folk/emo album with a drum machine. And it's not new ground for Oberst, he's done it before, but he does it very well. While I'm Wide got the great reviews, Digital Ash is a much more accessible album. Oberst actually sings alright at times on this one. He doesn't rely strictly on the whiney, broken voice that permeates I'm Wide Awake. Sometimes it almost has a pop feel, without abandoning its emotional depth. Digital Ash is a more consistent album and has a better chance of bringing Oberst's music to a broader audience.


Anonymous Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

What strikes my fancy about Digital Ash is the loving embracement of 80s new wave. You can hear some Cars and early Human League influence, along with some mid-career Cure before Head on the Door. Bright Eyes is an interesting character. I salute his adventurist's spirit, even if Wide Awake has been a bit of a challenge for me...but I will listen to that with fresher ears and not half-tired on a 6 hour drive home from Upstate NY in snow.

5:54 PM  

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