This week we are throwing it back to 2006 when I first discovered Bright Eyes and became almost immediately obsessed. I LOVE everything about Bright Eyes, and I am no longer ashamed to say it out loud. Friends have good-naturedly teased me in the past for liking “that indie band with the bad singer” and so they remained somewhat of a guilty pleasure for a long time.
For those who may not know, Bright Eyes was an American indie rock band founded by singer and songwriter Conor Oberst, who went on to release nine albums between 1997 and 2011. For most of their career Bright Eyes remained just under the radar of mass popularity (at least on this side of the Atlantic) but still managed to amass quite a large cult following. One or two of their songs managed to breach the divide into pop culture (First Day of my Life for one) but their wider catalogue remains mostly unknown to the general public.
It’s true that Oberst is not the most technically gifted singer or guitar player (which sometimes prevents the casual listener from becoming a rabid fan) but he is a phenomenal songwriter. Often compared to Bob Dylan, Oberst’s complex lyrics explore everything from broken relationships to political rage to life in a post apocalyptic world, with references from the Bible, Greek mythology and more thrown in for good measure.
I don’t listen to Bright Eyes very often these days but every time I do I’m reminded why 16 year old me fell in love with them and why they will always have a place in my heart, and on my playlist.
Here are five of my favourite (lesser known) Bright Eyes tracks spanning their career: